Detailed Character Analysis of the Red Queen – Through The Looking Glass

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Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898), better known by his pseudonym Lewis Carroll, was not only an author but a keen observer of human nature. His most famous works are Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking Glass, which have become timeless classics. The Red Queen is a fictional character in Through the Looking-Glass. She is the first queen to meet Alice, and also one of the first characters to meet Alice besides the flowers. The queen comes across as rude, aloof, and too practical towards Alice like a typical Victorian governess. She is particular about manners as she reminds Alice to curtsy and marks her temntory well as she tells off Alice that all ways belong to her. “I don’t know what you mean by your way…. All the ways about here belong to me”. She is the antagonist of the novel because if Alice as the White Queen’s pawn, is the protagonist of the story, it naturally makes the Red Queen the villain of the novel. The Red Queen also has exceptional powers as a queen, she can run very fast and can go anywhere as she is the queen.

It’s fair to say that Queen of Hearts is a fictional character. She is the adored daughter and the loving mother. Queen of Hearts impresses with her affection, beauty, idealism and magnetism. Queen of Hearts has supernatural powers. For example, she is able to heal wounds. She has a passion for playing croquet.

Queen of Hearts is a foul-tempered monarch who is well-known for her cruelty and short temper. Queen of Hearts has recommended herself as the tyrannical monarch. Keep in mind that she chooses to order a beheading every time when a solution for a problem needs to be founded.

With a mouf of Through the Looking-Glass being a representation of the game of chess, the Red Queen could be viewed as an antagonist in the story as she is the queen for the side opposing Alice. Despite this, their initial encounter is a cordial one, with the Red Queen explaining the rules of chess concerning promotion- specifically that Alice is able to become a queen by starting out as a pawn and reaching the eighth square at the opposite end of the board. As a queen in the game of chess, the Red Queen is able to move swiftly and effortlessly.

Later, in Chapter 9, the Red Queen appears with the White Queen, posing a series of typical Wonderland/Looking-Glass questions (“Divide a loaf by a knife: what’s the answer to that?”), and then celebrating Alice’s promotion from pawn to queen. When that celebration goes awry, Alice turns against the Red Queen, whom she “considers as the cause of all the mischief”, and shakes her until the queen morphs into Alice’s pet kitten. In doing this, Alice presents an end game, awakening from the dream world of the looking glass, by both realizing her hallucination and symbolically “taking” the Red Queen in order to checkmate the Red King.

As a queen, she can move all around the chessboard quickly. Alice greatly admires the Red Queen at first, and thes her best to follow all of her rules regarding conduct and etiquette. The queen is the first to confirm for Alice that in Looking-glass World, things are opposite what they are in Alice’s world. For example, one must run quickly to stay in one place. When Alice runs into the Red Queen in the Eighth Square, however, the Red Queen begins to look horribly dismissive and, in some cases, silly. She scolds Alice for not being able to perform math, for example, but the problems she gives are riddles rather than math problems-and in several cases, they don’t have a single right answer. At the dinner party, the Red Queen continues to tell Alice how to behave properly and politely, but she does so rudely and makes Alice feel as though she can’t do anything right. Alice loses her temper with the Red Queen when she sees the queen’s head in a tureen of soup When Alice wakes up, she decides that her mischievous cat, Kitty, became the Red Queen in her dream.

The Red Queen’s constant badgering of and competition with Alice indicates profound feelings of antagonism, She fits into the framework of Alice’s dream as representative arbitrary authority, serving as a caricature of an overbearing governess figure at odds with her young charges.

In Through the Looking Glass, Alice, a young girl, gets schooled by the Red Queen in an important life lesson that many of us fail to heed. Alice finds herself running faster and faster but staying in the same place. Eventually, the Queen stops running and props Alice up against a tree, telling her to rest. The Red Queen Effect means that staying in the same place is falling behind. Surviving another day means we have to co- evolve with the systems we interact with.

Examining the character of the Red Queen, we realize that Carroll’s attitude toward matronly women seems to have softened since the first Alice book. Unlike the Queen of Hearts, the Red Queen doesn’t abuse her power, keeping violence to a minimum and trying to help events unfold as smoothly as possible. She’s overbearing, but she’s trying to help Alice if she can. The Red Queen’s pragmatism about the battle being fought between the chess pieces reminds us that all conflicts are somewhat arbitrary. At the end of the book, the Red Queen turns into Alice’s black kitten, Kitty. We can’t really find any deeper meaning in this, except that Carroll is reminding us of the connections between real life and Looking-Glass World.

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