Cui Malo? Fraud and Politics in the Wizard of Oz

19 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2020

Date Written: 2010


In L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" Dorothy travels to the Emerald City seeking the mysterious Wizard himself. She finds a beautiful, prosperous, orderly city where everyone seems happy. The forbidding Wizard sends her on a quest to eliminate the Wicked Witch of the West; when Dorothy returns, the Wizard is revealed as nothing more than a “humbug.” How should we judge the Wizard? He has been a benign and successful ruler in the Emerald City, and yet he is a fake and a con artist who knowingly made false promises to Dorothy. Baum challenges his readers to think through the Wizard's case and judge for themselves.

Keywords: fraud, children's literature, lying, impostor

Suggested Citation

Barlow, J., Cui Malo? Fraud and Politics in the Wizard of Oz (2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN:

J. Barlow (Contact Author)

Juniata College ( email )

Huntingdon, PA 16652
United States

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