The Violence of the Red Knight and the Black Knight in Alice Through the Looking Glass

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It has been argued that the violence in Alice through the looking glass is simply a device to contrast with the light hearted and fantastical elements of the book. Another argument put forward is that the violence is simply used as childish entertainment for young readers, which is why no injury or damage is done by these fights. I intend to argue that the violence in this passage is in fact a commentary of the futility of violence and more specificity the pointlessness of war within an expanding empire. The two Knights battle over the Red Knights the newly captured prisoner, Alice. Neither of the Knights have any particular use for her. Her capture and rescue is merely a point of pride for them both. I argue that this scene is in fact a metaphor for the Crimean war between Russia (the Red Knight) and Great Britain and its allies (the White Knight). The Crimean war had finished nine years before the publication of the book, which was no doubt still fresh in the minds of many British people. The Red knight claims Alice as his prisoner who the White Knight is willing to fight him for, (in this metaphor she stands as the Dardanelles). At no point does either of the Knights ask Alice what she wants. In fact she is completely bewildered as to what the two Knights are doing. The two knights have a code of battle which they both agree to abide by, much like armies have rules of engagement and warfare. Alice is scared by the battle; she retreats behind a tree to avoid being caught in the crossfire. She describes the noise of the battle as a set of fire-irons falling in to the fender. Both fire and iron are weapons of war further compounding the image of war. She does not understand the rules of battle; to her it seems completely absurd, a view point many shared about the Crimean war. The metaphor is not specificity about Crimean war, but it is a commentary of all the

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