Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland served as a tapestry of imaginative stories and characters for countless children and adults, beginning in the mid-nineteenth century until today. The original tales of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been adapted a few times, the most popular of which being the Disney cartoon film created in 1951, although numerous version have been made. The allegorical and wildly whimsical characters are instantly recognizable and point to an eccentric soul.
One of the most well known characters from the stories is the Cheshire Cat, a striped rotund feline with a wide, exuberant grin. He speaks in riddles and leads others to question and inquire about his paradoxes. The Cheshire Cat, often rendered in the violet and lavender stripes originated in the Disney film, is a representation of unorthodox genius. The cat is a wealth of intrigue and mystery, an image of mischief and cunning.
The Mad Hatter is another paradoxical figure, both insane and a creature of intelligence. His mercury-induced madness is a symbol of lunacy within authority figures, but also a representation of the hardship of poverty in Britain in the 1800s. He is pictured with a large hat, featuring a card reading “10/6”, a reference to the price of the hats the Hatter sold at one time. Like the Cheshire Cat, the Hatter speaks in unfathomable riddles, but is an obstacle for Alice rather than a friend.
The March Hare, the hasty white rabbit that carries the pocket watch, is an integral character to the tale. He serves as a representation of stasis, a creature trapped in a state of perpetual hurriedness. The rabbit is linked to the Mad Hatter through friendship and aid in each other’s madness. The time piece that the rabbit carries is a symbol of a memory that cannot be forgotten, whether wanted or not.
Another symbol of lunacy, The Queen of Hearts is the monarch of Wonderland, epitomizing the insanity that rules the place. She is sometimes depicted as a playing card, often with the image of white roses dripping with red paint. The roses are a representation of a façade for madness, one that cannot quite mask the true insanity.
This leaves Alice, the seemingly innocent and guileless girl who serves as a symbol of sanity and reason amongst the chaos. Portrayed in a light blue dress, she is a figure of calmness.