Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland characters are at turns delightful, eccentric, frustrating, and fascinating. Part of the reason the famous mathematician's novel lends itself so well to retellings, stage plays, and movie adaptations is because of those characters, who stand up to countless interpretations and re-interpretations and manage to intrigue children and adults alike.
Alice in Wonderland Characters
Alice in Wonderland boasts a larger cast of characters than are mentioned here, but these are the main players in the book and subsequent versions of the story.
Alice is the main character of Lewis Carroll's two-volume series, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. She is about seven years old in the books but older in some movie versions. In Tim Burton's movie adaptation, for example, Alice appears to be about 19. She's naturally curious, and her keen sense of curiosity drives much of the book's plot and incites Alice to move forward from one event to another.
Alice is first surprised to find that the white rabbit in the book has the ability to speak, but once she moves past that, she expresses little disbelief about the other creatures she meets and the things that transpire in Wonderland, and she appears to be more often frustrated than frightened or worried. Alice's sensibility, pragmatism, confidence, and sense of adventure make her character dynamic and her interactions with others rewarding and memorable.
The White Rabbit
The white rabbit is the reason Alice enters Wonderland. She catches sight of him while she is outside one day, and the rabbit appears to be very agitated and rushed. In some versions of the story, he repeats, "I'm late! I'm late!" to himself over and over. Alice follows the rabbit and enters Wonderland through the hole to his den. The rabbit acts frustrated with Alice throughout most of the story, and he's somewhat self-centered and focused on what he needs to do and where he needs to be. He's easily flustered and aggravated, but he also serves as an introduction to Wonderland for Alice and helps make the transition between her world and Wonderland a bit easier.
The caterpillar is one of the first characters Alice encounters in Wonderland. He appears to be at ease, somewhat old, and comfortable with where he is. In the book, the caterpillar is depicted reclining on a mushroom and smoking a hookah. Despite being the manifestation of such a small creature, the caterpillar is quite large, much bigger than Alice. He speaks very sensibly to Alice and gives her some advice about how to get by in Wonderland, telling her to eat some of the mushroom if she'd like to grow larger.
The Cheshire Cat
Alice encounters this quixotic cat several times during her stint in Wonderland, and though the cat is never able to provide her with any clear guidance or explicitly helpful suggestions, it makes her feel at ease and provides some comfort in contrast to the more abrasive Wonderland characters. The trademark feature of the Cheshire Cat is its grin, which is somewhat freakish.
The Mad Hatter
The Mad Hatter, known simply as "the Hatter" in Carroll's book, is an attendee at the tea party that Alice stumbles upon in Wonderland. The Hatter is obtuse, frustrating, and seems to be completely insane, making it difficult for Alice to have a sensible conversation with him. However, in many versions of the story, he does protect Alice by hiding her when the queen's servants approach, making it impossible for them to find her and take her back to the palace.
The Queen of Hearts
The primary villain of the Wonderland world, the Queen of Hearts is bossy, authoritative, and grumpy. She has little regard for other characters and has no qualms about ordering around her servants and subjects, no matter what the personal sacrifice may be to them. When anyone defies the queen, she orders her servants to chop off the person's head and thus is able to maintain a reign motivated by fear.
The Jabberwock is a monstrous creature that appears in Through the Looking Glass but is absent from Alice in Wonderland. In Tim Burton's film adaptation of the story, however, the plot revolves around Alice preparing to fight and slay the Jabberwock in the movie's finale.