A young and sprightly girl, Dorothy lives with her aunt and uncle on the bleak Kansas prairie. She is energetic and delights in her dog Toto. After a whirling cyclone lands her house in Oz, she embarks on a journey to the Emerald City to ask the Wizard of Oz how to return to Kansas. Dorothy is sweet and simple and represents traditional and idealistic moral values. She lives in the present and does not trouble herself with much anxiety or worry. Throughout her journey, her goal is to return home despite the wonders and magic of Oz.
Dorothy's uncle and husband to Aunt Em. He is a Kansas farmer.
The wife of Uncle Henry and aunt to Dorothy, the hot and bleak Kansas prairie has stripped her of her youth and mirth. She does not understand Dorothy's freshness of spirit.
Wicked Witch of the East
Killed when Dorothy's house landed on her after the cyclone dropped it in the land of Oz, she wreaked havoc on the Munchkins for years by enslaving them. After her death, Dorothy takes the magic silver slippers from her feet.
Witch of the North
One of the two good witches, the Witch of the North greeted Dorothy upon her arrival in Oz. She is small and elderly and very kind. Although she cannot help Dorothy get back to Kansas, she gives her a mark of safety on her forehead.
A rich and influential Munchkin.
Rescued by Dorothy from his dull life in a farmer's field, the Scarecrow's greatest wish is to procure brains for himself from the Wizard of Oz. Despite his perceived lack of brains, however, the Scarecrow is exceedingly intelligent and resourceful. At the end of the novel he becomes the ruler of Emerald City in the Wizard's absence.
The Tin Woodman
Rescued by Dorothy after rusting in the forest, the Tin Woodman desires a heart from the Wizard of Oz. He used to be a real man and was in love with a Munchkin girl, but due to the Wicked Witch of the East's evil machinations he lost his limbs and eventually became a man of tin without a heart. Despite his belief that he lacked emotion, he proves himself a kind and sensitive man. He is given the task of ruling over the Winkies at the end of the novel.
The Cowardly Lion
The Lion encounters Dorothy, Toto, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Woodman in the forest. He claims to be a coward and wishes for the Wizard of Oz to give him courage. However, he proves himself courageous in many situations throughout the novel. He later rules over all of the animals in the forest.
Queen of the Field Mice
Saved by the Tin Woodman and Scarecrow from being devoured by a malicious wildcat, the tiny but proud Queen returns the favor by enlisting her thousands of subjects to carry the slumbering Lion out of the deadly poppy field.
The Green Girl
The young girl who helps Dorothy in her quarters at the Emerald City. Dorothy is impressed by her beauty and kindness.
The Wizard of Oz
The Wizard reveals himself to be a ventriloquist and balloonist from Omaha, Nebraska, who accidentally ended up in the land of Oz and was taken for a powerful sorcerer by its Munchkin inhabitants. He prolonged the illusion and had them build the beautiful Emerald City. Benevolent but undoubtedly a humbug, the Wizard is unmasked by Dorothy and her companions when they return to claim the promises he made them if they were successful in killing the Wicked Witch of the West. He helps the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Lion with their wishes and tries to take Dorothy back to Kansas in a hot air balloon, but it unfortunately departs without her.
Wicked Witch of the West
Given the task to kill the Wicked Witch of the West, Dorothy and her companions venture into her land. The Witch resents their intrusion and sends many of her creatures to destroy or capture them, finally succeeding with the Winged Monkeys. Powerful, bitter, and full of rage, the Witch is happy to enslave Dorothy and the Lion like she had enslaved the Winkies before them. She covets Dorothy's magic slippers, recognizing their power, and tries to take them from her, but this proves her undoing when a vexed Dorothy throws a pail of water on her and she melts away into nothingness.
The Good Witch of the South, Glinda is young and beautiful. Dorothy appeals to her to help her return to Kansas, but Glinda reveals to her the power of the silver slippers that can take her there right away. Glinda also proves herself wise and merciful, using the three commands of the Golden Cap that she procures from Dorothy to help the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion, and finally release the Winged Monkeys from their enthrallment to its master.
Beasts with "bodies like bears and heads like tigers" that attack the travelers on their way to Oz. After crossing a ditch by walking across a felled tree, the Scarecrow devises a plan to dislodge the tree as the Kalidahs cross, thus sending them to their death.
The Stork rescues the Scarecrow when he gets stuck on an oar in the river.
The china Princess
A beautiful girl made of china that Dorothy wishes to take home with her to Kansas. The china Princess is afraid of Dorothy at first, because if she is chased and falls, she may break. The Princess wants to stay in her own country because there they can move freely. Beyond its borders, they are put on mantles and their joints stiffen, and being pretty is all that is expected of them.
A clown made of china. He tries to stand on his head, so has fallen and been mended so many times and as a result he is no longer pretty. He taunts Dorothy with a poem, telling her "You're quite as stiff / And prim as if / You'd eaten up a poker!" The china Princess demands Mr. Joker treat Dorothy with respect.
The yellow-skinned people who are enslaved by the Wicked Witch of the West.
The people who live in the South Country.
King of the Winged Monkeys
The King tells Dorothy how his band came to be controlled by the owner of the Golden Cap. His people were once free in the woods of the North but mischief got the better of them. After playing a trick on Quelala, the betrothed of the sorceress Gayelette, the monkeys were to be punished in a manner that would result in their death. Quelala intervened and spared their lives, on the condition that they would do the bidding of whoever wore the Golden Cap. The grandfather of the King - who was king himself back then - agreed.
A beautiful and powerful princess and sorceress who lived in the North generations ago. When the Winged Monkeys played a trick on her betrothed, Gayelette suggested the Monkeys be rounded up, their wings tied, and then dropped into the river - where they would surely drown. Quelala intervened and she struck a deal with the Winged Monkeys, sparing their lives in exchange for their agreement to do the bidding of whomever wears the Golden Cap.
Gayelette's betrothed. Before his wedding, the then King of the Monkeys played a trick on him by dropping him into a river. Quelala laughed it off, but Gayelette was angry that his fine silk and velvet clothes were ruined. Quelala reasoned with Gayelette and got her to reduce her punishment. This is the origin of the power of the Golden Cap over the Winged Monkeys.
Dorothy's trustworthy and loving dog.
The Hammer-Heads guard the hill outside of the Country of the Quadlings. They have no arms, but they can extend their heads to hit foes. They try to prevent Dorothy and her friends from crossing the hill, but Dorothy calls the Winged Monkeys to carry them over.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
There is the traditional narrative quest motif in this story. There is the classic search for information. Dorothy needs to get home, and various items that happen to be human traits. The themes are more complex than the standard fairy tale....