The books > Shakespeare's "Richard III" inspired "Off wit

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Shakespeare's "Richard III" inspired "Off wit

Postby Frumious Bandersnatch » Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:53 am

I am currently taking a Shakespeare class and just finished reading Richard III. I am fully convinced that Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (AKA Lewis Carroll) got the phrase "off with his head!" in his book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland from Shakespeare. In the play Richard says this phrase at least twice, but what really convinced me was the fact that this play has a lot to do with the war of the roses, and this as we know is a prominent theme in the Alice in Wonderland book. Of course Lewis Carroll may have just got these ideas from a history book, but considering the fact that he was really into poetry (and therefore poets - probably like Shakespeare) I don't find it unreasonable to infer he got "off with his head" from Shakespeare's play Richard III. Furthermore, I believe the Queen in Alice in Wonderland was Queen Margaret of the Red Roses House of Lancaster (who was known for being very moody) and the Duchess was the Duchess of York from the White Roses House of York (she was the mother of Richard III - which explains why the baby in the story turned into a pig).

Does anyone else agree or have any additional thoughts, disagreements or insights on this matter? I would love to hear them.

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Postby Beautiful Soup » Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:57 am

Queen Margaret says "Off with his head" in Henry VI Part III - Apparently, this could be the origin of the phrase
QUEEN MARGARET:
Off with his head, and set it on York gates;
So York may overlook the town of York.
http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/263700.html

EDIT If you're interested, Lenny has posted an article in the Resources section which argues that the whole of AAiW and TTLG is a metaphor or satire of the wars of the roses

http://www.alice-in-wonderland.net/expl ... ce808.html

Personally, I think it goes a bit far, but it's still quite interesting, nevertheless

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Postby Jess » Sun Nov 16, 2014 12:01 pm

I was going to say that my copy of Alice (Oxford World Classics edition) also mentions it in the explanatory notes at the back, but it refers to the same article that Beautiful Soup already linked. :)

I quite like the idea of having something to refer to for giving names to the characters instead of trying to make up ones that fit!

It's interesting that the Queen of Hearts and the Red Queen are already being mixed together (the article is from 1928). How long has this been going on, exactly? Carroll didn't intend for them to be considered the same character. (I went looking through more of the Resources page to see if there was something about it, and found this page where he talks about the Queens as separate characters with different personalities.

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From "the horse's mouth"

Postby Frumious Bandersnatch » Wed Dec 17, 2014 12:13 am

Awesome! Thanks for that link Jess! It's great to see what Lewis Carroll has to say "from the horse's mouth" as they call it.

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Postby Guest » Thu Dec 18, 2014 7:23 pm

DIS:-) DIS:-/

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Postby Guest » Thu Dec 18, 2014 7:24 pm

I was going to say that my copy of Alice (Oxford World Classics edition) also mentions it in the explanatory notes at the back, but it refers to the same article that Beautiful Soup already linked. :)

I quite like the idea of having something to refer to for giving names to the characters instead of trying to make up ones that fit!

It's interesting that the Queen of Hearts and the Red Queen are already being mixed together (the article is from 1928). How long has this been going on, exactly? Carroll didn't intend for them to be considered the same character. (I went looking through more of the Resources page to see if there was something about it, and found this page where he talks about the Queens as separate characters with different personalities.
\

very intuitive ._.

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Queens

Postby Frumious Bandersnatch » Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:27 am

Yeah now that you mention it the Queen of Hearts and the Red Queen do appear to be mixed up in some analysis of the books. I suppose that is because they are both rather cold figures. But the Red Queen is helpful to Alice despite her slightly pompous appearance, whereas the Queen of Hearts is just plain rude and cruel.

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Postby The Queen of Hearts » Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:26 am

I'm with Beautiful Soup in thinking the idea is somewhat extensive, but interesting none-the-less. Personally, I wouldn't say that the War of the Roses is a dominant theme to the book, since you really only have the one chapter that addresses the roses (Ch. 8) and then three or four involving the Queen directly.
It's interesting that the Queen of Hearts and the Red Queen are already being mixed together (the article is from 1928). How long has this been going on, exactly? Carroll didn't intend for them to be considered the same character...
I've always wondered if people had started calling the Queen of Hearts the Red Queen before TTLG was published and then just kept mixing them up afterwards.

Quite awhile back there was that post about the card game that called her the Red Queen here, so if the original poster's guess was right about how old the cards were it looks like it might have started even sooner.

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Postby Beautiful Soup » Wed Dec 24, 2014 11:24 am

So, here's fun for any Alice fans who have read Richard III -
George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence (Edward IV & Richard's brother, who is drowned in the malmsey butt) is Alice Liddell's great great great great great great great great great great great great grandfather

http://thepeerage.com/p10164.htm#i101637

The line of descent goes like this:

George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence
Margaret Plantagenet, Countess of Salisbury
Sir Henry Pole, 1st Lord Montagu
Catherine Pole
George Hastings, 4th Earl of Huntingdon
Francis Hastings, Lord Hastings
Catherine Hastings
Sir Henry Stanhope, Lord Stanhope
Philip Stanhope, 2nd Earl of Chesterfield
Lady Elizabeth Stanhope
Thomas Lyon, 8th Earl of Strathmore
Hon. Thomas Lyon
Charlotte Lyon
Very Rev. Henry George Liddell
Alice Pleasance Liddell

Clarence also appears in Henry VI Part 3


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