Into the Woods

4 April 2015
An exploration of the character of the witch in Stephen Sondheim’s play Into the Woods.

The paper examines the witch in Stephen Sondheim’s play “Into the Woods.” The paper shows that the evilness of the witch is complex and not necessarily as obvious as it seems. The intense imagery of the witch’s language is also discussed. Finally, the paper touches on Bernadette Peters, the original actress to play the witch and her excellent performance in such a unique part.
Bernadette Peter’s performance as The Witch is thus a unique marriage of a consummate performer in a consummate part. The character, like the actress, both has a clear-cut mythical dimension and function as a strong; driving character and motivating plot force. The character also is emotionally complex as well as vivid in its depiction. Even though The Witch plays such a crucial role in plot development, her full nature and the full sense of her morality is never quite fully explained. She simply disappears in a puff of smoke, leaving the mortals to sort things out as best they can, in their own clumsy way.
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