Essay about Celtic Mythological Motifs in Chretien's Yvain and Carroll's Alice

Essay about Celtic Mythological Motifs in Chretien's Yvain and Carroll's Alice

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Celtic Mythological Motifs in Chretien's Yvain and Carroll's Alice

   Abstract: This is an analysis of celtic mythological motifs or themes (usually found Arthurian romances) in the medieval romance Yvain and the victorian classic, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland .}



    There are elements of the Arthurian romance in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in

Wonderland and Chretien de Troyes' Yvain . Both novels incorporate important aspects or reoccurring themes in Arthurian romances, including: the concept of a hero's (or heroine's) journey into a magic "Other World," the importance of white or otherwise uncommon animals,the importance an Otherworldly queen, the importance of sacred springs or other bodies of water, and the importance of chivalric values. The medieval romance Yvainhas been firmly established as one of the first and most enduring examples of Arthurian tradition, but the English novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has not been considered in this light. Hopefully, the following analysis will provide readers with a new outlook on Carroll's morality tale; his novel appears to have been influenced by the same concepts that encompass the Arthurian romance.


    The most obvious similarity between Yvain and the victorian novel Alice's Adventures

in Wonderland is the theme of a journey into a magic "Other World" or land that outside of the boundaries of mortal time and space. This theme is presented to the reader at the very beginning of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland when an unusual white rabbit leads Alice, the heroine, to Wonderland (the Other World). She enters this strange world through a hole in the ground; this concept of a sacred mound or hole as an e...

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...en at the trial; she responds to Her Majesty's cry of "Off with her head!" by declaring, "You're nothing but a pack of cards" (Ch. 12:133). Her kindness is illustrated through such chivalric actions as defending the Duchess' pig-baby, listening to the Mock-Turtle's story with sympathy and patience, and assuring the poor Dormouse when it gets trapped in the pool of tears. Wonderland, in essence, appears to be a closed universe ruled by elaborate conventions of chivalry, with monarchies, nobilities, courts of justice, duels and rituals that recall the Middle Ages and the Arthurian romances of Chretien de Troyes.



Carroll, Lewis. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1965.

Chretien de Troyes. Yvain; or The Knight with the Lion. Trans. Ruth Harwood Cline. Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 1975.


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