Posted by: Derek_M | December 1, 2009

What Ever Happened to the Duchess?

As I read chapter nine, a question entered my train of thought. When the queen came in demanding someone to execute, Alice and the duchess were the prime suspects, as they were talking of morals. The duchess leaves I assume, but here is the text:

“Now, I give you fair warning,” shouted the Queen, stamping on the ground as she spoke;”either you or your head must be off, and that in about half no time! Take your choice!” The Duchess took her choice and was gone in a moment.

This poses a fair question. Was the Duchess executed never to return to Wonderland, or was she just given a scare? What is interesting to me is that if the Duchess did survive, why she did not visit Alice later in the book. She seemed to be a profound character, especially in teaching Alice some morals in a roundabout fashion. She gave Alice something to grow and understand, allowing her to visit the Mock turtle to gain even more wisdom. The Duchess seems to be almost bipolar. In the presence of pepper, she is very bitter and crude, but in the presence of fresh air, she is a very loving almost grandmotherly figure fro Alice in Wonderland. This dichotomy between very different things can be found almost anywhere in Alice. From the Chesire Cat to the Mad Tea Party, dichotomy can be found everywhere.

But the Question of where the Duchess went is still in my mind. Was the poor lady executed? Is she safe? Did she just disappear like the rabbit only to be found later? Or did the dream end just before the Duchess became of use to Carroll again? The world may never know.

Image courtesy of:,-Illustration-From-Alice-In-Wonderland-By-Lewis-Carroll-1832-9.jpg



  1. Scott: Thanks for the way you view the situation. Your clear analysis allows me to stop questioning that specific part of chapter nine. Your answer is logical and well thought out. Thanks.

    Abbie: Yes, I definitely concur with you. That is why I wrote the blog in the first place, but the world may never know, unless we can revive Carroll. That might be interesting.

  2. I think that the Duchess’s time had come and gone. She had done what she needed to do, as to teaching Alice about morals. There wasn’t really a need for her anymore. And with the story, as well as Alice’s destiny, she was no longer needed. It’s almost like she didn’t want to overdue her stay, or overwhelm her purpose. However I don’t think she was executed. That would be a little drastic. The Queen said she could either get lost, or lose her head. I think she went with plan A and went home back to her pig babies.

  3. Oh goodness, Derek. Now you have me wondering as well! It’s like those tootsie pop commercials, except I can’t actually try to figure it out, I can only go off of my own imagination, which I imagine will get me no where. But I really to love that you bring that up. Everyone cares about Alice, jeese, it’s about time someone started paying attention to the other characters! Though, I’m sure that the new movie will be sorely based around the madd hatter. [[Who doesn’t love J. Depp?]] It’s a very interesting point, though. What ever did happen to the duchess?

    I wouldn’t think she was executed, though. Considering no one else was…oh well! I guess it’s just one of those questions in life that simply cannot be answered.

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