Into The Woods Character Analysis

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According to Victor and Edith Turner, a liminoid pilgrimage is a “[rite] of transition marked by three phases: separation, limen or margin, and aggregation” (p. 2). In Stephen Sondheim's Into The Woods, all of the characters go to the woods and take part in those same three phases outlined by the Turners. They learn lessons on their journey and come out as changed people that barely resemble the characters in the traditional stories. In this way, Into The Woods is the musical liminoid pilgrimage of classic storybook characters.
The first component of a liminoid pilgrimage is the separation from the society or group that the pilgrim is a part of. For the characters in Into The Woods, this society is the kingdom they live in. The first act opens up to three scenes on one stage: Cinderella in her stepmother’s house, Jack and his mother trying to milk their cow, and The Baker and The Baker’s Wife in their bakery. For simplicity’s sake, this analysis will follow just The Baker and The Baker’s Wife’s journey into the woods. The first act follows them and their wish for a child. They meet with their neighbor, The Witch, who tells them that she has cursed their family tree to never be able to have a child again. They are appalled by this and decided to make a deal with her. She says that they need to …show more content…

Turner and Turner describe this phase as “not only transition but also potentiality, not only ‘going to be’ but also ‘what may be,’” (p. 3). Essentially, the pilgrim is taking a journey to a new self or a new way of life. It’s an opportunity to become a better person. The Baker and The Baker’s Wife voluntarily go into the woods for the chance that they might come out with something more, even though the woods are dangerous and anything can happen. Although the couple doesn’t realize it, they are about to change more than they could ever

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