Duchess tenniel

Illustration by Sir John Tenniel.

The Duchess is a fictional character from the novel, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. The Duchess was angry at Alice in Chapter 6.


The Duchess lives in Wonderland in a small palace just outside the Caterpillar's forest. She employs a footman (who Alice thinks resembles a frog) and a Cook, and keeps a strange grinning housecat as a pet. When she first meets Alice in Chapter Six, the Duchess is sitting angrily in her kitchen with a baby on her lap. The Cook is stirring up thick clouds of pepper while preparing a meal, and the Duchess explains how she must constantly beat her child to keep it from sneezing. Taking pity on the baby, Alice spirits him away, only to find that he has transformed into a pig. She lets it go, admitting that while it wasn't a very attractive baby; it makes for a handsome pig.

When Alice meets the Duchess for the second time at the Queen's croquet party, the Duchess is much more genial. They chat and she repeatedly places her chin firmly on Alice's shoulder, which Alice finds uncomfortable as the Duchess has a very sharp, pointy chin. Even so, Alice begins to suspect that the Duchess might actually have a pleasant personality after all, and that her earlier severity was brought on by the pepper.

American McGee's Alice

In American McGee's Alice, the Duchess is the first boss. She appears similar to her novel counterpart in looks, wearing greenish, stained robes and headpiece. Her face is extremely ugly and fiercely contorted. Alice battles her to reclaim the Mock Turtle's shell. The Duchess' weapon is a pepperpot. Once defeated, the pepper gets up her nose, as in the novel, and she sneezes so hard that her head explodes.

Memorable Quotes

  • Be what you would seem to be -- or, if you'd like it put more simply -- never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise. -Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
  • "Speak roughly to your little boy and beat hmm when he sneezes. He inly does it to annoy because he knows it teases." Alice in Wonderland play. Act 1 - Scene 3.


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Characters

Alice The Mad Hatter The White Rabbit The Queen of Hearts The King of Hearts The Caterpillar The March Hare The Knave of Hearts The Cheshire Cat The Dormouse The Lory The Eaglet The Duck The Dodo Bill the Lizard Mary Ann Dinah Mathilda The Duchess The Cook Frog Footman Fish Footman The Pig Baby The Gryphon The Mock Turtle Tortoise The Playing Cards Bayard