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"Animals should be seen and not heard."
— Madam Morrible, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

Madame Morrible was the headmistress of Crage Hall at Shiz University and a cohort of The Wizard in Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire.

History

Wicked

Morribleshiz

Susan Hilferty's sketch of Madame Morrible's Shiz costume.

Madame Morrible is described as a "fish faced Gillikinese woman", and uses Shiz to recruit young girls as soldiers and spies for the Wizard, though she does not directly influence him. Madame Morrible believes that Animals (i.e. sentient animals) should be "seen and not heard," which she states at a poetry reading, known as a 'Quell'. She often has a Tik-Tok machine man called Grommetik to do her bidding, and later commands this creature to kill the Goat scientist Doctor Dillamond, which Ama Clutch — the chaperone of Galinda — witnesses. Following the murder, Ama Clutch loses her grip on reality and begins to talk to inanimate objects as though they are people, a condition which gradually deteriorates until it results in her death. Galinda had previously lied to Madame Morrible by telling her that Ama Clutch was prone to fits of delirium whose symptoms included such hallucinations; since she had told no one else this lie, it is strongly implied that the condition was the result of a spell placed upon Ama Clutch by Morrible to prevent her from revealing the truth about Doctor Dillamond's murder.

At the funeral of Ama Clutch, Madame Morrible suggests to Nessarose, Elphaba, and Glinda that the three become "Adepts" of Quadling Country, Munchkinland and Gillikin respectively. This would grant them political dominion over these regions, but, as Morrible admits, is in fact a way of maintaining the Wizard's authority in the far-flung quadrants of Oz. Only Elphaba is known to have rejected the offer; it is never stated whether Glinda or Nessarose agree, though both later say Morrible was merely being overly dramatic. However each of them do ultimately find themselves in position of authority in a region of Oz: Nessarose becomes the Eminent Thropp of Munchkinland (a.k.a. "Wicked Witch of the East"), Elphaba resides over the Vinkus as the "Wicked Witch of the West", and Glinda comes to be known in Gillikin as the Good Witch of the North. Later in the novel, Elphaba speculates that Madame Morrible was a sorceress, and may somehow have used magic to influence events to bring the three to power despite their original refusal. The theory of Morrible having magical powers is indeed probably correct, as she successfully immobilized the three girls with a binding spell while speaking to them of their future as Adepts, as well as somehow making it impossible for them to discuss the matter afterward. She also claimed that her "special talent is to encourage talent", which may support the latter theory as well.

Throughout the novel, Elphaba stands by her belief that Madame Morrible was behind the death of Doctor Dillamond. While involved in a resistance movement against the Wizard, Elphaba is assigned to assassinate Madame Morrible, who is staying in the Emerald City. However, Morrible surrounds herself with children, and Elphaba is forced to abandon her plan to avoid harming innocent bystanders. Toward the end of the story, Elphaba travels to Shiz and tries to kill Madame Morrible by bashing her head in with a marble trophy, but is mere minutes too late, and ends up merely assaulting the woman's corpse (though she later takes credit for having killed her to some of her childhood friends).

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