Saturday, June 5, 2010

Day 24: Revisiting Wicked (part 4)

So, in some past entries, I have done some brief examination of archetypal themes: how they're expressed in the show Wicked, how they are expressed astrologically, and how those two things might interact.  So, I thought it might be nice to revisit that a bit. 

In summary of what I've explored thus far:

I expressed  how the main character Elphaba represents the Uranian impulse (the urge to break free and do her own thing) and secondarily the Jupiterian impulse (the urge to explore, to have faith and to civilize/grow humanity).  Together, those energies parallel the current Jupiter-Uranus conjunction.  But the other part of the current sky-equation is Jupiter and Uranus, together, opposing Saturn. (Remember, Saturn is authority, fear, cultural rules, "the way we do things".) And this plays out in the musical as well. 

So, I'd like to elaborate, briefly on this Saturn part of the equation.  So, let's rewind a bit from the breakthrough moment in "Defying Gravity", back to the beginning of the Wicked plot.  In the beginning, we find Elphaba encountering a lot of restrictions (Saturn!) on all levels.  For example:

1. Her mom has passed away, and her dad (Saturn) does not accept her--partially because of her green skin tone (Uranus) and partially because strange, inexplicable things happen when she is around (also Uranus).

2. She is bound to take care of her disabled (Saturn) sister, and not given her own freedom (Saturn triumphing over Uranus).


3. She is not accepted by her peers--again, for reasons described in #1. (Here Saturn can represent blockage and restriction as coming from the outside--peers/society not accepting her.)

So, we see this Saturn vs. Uranus theme repeatedly.  But, until later in the story, Elphaba still dreams of being finding a way to fit in (or even to blend in?) to society.  She does, however, wish to be acknowledged for her special gifts.  And particularly she dreams of being acknowledged by the most Saturnian figure--the Wizard of Oz! When sorceress Madame Morrible discover Elphaba's unique gifts, she decides to give her free sorcery lessons--and to introduce her to the Wizard.  Elphaba longs to reconcile her own personal Saturn-Uranus opposition--e.g., the need to be different vs. the urge to fit in--in being sanctioned and acknowledged, even cured, by the Wizard.  Here are the lyrics to "The Wizard and I".  I've bolded some lyrics that especially bring out key themes:

Oh, Miss Elphaba
Many years I have waited
For a gift like yours to appear

Why, I predict the Wizard
Could make you his
Magic grand vizier!

My dear, my dear
I'll write at once to the Wizard
Tell him of you in advance
With a talent like yours, dear
There is a defint-ish chance
If you work as you should
You'll be making good:

Did that really just happen?
Have I actually understood?
This weird quirk I've tried
To suppress or hide
Is a talent that could
Help me meet the Wizard

If I make good
So I'll make good;

When I meet the Wizard,
Once I prove my worth,
And then I meet the Wizard
What I've waited for since,
(Spoken: Since birth!)
And with all his Wizard wisdom,
By my looks, he won't be blinded.
Do you think the Wizard is (Spoken: dumb?)
Or, like Munchkins, so small-minded?
(Spoken: No!) He'll say to me,
"I see who you truly are -
A girl of whom I can rely!"

And that's how we'll begin
The Wizard and I:

Once I'm with the Wizard
My whole life will change
'Cuz once you're with the Wizard
No one thinks you're strange!

No father is not proud of you,
No sister acts ashamed
And all of Oz has to love you
When by the Wizard, you're acclaimed
And this gift or this curse
I have inside
Maybe at last, I'll know why

When we are hand in hand -
The Wizard and I!

And one day, he'll say to me, "Elphaba,
A girl who is so superior,
Shouldn't a girl who's so good inside
Have a matching exterior?
And since folks here to an absurd degree
Seem fixated on your verdigris.
Would it be all right by you
If I de-greenify you?

And though of course,
That's not important to me.

"All right, why not?" I'll reply
Oh, what a pair we'll be
The Wizard and I;
Yes, what a pair we'll be
The Wizard and...

My future is unlimited
And I've just had a vision
Almost like a prophecy
I know - it sounds truly crazy
And true, the vision's hazy
But I swear, someday there'll be
A celebration throughout Oz
That's all to do with me!

And I'll stand there with the Wizard,
Feeling things I've never felt.
And though I'd never show it,
I'll be so happy, I could melt!
And so it will be
For the rest of my life,
And I'll want nothing else
Till I die.

Held in such high esteem.
When people see me, they will scream
For half of Oz's favorite team;
The Wizard
And I!!!!

Notice the tension, the opposition, expressed so poignantly in this song? Elphaba believes that with the Wizard's sanction (Saturn), she can safely be herself (Uranus) and be praised/acknowledged as superior (Jupiter, but also the Sun principle, the "urge to shine").  Really intriguing to see how all this pans out.  I mentioned the Sun briefly because it is another archetype at force here: The urge to shine, live and create vitality, to live one's life purpose creatively and to be acknowledged.  The Neptunian principle is also at play here: the urge to dream (isn't that what she's doing?), to imagine, and experience divine love or absolute experience.  But primarily, it's a Saturn/Uranus reconciliation fantasy.

Side note: I can relate to this kind of fantasy!

Also notice the "Unlimited" theme (very Jupitarian), which repeats, with some important variation in "Defying Gravity".  Here's a brief comparison and contrast:

Both songs contain these words:
My future is unlimited
And I've just had a vision
Almost like a prophecy
I know - it sounds truly crazy
And true, the vision's hazy

But "The Wizard and I ends this way:
But I swear, someday there'll be
A celebration throughout Oz
That's all to do with me!

Whereas "Defying Gravity" ends this way:
But I swear, someday I'll be...
Flying so high! (Defying gravity)
Kiss me goodbye! (Defying gravity)

So, what bridges the gap between these two disparate ways of seeing the world? How does Elphaba get from point A to point B? An interesting question, and one to be explored in the future. . .

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