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Sister Profiles: Elphaba Thropp

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Name: Elphaba Thropp, also known as the Wicked Witch of the West.

Era/Period: Contemporary, with the story set in a fictionalized version of Oz, parallel to the early 20th century of our world.

Cultural/Mythological Background: Fictional, originating from the novel “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West” by Gregory Maguire, which is a retelling and revisionist exploration of characters from L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.”

Biography/Backstory: Elphaba is born with green skin and a fiery spirit, attributes that set her apart from the very beginning. Her life is marked by challenges, including societal rejection and personal betrayal. Despite these hurdles, Elphaba’s journey is one of self-discovery, as she transforms from a misunderstood girl with a strong sense of justice into the infamous Wicked Witch of the West. Her story challenges the binary notions of good and evil, highlighting the complexities of her character and choices.

Magical Abilities: Elphaba is a powerful sorceress with a natural affinity for spellcasting and enchantments. She is particularly adept at potions and flying broomstick enchantments. Her abilities also include telekinesis and a deep connection to animals, advocating for their rights and communication.

Significant Achievements:

  • Mastery of magic beyond the typical capabilities of many characters within the Oz universe.
  • Her efforts to fight against the corruption and tyranny within the Ozian government.
  • Becoming a symbol of resistance and a figure of empowerment for those who feel outcast or marginalized.

Artifacts and Symbols:

  • A pointed witch’s hat: Becomes a symbol of her witch identity.
  • Her broomstick: A symbol of her freedom and power.

Influence and Legacy: Elphaba’s story redefines the concept of wickedness in “Wicked,” offering a nuanced perspective on the making of a “villain.” She has significantly impacted popular culture, challenging readers and viewers to reconsider preconceived notions about the nature of evil and the stories of iconic characters. Her character has inspired countless fans to embrace their uniqueness and stand up against injustice.

Controversies and Challenges:

  • Her opposition to the Wizard of Oz’s oppressive regime places her at the center of political controversy in Oz.
  • Constantly battling discrimination and fear due to her green skin and formidable powers.

Representation in Media: Elphaba is most famously portrayed by Idina Menzel in the Broadway musical “Wicked,” which has become a cultural phenomenon. The musical adaptation offers a compelling and empathetic portrayal of her story, bringing her character to life with powerful music and performances.

Quotes:

  • “I’m not wicked. Life has just made me wise.”
  • “No good deed goes unpunished.”

Further Reading/Viewing:

  • “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West” by Gregory Maguire (Novel)
  • “Wicked” (Broadway Musical)

Interesting Facts:

  • Elphaba’s name is derived from L. Frank Baum’s initials (LFB), phonetically spelled out by Maguire.
  • Despite being a fictional character, Elphaba has become an icon of anti-heroism and a symbol for the misunderstood and the marginalized.

Visuals:

  • Imagery from the “Wicked” musical, especially promotional posters featuring Elphaba in her iconic witch’s hat, often bathed in green light.

Elphaba’s profile is a testament to her complexity as a character who transcends the traditional archetype of a witch, inviting audiences to explore themes of morality, identity, and the true meaning of wickedness.

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