I found most of my information and inspiration from a handout by Carl Golden. My wheel below was inspired by his, but I made a few changes.
Dorothy (Judy Garland) is the hero and the caregiver of this movie. She cares deeply for her family; if she didn’t, she would not have run home during a tornado. She is generous and compassionate for everyone in this movie. Even when she kills the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton), she says, “I didn’t mean to.” However, she does kill the witch, which (no pub intended) makes her the hero, too. She is courageous in defending her friends and works hard to get to go home.
The Scarecrow (Ray Bolger) represents the sage and the jester. Although you may not agree with me, I find these two different personalities in the dear Scarecrow. As a sage, Scarecrow is self-reflective and truthful. He tries to scare the crows, but “they come from miles around just to eat in [his] field and laugh in [his] face”. But he does have plans if he did have a brain and he is constantly saying “I think...” for the serious situations they get into. The jester side of him is pretty obvious: he’s the fool of the movie. He constantly falls and loses his hay.
The Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr) embodies the explorer and the innocent. His innocence comes alive when Dorothy slaps him. He wants to be happy and courageous, but instead he scares himself and is afraid of sheep. His faith in Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz (Frank Morgan) keeps him going. His ambition to embrace being “the king of the forest” makes him an explorer. Although he is scared, Lion still follows his friends into danger to save the girl.
The Wizard of Oz is both the creator and the regular. When the band of misfits first meet him, he is a huge intimidating head ran by a small “man behind the curtain”. He looks like a horrifically powerful being. Even after they discover it is all a show, he still has the power to give them what they want. He is an inventor with an imagination and great interpretive skills. However before Oz, he was a simple man who accidentally flew away on a hot air balloon. His creativity masks his regularity.
Some of the characters (Dorothy, the Wicked Witch, and the Wizard) naturally embody two archetypes. They have two different sides to them, even though those sides may appear to be completely opposite. Other characters (Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion) represent two archetypes even though the audience and even the characters do not believe it. Scarecrow is intelligent, Tin Man can love, and Lion does seek out adventure. Archetypes can be applied to many characters in many different ways.
I had not thought of this, but someone wrote an article about how a brain, heart, and courage is needed to build trust. Interesting.
Seven interpretations of this film opened my eyes. I had heard of a few, but some are quite interesting.
Thanks for reading!