If you happen to be in need of a mad character, look no further than Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Don’t waste your time with the Hatter or the March Hare; but rather skip ahead to the Queen of Hearts, for her madness is delicious.
Surrounded by incompetence in the form of animals and playing cards, she is part Queen Victoria, part Caligula, barging through her chapters in a state of constant dissatisfaction and frustration. And really, who can blame her when she lives among so much instability, chaos and . . . hallucinogens?
Ordering executions is her ‘go to’ response to the madness that surrounds her, although no one ever seems to actually lose their head. Despite her usual overreaction to the mishaps that occur under her reign, she does on occasion try to do things in a civil manner. One such example being the time she ordered the Knave of Hearts to stand trial for the theft of her tarts. Unfortunately the trial quickly devolved into chaos as Alice accidentally knocked over the jury box, releasing all of the animals. The Queen then ordered Alice to leave the court, citing Rule 42 (“All persons more than a mile high to leave the court”).
Yes, you can label her behavior as that of a dictator, tyrant or a bully, and blame it on poor parenting. However, if you ask me, I will tell you that years of living in Wonderland took its toll on the Queen, eventually pushing her sanity over the edge.
-Lisa Riley Emig