Alice in Wonderland Wiki
Alice in Wonderland Wiki
Mockturtle tenniel

Illustration by Sir John Tenniel

The Mock Turtle is a fictional character from the novel, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. He has the head, hind hooves and tail of a cow and the body, shell and front flippers of a sea turtle.

Origin of the Phrase[]

The Turtle is a visual pun on mock turtle soup, an imitation of green turtle soup made from the head, hooves and tail of a calf.[1]


The Mock Turtle is a very melancholy character that pines pathetically for the days when it was once a real turtle. The Gryphon introduces it to Alice in Chapter Nine and it tells her its history of going to school in the sea, but cannot understand the school system that she describes to it. Alice, in turn, is equally baffled by the Turtle's usage of the word. This is a pun on the two meanings of "school", referring in the Turtle's usage to a school of fish, and by Alice to an institute of learning. The studies that he told Alice are parodies of other studies:

  • Reeling and Writhing - Reading and Writing
  • Rhythmatics:Ambition, Distraction, Uglifacation, Derision - Mathematics:Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division
  • Mystery - History
  • Seaography - Geography
  • Drawling, Stretching, Fainting in Coils - Drawing, Sketching, Painting in Oils I never met him

Other Appearances[]


The Mock Turtle appears more human in the 1999 film


The Mock Turtle is seen at the left of the Knave of Hearts as he comes in.

  • The Mock Turtle was portrayed by Cary Grant in the 1933 Paramount film version of "Alice in Wonderland".
  • In the 1949 film, Alice meets the Mock Turtle when the Gryphon takes her to prison to await her trial. Alice demands to be able to tell her story to someone, and the Gryphon suggests she tell it to the Mock Turtle. He insists he must tell his own first and sings "Beautiful Soup".
  • Ringo Starr protrayed the Mock Turtle in the 1985 film, singing a song about "Nonsense".
  • The Mock Turtle also appears in the 1999 film protrayed by Gene Wilder.
  • In the video game "American McGee's Alice", the Mock Turtle has the head of a black bull and the body, hands and feet of a turtle but not a sea turtle. He tells Alice the location of the caterpillar for getting his shell back from the Duchess.
  • In the Tim Burton 2010 film "Alice", The Mock Turtle is seen in a picture next to the door the Knave comes in where the Hatter is making hats.




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 Alice's Sister The Duchess The Cook The Executioner Father William Frog Footman Fish Footman The Pig Baby The Gryphon The Mock Turtle Tortoise The Playing Cards The Puppy