The Duchess is a criminal?

Posted On November 17, 2009

Filed under Meighan A.

Comments Dropped 3 responses

We know that somehow for some reason the Duchess is on the Queen’s bad side because she was imprisoned. We never find out what it is she has done wrong though.

It was in the notes of  The Annotated Alice that I learned the Knave had his nose shaded red to signify he was a criminal. It said they did this because Victorians saw criminals as heavy drinkers, and shaded noses showed someone was a drinker.

When I was looking through the illustrations I noticed in the picture where the Duchess is walking with Alice that she had a shaded nose. Now it was one thing for the Queen to have imprisoned her for something silly like talking to loud or some such thing; like her threats to behead her guests that she never carried out. But it is an entirely different thing for the Duchess to be actually guilty of something where she would deserve punishment.

Originally, I thought of the Duchess as a slightly mad fat old lady who had offended an equally fat and crazy woman-who was-unfortunately for her, the Queen. Now I feel a slight dread in having been tricked into thinking she was sweet and just a little ‘off her rocker’. I feel I have been betrayed, either that or she really is not the criminal she appears to be, but appears not to be at the same time. It could be she is still a criminal and has only good intentions when speaking with Alice. Like a prisoner who gives worldly advice, though they themselves didn’t follow it.

Either way, I hope for the sake of the voice in me wishing that the Duchess is a good old lady, that she isn’t the criminal she is portrayed as. I would feel quite foolish in having been duped by a character in a children’s book. Although as a criminal, if she really is one, I wouldn’t put it past her to have that talent of tricking people as gullible as me.  For the sake of the image of the ‘good’ Duchess, that she could be, I will keep denying the subtle evidence of her character.

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3 Responses to “The Duchess is a criminal?”

  1. Keith C

    A never noticed that the duchess had a shaded nose, good observation. Whether or not she is a true criminal I would have to agree with Erin. If the Duchess is on the Queens bad side she probably did something that really wasn’t that big of a deal to upset the queen. We never really see a criminal in Wonderland. The only people that we see in conflict with the “law” are those that have upset the crazy queen. This makes me think about if there are real criminals but they would be deciphered from those who had just been taken into custody because for nonsense reasons.

  2. Meighan A.

    I could write a very long reply, but in short; I quite agree. You have simplified the matter wonderously, and now it seems to me to be very logical.

  3. Erin M.

    Very good observation about the Duchess had a shaded nose. I remember reading about the Knave having a shaded nose, but I didn’t notice that the Duchess had a shaded nose.

    The Duchess might be a criminal, but we have to remember the Queen is very crazy and unjust. The Duchess seems to be the type of person that wants to be in charge and give her opinion about everything. Anyone who would try to tell the Queen what to do is probably on her bad side.

    What defines a criminal in Wonderland? Is it just someone who disgraces the Queen? A criminal in our society is someone who acts in transgression. From what we know Wonderland Does not have much of a System of law. So whether the Duchess is a true criminal can probably never be known.

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