Alice in Wonderland Archetypes

In this article you will learn about the archetypes in Alice in Wonderland, the classic novel by Lewis Carroll, which contains examples of various archetypes commonly seen in literature throughout the ages.

What are the Archetypes in Alice in Wonderland?

Alice is the archetypal hero of the story, facing many unexpected challenges but rising to face them all despite doubting her own ability to bring harmony to Wonderland.

She uses her heroic skills of courage, bravery, determination, endurance and a strong sense of morality to achieve her ends and has an adventurous spirit which she embraces.

The Red Queen is the archetypal antagonist and villain of the story, with no remorse for any of the evil actions she carries out and living with the sole motivations of power and control over those around her.

She has a temper and a violent nature which she is unable to control, and exhibits cruelty and pettiness to all around.

The White Rabbit is the archetypal herald, the character whose presence changes Alice’s life simply by being seen and followed by her.

In addition, he is constantly providing a time check for Alice and a reminder of problems that exist and the need to solve them.

The Cheshire Cat is undoubtedly the archetypal trickster and shapeshifter, changing his form and using his logic, intelligence and wit in order to manipulate, deceive and escape any form of punishment for his actions.

Alice in Wonderland Book Summary

  • Seven-year-old Alice sits, bored and drowsy, on a riverbank where she notices a talking, clothed white rabbit run past.
  • She follows it down a rabbit hole, falling into a hall with locked doors of varying sizes.
  • After drinking the contents of a bottle, she shrinks. She then eats a cake labelled “EAT ME” and grows so large her head hits the ceiling. She cries and her tears flood the hall.
  • The sea of tears becomes crowded by animals and birds.
  • They all reach a bank and wonder how to get dry.
  • The White Rabbit reappears and orders Alice to go into the house to retrieve the Duchess’s fan and gloves.
  • There she finds another bottle, drinks and starts to grow again. They all throw pebbles at her which turn into little cakes which she eats, causing her to shrink again.
  • Alice finds a caterpillar sitting on a mushroom. It tells her one side of the mushroom will make her grow and the other side will make her shrink.
  • Alice experiments before bringing herself back to normal height and finding a small estate.
  • Alice lets herself into the house, where the Duchess’s cook makes soup with too much pepper, causing Alice, the Duchess, and her baby (but not the Cheshire Cat) to sneeze.
  • The Cheshire Cat appears in a tree and sends her to the March Hare’s house. On disappearing, his grin remains floating in the air.
  • Alice joins a “mad” tea party along with the March Hare, the Hatter, and a Dormouse.
  • They give Alice many riddles and stories. The Hatter tells Alice they have tea all day because Time has punished him by eternally standing still at tea time.
  • Alice leaves, believing it the stupidest tea party that she has ever been to.
  • Alice finds three living playing cards painting white roses on a rose tree red because The Queen of Hearts hates white roses.
  • Alice meets the King and Queen and is invited to play croquet with the Queen, a difficult character, but the game becomes chaotic.
  • Alice again meets the Cheshire Cat, whom the Queen orders beheaded, but her executioner states this is impossible since the head is all of the cat he can see.
  • Alice attends a trial where the Knave of Hearts is accused of stealing the Queen’s tarts. Alice is called as a witness.
  • The King and Queen order her gone due to her size but Alice disputes this and refuses to leave. S
  • he argues with the King and Queen of Hearts over the ridiculous proceedings.
  • Finally, the Queen decides that Alice was the culprit and shouts, “Off with her head!”. Alice is unafraid but the card guards swarm all over her.
  • Alice’s sister wakes her up from a dream.

Alice in Wonderland Archetype Examples

  • Hero
  • Quest
  • Antagonist
  • Villain
  • Herald
  • Trickster
  • Shapeshifter
  • Quest
  • Journey

Want more literary archetypes?

Go check out our extensive list of archetypes in literature to find out more about the characters seen in literature throughout the ages.

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