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Oz the Great & Powerful 2

oz2
A note on mystery

In Kansas, after Oz does his illusions, a girl promises she believes in his powers & asks him to heal her paralyzed legs. He cannot; his audience turns into a mob. Promising the good & delivering the beautiful is risky business. In Oz, Oz meets a china girl & glues her legs back together & commands her to walk: She is beautiful, he does the good. The relation between thing & image recalls the relation between deeds & speeches.

What is Oz’s power? Well, his illusion had him recall the 5,000 year old soul of queen Fernanda. He also pretended that he could move bodies. Unfortunately, he has designs on women, who fall for his routine, attracted by his lies. Some of these women become his assistants, but others are married to circus strongmen who turn out to be really strong. Then Oz has recourse to Houdini’s knack for escaping…

Now we recall that Oz in the end pretends to be escaping & pretends to die. Conquering mortality, or proving the immortality of soul, is crucial to his political design. This reminds us of the dead king, who was survived by a prophecy, that a new king would arise, as benevolent, but more successful. By what authority is that prophecy made? To whom was Oz shouting in the storm, begging & promising? Needless to say, Oz is the proof that there is no life after death. He takes that to mean that there should at least be life before death.

We hear the prophecy three times, first from the witch sisters, then from other witch & the people together. This last version is enacted, which does not require killing. Democracy is the solution, based on a new prophecy, uttered by Oz. He has replaced God, & will rule similarly from afar.

Man is the being who uses science. Unfortunately, men must be lied to always. At the same time, science cannot kill witches: They always will return, Oz warns. Being a witch is being angry, for one of two reasons: Because one is not king or because one has been spurned in love. Oz might be able to destroy politics; how about love?

The goodness of science is Oz’s fundamental belief. Oz replaces wizards by Edison, whom, Oz says, looks into the future & makes it real. That’s better than prophecy: It’s progress! But surely scientists have knowledge, not mere belief! The people have mere belief, & need beautiful lies. But if scientists can predict the future, or create it, then that is the tyranny of the wise! & if they cannot, then they cannot guarantee democratic freedom is forever! Oz puts the two together, as if man were immortal.