The Wicked Witch of the West, who is portrayed in the film as the sister of the Witch of the East, is set on destroying Dorothy and getting the ruby slippers the Good Witch Glinda has given her. This is the evil that must be conquered and the witch plagues Dorothy and her friends throughout their journey, helping them find that within themselves for which they had been searching. In the end, Dorothy destroys the witch quite easily with water.
Dorothy has some companions along the journey who are also searching for something that, in the end, each finds he had all along. The Scarecrow is the first one that kind-hearted Dorothy rescues and he is in need of brains to replace the straw in his head. However, along the journey his quick thinking gets them out of many tough scrapes. Then there is the Tin Man, who is in desperate need of having his joints oiled when they find him rusted solid. He needs a heart in his hollow chest, but throughout their journey he cries and rejoices so much he finds out in the end he has always had feelings of love and caring. Finally, the Cowardly Lion is the companion who is perhaps the saddest. He needs to find his courage so that he can be the king of the forest, but what he discovers is that, despite his fear, he faces the journey and the witch and helps save the day. Isn't that what courage is all about?
The Wizard of Oz himself is a small man who makes himself appear big and powerful by using some cheap tricks. He is really a kind man who is also from Kansas and perhaps Dorothy and her friends show him what he has been missing. He tries to help Dorothy by taking her back to Kansas in his hot air balloon, but it floats away without her. However, before he goes he gives each of the others a token representing that for which they were looking and tells them that they already had what they seek inside themselves.
The other characters in the story enhance the basic theme and add some depth, but these are the main characters that stand out and make us fall in love with them every time we see them. With all of our special effects technology today, children and adults alike still enjoy watching this famous film and it will live on for many more generations to come, partly because of the timeless story of good vs. evil and finding you already possess that which you need to be happy, but more importantly because of the characters that bring the story alive.