Thursday, May 22, 2014

Wizard of Oz analysis - part 6: The Good Witch is 'using' Dorothy to advance herself


Top left: The 'Good' Witch of the North escorts Dorothy (wearing blue) up the platform structure that is built into the pool in Munchkinland. The Witch is here giving the impression that she is helping Dorothy ascend to the fourth terrace of Dante's Purgatory (with ground level representing the first terrace). Top right: The Good Witch stands with Dorothy on the fourth terrace, for all the Munchkins to see, as if the Witch's guidance has led Dorothy to achieve some sort of progress. Above left: As Dorthy gets ready to descend back down the platform structure, the view of it that is shown now gives the appearance of having six levels (including ground level) instead of four. Above right: As Dorothy gets into a horse-drawn carriage, after descending the platform steps to ground level, the Witch stands alone on the top platform.

The final state of the situation shown above depicts Dorothy in the fifth circle of Dante's Hell, where the wrathful and the sullen are punished (with the top of the platform structure being the vestibule in this context). Here, in the swampy waters of the river Styx, the wrathful fight each other on the surface, and the sullen lie gurgling beneath the water. Within the foregoing context, ground level in Munchkinland now represents the fifth circle of Dante's Hell. What must be the case is that over the period of time during the sequence of events taking place in Munchkinland, there is a 'shift' at some point in time during this period, whereby there is, effectively, movement from the fourth circle of Hell (which we recall from part 2 is represented by ground level in Muchkinland upon Dorothy's arrival there), to the fifth circle. Note that within the context of Dorothy now occupying the fifth circle, the water in the pool now represents the river Styx.

Whereas the 'Good' Witch has left Dorothy in the fifth circle of Hell, she herself now occupies the Sixth Sphere of Dante's Paradiso (Paradise). In the Paradiso, Paradise is depicted as a series of concentric spheres surrounding the Earth, consisting of the moon, Mercury, Venus, the sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the Fixed Stars, the Primum Mobile and finally, the Empyrean. The events in Paradiso take place following those of Purgatorio. Allegorically, the Paradiso depicts the soul's ascent to God.[a]

The sixth sphere of Paradise is the sphere of Jupiter, wherein reside the Just Rulers. The planet Jupiter is traditionally associated with the king of the gods, so Dante makes this planet the home of the rulers who displayed justice.[a] However, what is being depicted in The Wizard of Oz, by the 'Good' Witch being in sphere 6 of Paradise, is the Witch's desire to be a 'God-like' ruler over some kind of evil kingdom. The real-world correspondence to this evil kingdom, will be discussed later in this analysis.

In light of what is said above about the 'Good' Witch occupying Paradise, we see that the movement among the platforms depicted in the scenes shown in the above screencaps, indicates that the Witch first uses Dorothy to help her get to the Fourth Sphere of Paradise, then, as suggested by their subsequent position, the two of them have moved together to the top level, with this representing the Sixth Sphere of Paradise for the Witch, but the vestibule at the entrance to Hell for Dorothy; then, Dorothy descends back down the platforms, representing successive levels of Hell, such that she ends up in the fifth circle of Hell as described above.

a. Wikipedia, 'Paradiso (Dante)'. Web, n.d. URL =


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