Archetypes in Wizard of Oz

We can label Dorothy as the Protagonist in The Wizard of Oz with some confidence. Certainly the Scarecrow seems to be Reason since he is the planner of the group (“I’ll show you how to get apples!”), but he is not very calm or collected. In fact, he is quite the opposite. Similarly, the Tin Man looks like Emotion as he cries in the poppy field, yet he is anything but frenetic when he rusts himself from the tears.

Let’s file that away for later and press on. The Cowardly Lion fills the role of Skeptic and Toto performs as the Sidekick. Glinda is an unabashed Guardian and the Wicked Witch of the West balances her as the Contagonist. But just a moment here… Doesn’t the Wicked Witch act more like an Antagonist? Indeed she does, yet she seems to also fill the same role compared to Glinda as Darth Vader fills compared to Obi Wan. Assuming for a moment that the Wicked Witch IS the Antagonist, then who is the Contagonist?

There is only one major character yet unaccounted for — the Wizard himself.

The Wizard as Contagonist? Somehow it doesn’t sound quite right. At this point it becomes apparent that the characters in Oz are not all exactly Archetypal. Something is going on with the Scarecrow and Tin Man and the Witch and the Wizard that doesn’t quite fit. Exploring these shortcomings of the Archetypal Character model as applied to Oz will ultimately offer some insight into the essential character Elements.

For the time being, however, let’s pencil in the Witch as Antagonist and the Wizard as the Contagonist so we have a place to start. Here are the Eight Simple Characters of The Wizard of Oz in Quad format, ignoring any inconsistencies for the moment.

Drivers and Passengers in The Wizard of Oz

Driver Characters

Passenger Characters

From the Dramatica Theory Book