In Act II of the Into the Woods Musical by Stephen Sondheim, Your Fault stands out as a very interesting moment for the audience, where we try to figure out whose fault it is. The characters run around accusing each other of being responsible for the giant’s wife revenge, but we never see them act reasonably because of their desperation to find someone to blame. In this song, we can see how the characters of the show are blamed whether or not they were able to defend themselves or had a real involvement in the situation.
First of all, the baker blames Jack. Jack immediately denies his blame arguing that he couldn’t have done anything without the baker’s beans. The baker tried to defend himself by saying: “Wait a minute, magic beans for a cow so old, that you had to tell a lie to sell it, which you told! Were they worthless beans? Were they oversold? Oh, and tell us who persuaded you to steal that gold”. Debating that the magic beans where a fair prize for a cow that old and that nobody persuaded him to steal the giant’s gold he was trying pass the blame to someone else, in this case Jack.
The baker then claims that anything he did was the witch’s fault, because she was the one who sent him to the quest to get the cow. It does seem unfair that the baker and his wife should do all of the witch’s commands in order to get pregnant, but life can be unfair sometimes, and just because someone else gave you trouble, doesn’t mean you are justified to solve your problems in an immoral way.
Then the witch blames the baker’s father because he stole her vegetables and that was the reason that the curse got placed. And at this point, the discussion seems to settle down, but suddenly Jack points out that the giant’s wife must have come down with the bean the baker had left. But the baker blamed Cinderella, because the baker’s wife traded the golden shoe for the last bean, but since Cinderella didn’t want it she threw away the bean. I don’t think this action made it her fault because she wasn’t aware of anything about the curse or what will happen with the bean.
Cinderella diverts the focus back to Jack for stealing gold from the giant. And in this specific part we can see a change in all the discussion, the use of violence. Cinderella pushed Jack because she thought he was greedy and from this point we can see how Jack’s reaction was to push the Little Red Riding Hood because she dared him to steal the harp. When the characters started feeling more pressed by the blame, they became more and more violent. And this violence ended only when they all agreed who to blame, which in this case was the witch
During this song we can appreciate how humans react when they feel threatened, and their ability to make excuses. Under this kind of pressure they didn’t act reasonably they just wanted to blame someone which in the end turned to be the witch because they all agreed it was her fault. But, really they don’t actually have a base to sustain their conclusion.