A Look At Alice In Wonderland Characters


This delightful and timeless story is not simply a light-hearted tale, but a smorgasbord of controversy and depth of meaning. The illustrations are easily recognised and the storyline is well known, but sometimes the meaning behind the characters can be a little ambiguous.

There is a great deal of deviation between the original two books `Alice`s Adventures in Wonderland` and `Through the Looking Glass` and the film versions of `Alice in Wonderland`. Some of the characters that only appear in the sequel, such as the Jabberwocky, creep into the film versions. Although the films and the original stories may differ, the general importance of each character is maintained in the adaptations.

It is often suggested that the character of Alice is based on Alice Liddell, a young companion of Carroll and is a representation of

 

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the confusion and dangers of childhood. The Caterpillar that Alice meets is quite an intimidating character, but ultimately he is a representation of education and the benefit of intuition. Similarly, the Cheshire Cat has a great influence over Alice through the enlightenment it shows to her. Although it is a very detached and uncontrollable character it helps Alice to understand the ultimate meaning of Wonderland. Similarly ludicrous is the character of the Mad Hatter, who is eternally stuck at teatime. He is often rude and rarely makes sense, yet he is quite a well loved character. It is sometimes suggested that the use of this character is making a suggestion about class distinctions, but this is very loosely based on the Mad Hatter.

The Queen of Hearts is often confused with the Red Queen from the sequel, although the characters share very few similarities. Carroll`s exact intentions with this character are unclear, but it is suggested that she is supposed to represent a passion without direction. This could be a female commentary or a questioning of the sanity of ultimate power. The White Rabbit is one of the sanest of all the characters and is designed to be a contrast to the youth and confidence of Alice`s character. It has also been suggested that he is based on Alice Liddell`s father.

The meanings behind each of the Alice in Wonderland characters is ambiguous and is often corrupted by the controversial nature of Lewis Carroll himself. However, underneath all the controversy and hidden meanings of the plot and characters, this classic tale is simply a story and the joy it brings to children and adults alike cannot be overlooked.



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