A Cat May…

“A cat may look upon a king”

Such an interesting statement, no? Although the Cheshire-Cat itself does not voice this particular thought it seems to apply to him admirably well. Originally a proverb implied that “inferiors have certain privileges in the presence of superiors.” I feel that in the context of Alice it can take on a whole new level of meaning.

To explain my interpretation I feel I must first look at the nature of a cat. More than a small fluffy feline, a cat embodies a range of characteristics. They are in a general sense very observant and quiet until provoked or they feel the need to intervene. They are very independent and never come when called. Cats are calm and never panic; they observe the world with a kind of dry humor. Cats seem to think, beyond a shadow of a doubt they are superior to all other life forms.

This definition seems perfect for the Cheshire-Cat. He is an observer; his character has an almost omnipotent air. He knows all and sees all and is perfectly happy to just watch life flit by. He feels himself to be superior to the other characters in wonderland as shown by his blatant disregard for the King and Queen of Hearts. He doesn’t even fear the executioner. This is partly because he like all cats is especially adept at escaping quickly without notice and getting into and out of places they should not be. Curiosity may have killed the cat but it defiantly had 8 lives left.

So perhaps the statement, “a cat may look upon a king,” is really referring to the Cheshire cat’s role in wonderland as a nearly omnipotent and rather distant god figure. He may look upon a king because he has the ability to overlook everything.

If this post interests you you may find part one of my arguments with the Cheshire Cat or part two interesting

One Response to “A Cat May…”

  1. I finally have found my match in interpreting Alice. I believe that the Cheire Cat is the most misunderstood character in all of Alice. His character could lead down so many different paths. I really appreciate your in-depth analysis of the character. He is calling to be analyzed. Carroll wanted everyone to focus on this cat because of the simple, yet complex expressions he creates. Cats looking upon a king is one of those phrases that could be interpreted. As you mentioned, the Cheshire Cat is an observer in society. His ability to manipulate his appearance ties directly to life in the modern day world. Those who can manipulate their surroundings, in the end, have the most influence on people and find themselves constantly misunderstood. The Cheshire Cat represents all of the misinterpreted people in society, allowing themselves to be presented in a manner of which people of all ages can relate.

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