Is Dorothy Gale The Good Witch of the South?
Is Dorothy the Witch of the South? And is she as Glenda the Witch of the North (who is implied to be good) asks “a good witch or a bad witch”?
Let’s explore some of my thinking on this subject.
For 30 years, I watched the movie The Wizard of Oz and never once caught on. Of course, you can’t expect that I would have or should have caught on for the first 5 or 6 years of my life because of being so young.
You have established in the movie: Glenda – the Witch of the North; The Wicked Witch of the East; and The Wicked Witch of the West; but never a mention of the Witch of the South.
But then, a couple of years ago, it hit me. I had an “Oh my god, it’s so obvious <facepalm>” moment. “Dorothy IS the Witch of the South.”
Naturally, right off, I assumed that she was a good witch, like Glenda the Witch of the North; however, it is only assumed that Glenda is a good witch because in comparison to the witches of the East and West, she appears to be good. It’s all a matter of perspective really; but I digress. I’ll get into the perspectives of Dorothy being “good” or “bad” later on.
So here you have Dorothy, a girl from Kansas who finds herself in a magical land after being hit on the head during a tornado. This magical land is called “Oz”.
Kansas is a southern state in the United States of America. So it is established that she is from the South. When she arrives in Oz, it is discovered that she landed on top of the Wicked Witch of the East, thereby killing her. Glenda, the Witch of the North arrives and asks Dorothy if she is a good witch or a bad witch to which Dorothy replies with “I’m not a witch at all.” Stunned, Glenda and the Munchkins look at Dorothy and wonder how she could have killed the Witch of the East if she herself is not a witch. This bewilders them all; even the Wicked Witch of the West, who shows up shortly thereafter.
The Wicked Witch of the West demands the ruby slippers from her sister the Witch of the East, but it’s too late; Glenda already affixed them to Dorothy’s feet.
It is established, or at least implied, at this point that the power of the ruby slippers can only be harnessed by a witch. And, that the slippers can only be removed once the wearer is dead.
Dorothy goes on a long trek to get help to make her way home, only to find out that she had the power to do so all along. She had to click her heals together 3 times and recite the chant “There’s no place like home”.
Well, that sounds pretty witchy to me. Witches perform rituals where they recite chants. 3 times for things is common for witches. The power of 3?
So, if only a witch can wear and use the ruby slippers, then Dorothy is obviously a witch.
It was foreshadowed when she got to Munchkinland when Glenda asked her what kind of witch she is, good or bad. It was also in the context when the witches of the North, East, and West are mentioned, but never a witch of the South. And then the power of the ruby slippers.
My entire life, as long as I can remember (probably from age 5 or 6) I wondered why there was never any mention of a Witch of the South. It was this thought that I would come back to dwell on every so often. It is this thought that finally triggered the “of course…” moment which had me feeling a bit foolish for not catching onto this sooner.
So I now have that realization which I feel should be shared with others who may or may not have come to that realization themselves. And I know there are lots that haven’t.
Of course, when I first realized it, I just assumed that I was the only one who didn’t catch it; that everyone else already knew this that’s ever seen the movie. I was wrong.
I said something to my best friend, and he didn’t know. Then I said something to his mother, she didn’t know. Then I said something to my own mother, and she too didn’t have a clue. No one that I brought this information to had clued in on this and my mention of it was the first that it even occurred to them.
As far as I’m concerned, they establish in the movie that Dorothy is in fact the Witch of the South. And it makes perfect sense when you go over it and watch the movie again paying attention to everything that is said throughout.
So, because not many people are catching on to this little tidbit of realization, I feel I need to spread what I’ve found out. I feel like a mini-genius for figuring this out where no one that I’ve spoken to about it ever has.
I always like to share my realizations with people. Sometimes it enlightens people, giving them information they didn’t already have; sometimes it confirms what others are thinking and feeling. When it confirms what others think and feel, it gives them comfort to know they’re not alone in their thinking.
I wrote this primarily because when I initially had these thoughts a couple years ago, I couldn’t find any information to confirm that Dorothy IS actually meant to be the Witch of the South. I did come across some articles that said the author did not intend Dorothy to be the Witch of the South.
Sorry, but I can’t agree with those kinds of statements. Unless you talk directly to the author, how can you know 100% one way or the other what the author was implying? It is more likely that she IS the Witch of the South than she isn’t based on the evidence of what is established, the context, and all the foreshadowing.
Even Dorothy’s name “Dorothy Gale” indicates she is one of the four winds (North, East, South, West); “Gale” is a strong wind. The other 3 winds are present, and she is the southerly wind.
So, as far as I’m concerned, Dorothy Gale, from Kansas, IS the Witch of the South.
But, Is Dorothy a good witch or a bad witch?
This question can only really be answered through perspective. It is implied that Dorothy is a good witch; she has no intent to harm anyone.
However, it is established at the very beginning of the movie that her and her dog, Toto, are quite mischievous; they cross through Elvira Gulch’s property after being told not to on several occasions. Dorothy does things around her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry’s farm to disrupt things. She was playing around the pig pens, walking on the fence and fell in nearly getting herself trampled. And then she ran away because she got into trouble and her dog got taken by Ms. Gulch.
So, Dorothy is clearly a troublemaker.
Then, in Oz, she (inadvertently) killed a witch by landing a house on her. Then, on her journey, she has no respect for the trees; she picks their fruit off them without asking. She ends up throwing water onto another witch, which melts her; she’s a murderer. Then when she gets back to the Emerald City to see the “great and powerful Oz” (Wizard of Oz), she ends up yelling at him and giving him a really mean talking to and calls him names.
If you look at her selfishness, and the fact that she murdered 2 people, and all the other mischievous things that she’s done, you could easily paint her as a bad witch.
Now, let’s take a look at Dorothy from another perspective.
Dorothy is a very loving and kind young girl. She cares a great deal for her Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, and her dog Toto, as well as the farm hands, and they all care about her too. She really doesn’t mean to cause any harm or get into real trouble; she is just being a child.
When she tries to run away, she does go back because she cares that her aunt and uncle love her and would miss her dearly.
When she lands in Munchkinland, she did land on a witch, but it wasn’t exactly her fault; it was a tornado that brought the house there and it landed on its own. And she did feel bad about it. By killing the witch, she did save the Munchkins from their evil would-be oppressor; at least that’s how they paint the story. So she did a good thing by freeing the Munchkins.
On her way down the yellow-brick-road, she meets up with 3 people along the way and tries her best to help them. Those people are The Scarecrow (who needed a brain), The Tin-Man (who needed a heart), and The Cowardly Lion (who needed some courage). She invited them all to go with her to see The Wizard in the Emerald City. Her intentions are good ones. She feels that everyone deserves help.
Upon killing the witch of the West at her castle with all her minions around, she a) didn’t mean to kill her, it was an accident, and b) she freed the witch’s minions and slaves. Those slaves were extremely grateful for the death of the witch who controlled them and so they gave Dorothy whatever she wanted. She wanted the witch’s broomstick, and she was given it.
Then, when she yelled at “the man behind the curtain”, “the mighty Wizard of Oz”, it was for the best because he was instilling fear into them and others who wanted help that he couldn’t give them because he was a fraud. Because she did that and exposed him, he ended up helping them after-all; as much as he could anyhow. So it turned out to be a good thing for everyone, including the Wizard of Oz himself.
All Dorothy wanted was to get back home, and she did a lot of good deeds along the way. She helped and saved a lot of people; all of which were immensely grateful for her having helped and saved them. She gave new life and new hope to the entire land of Oz.
So, when you look at it that way, Dorothy surely appears to be a good witch.
Whether you see Dorothy as a good witch or a bad witch is really up to you and how you choose to look at it. Her intent was good so I’ve always seen her as a good witch, myself.
Besides, in order for everything to be evenly balanced out, she would have to be a good witch because:
Glenda Witch of the North = Good Witch
Wicked Witch of the East = Bad Witch
Wicked Witch of the West = Bad Witch
Dorothy Witch of the South = Good Witch
You have to have balance with everything, and because of everything stated and implied, Dorothy would have to be a good witch being the Witch of the South because you already have 2 bad witches and 1 good witch already in Oz.
I’ve read several of the Oz books. They made a mistake calling GLINDA (not spelled Glenda) the good witch of the north. She’s the good witch of the south. There’s a chapter in the very first Oz book titled Away To The South, there, after the wicked witch, that had captured The Cowardly Lion, not Dorothy, was melted by Dorothy, we meet Glinda. In another Oz book, you can find out that the good witch of the north is Gayelette. Dorothy is a fiercely independent girl at times, but isn’t a witch. In Kansas, the mean neighbor woman is ALMIRA Gulch, according to the movie script. I had thought for years, it was Elvira, I’d hardly ever heard of the name Almira. I’ll close this now, I wanted to set some of the record straight.
Thank you. I had only ever seen the movie, so for years, this is all I had to go on. So, the article is taken solely from the movie, and yes, we all know they change so many things from the book version to the movie version making it sometimes altogether different. I do appreciate the information you’ve provided.
Actually, if you draw a line from southern California to Maine and another from Florida to Seattle, it crosses in Kansas. That makes Kansas the middle, or the axis. This makes sense as the tornado, the gale, is Dorothy’s wind. It is the spinning center. She joins Mary Poppins, who blows in on an east wind and blows away on a west wind, and Vianne Rocher (Juliette Binoche) who travels with the north wind in Chocolat, as healer witches/fairy women perhaps. All three of them set things to right. I love the richness this adds to the stories. Thank you for your article.