The opening number
and a recurring chorus in the musical Wicked
(“No one mourns the wicked”),
comes initially in response to the announced death
of the Wicked Witch of the West,
and so, represents the explicit assertion
that, in fact, no one mourns the wicked—
those rejected and abhorred,
whose misfortunes people find appealing.
But that announcement
and the predominantly joyful response to it
prompt the memories and reflections that are the story—
including Glinda’s recounting the story of the birth of Elphaba—
a story encompassing the infidelity of her mother,
the cavalier lack of commitment
on the part of her shallow biological father,
the fact that she was born green, as green as the grass grows—
and then cruelly rejected by her legal father,
then the governor of Munchkinland.
So, less apparently—
no one mourns the wicked
also represents the implicit assertion
that no one, in fact, mourns those—
and yet not known to be—
not named such—
those still respected and admired
whose misfortunes people find appalling.
And thus it is that each subsequent repetition
of not just the chorus,
but each designation of anyone as wicked,
raises questions about
both the ease and accuracy of such an assessment,
and the grievous errors in judgment of those who judge.
Not that that has any bearing
outside the broadway show.