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The Cheshire Cat
Cheshire Cat2
General Information
Species Cat
Gender Male
Eye color Yellow (1951)
Light Blue ((2010) and (2016))
Relationships
Family The Lavette Family (as a plush toy)
Friend(s) Alice
Enemies The Red Queen
Other Information
Strength(s) Evaporation (teleportation)
Invisibility
Levitation
Behind The Scenes
First appearance Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Portrayed by Sterling Holloway (1951)
Whoopi Goldberg (1999)
Stephen Fry ((2010) and (2016))

The Cheshire Cat (aka 'Chessur' in the 2010 movie) is a fictional character from the novel, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Stephen Fry voices the Cheshire Cat in the 2010 movie and the 2016 movie.

Cheshire tenniel

Illustration by John Tenniel

Alice first encounters it at the Duchess's house in her kitchen, and then later outside on the branches of a tree, where it appears and disappears at will, engaging Alice in amusing but sometimes vexing conversation. The cat raises philosophical points that annoy or baffle Alice. It does, however, appear to cheer her up when it turns up suddenly at the Queen of Hearts' croquet field, and when sentenced to death baffles everyone by having made its head appear without its body, sparking a massive argument between the executioner and the King and Queen of Hearts about whether something that does not have a body can indeed be beheaded.

At one point, the cat disappears gradually until nothing is left but its grin, prompting Alice to remark that she has often seen a cat without a grin but never a grin without a cat.

Origin of the Phrase

Cheese Moulds

According to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, "The phrase has never been satisfactorily accounted for, but it has been said that cheese was formerly sold in Cheshire moulded like a cat that looked as though it was grinning".

Chiesa Carving

"Grinning like a Cheshire cat" was an old proverbial expression long before it was used by Lewis Carroll. One theory for the origin of this saying involves the Cheshire cheese molds, another says that Cheshire was a county palatine. Yet another from the village of Cheshire itself, where - it is said - that some of the painted inn signs "look more like grinning cats than growling lions" (Quoted from Notes and Queries, of which Carroll was a regular subscriber)

Further reading: Notes and Queries no. 55, 16 November 1850, and no. 130, 24 April 1852. Here, the origins of the saying are discussed and debated in great detail.

There are many reports that Carroll found inspiration for the name and expression of the Cheshire Cat in the 16th-century sandstone carving of a grinning cat, on the west face of St Wilfrid's Church tower in Grappenhall, a village adjacent to his birthplace in Daresbury, Warrington.


Description

Cheshire-cat-4

The Cheshire Cat as he appears in the 1951 movie.

Alice in Wonderland (1951)

He appears as a mysterious, mischievous pink and purple cat with a devious, mischievous personality. Alice encounters him in the woods and asks for directions back home so he directs her to the Mad Hatter and March Hare. After the confusing and useless visit Alice gets lost and encounters him again and the Cheshire Cat directs her to The Queen of Hearts for help, but before she goes he warns her of The Queen's evil ways. During the visit, the Cheshire Cat constantly humiliates the queen and she thinks it's Alice every time. While in court the Cheshire Cat repeats the insult Alice gives the Queen and it leads to the climactic chase. He was voiced by Sterling Holloway (who also previously played the role of the Frog in another film version of Alice in Wonderland) in the 1951 film and Jim Cummings in the House of Mouse TV series.

During the making of Alice in Wonderland, a song called I'm Odd which was suppose to be sung by the Cheshire Cat was scrapped then later rediscover years later and put on the Alice in Wonderland special edition DVD. An earlier treatment would have given him a more malevolent personality and appearance, with fish-eyes and sharp teeth. This version would have followed Alice throughout Wonderland.

Alice in Wonderland (1999)

(S)he appears as a gray cat who speaks to Alice in Wonderland, as well as a visitor at the garden party at which Alice is finally confident enough not only to sing in front of her audience but also to change from her rehearsed song "Cherry Ripe" to "Lobster Quadrille." The voice (and face) of the cat are both played by Whoopi Goldberg.

Alice (2009 Miniseries)

In the TV miniseries Alice,  the Cat appears in a dream as a fusion with Alice's pet cat, Dinah.

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

'Alice in Wonderland' Trailer 5 0021

The Cheshire Cat Saves The Mad Hatter from execution.

He appears as a gray, light blue striped, turquoise-eyed tabby cat residing in a misty and mysterious looking forest called Tulgey Wood. He only walks on the ground once, and that's when he looks back to Alice when he takes her to tea with the Hare and Hatter. His main transportation is floating in the air.

He is encountered by Alice and offers to purify the Bandersnatch claw marks on her arm, but she declines and says she will be fine when she has woken up but he insists on wrapping it, which Alice allows him to do. He then guides Alice to the Mad tea party. Then he appears and seats himself at the end of the table and spends time with them, stirring his tea all the while. The Mad Hatter accuses him of betraying them when the Jabberwocky first attacked by disappearing, and that it was his fault after the cat says, "All this talk of blood and slaying has put me off my tea". The Cheshire Cat denies that it was his fault and is yelled at and insulted by the Hatter, untilMallymkun, the Dormouse   yells angrily, "Hatter!".

When the Knave, Bayard, and the Red Knights approach and the March Hare tries to hide behind him, he disappears.

Later on, he helps the Mad Hatter during his execution by sparing his life, taking his place while wearing the Mad Hatter's hat and vanishing before he is executed, then the hat floats up into the air, and the Cheshire Cat's head appears under it and he wishes everybody a good morning. In the movie, he had always wanted the Mad Hatter's hat, but appears later and returns it, then asks Alice how her arm is doing before evaporating.

He appears throughout the movie but always disappears when something disgusting is mentioned or seen. In the battle, while Alice is fighting the Jabberwocky, the March Hare hides behind the Cheshire Cat who whips his tail at his own face and then evaporates. After the battle and the Jabberwocky is slain, the Red Queen's knights turn against her, and she is captured, her crown suddenly lifts off her head, floats away, and goes to the White Queen's head, and the Cheshire Cat, who had been holding it and was invisible, appeared, and put the crown on her head, and then disappears. He is last seen grinning at Alice before she drinks the Jabberwocky blood. Here, his disappearing abilities are described as "evaporation". His name is given as Chessur (Chess for short), and he is voiced by Stephen Fry.

The Looking Glass Wars

In Frank Beddor's The Looking Glass Wars, the Cat is an assassin working for Redd.

Video Games

  • In the Laserdisc game Dragon's Lair II, The Cheshire Cat appears only as a head, reciting the Jabberwocky poem while trying to devour the hero "Dirk the Daring".
  • He also appears in Kingdom Hearts series aiding the character with clues.
  • In the Otome game, Heart no Kuni no Alice, he appears as Boris Airay, a human form of the Cheshire Cat and one of the characters who falls in love with Alice.
  • The Cheshire Cat appears in American McGee's Alice as Alice's guide, and his appearance is mangy and emaciated, with dark markings similar to tribal tattoos, in keeping with the dark tone of the game. He is voiced by Roger L. Jackson. He comes back in the sequel. He is not trusted by Alice, but he is still her Ally.
    85ebbfc2-e64d-4d91-847e-d6712fe07558

    Cheshire Cat, as he appears in American McGee's Alice.

  • The Cheshire Cat makes a brief appearance in Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. He is voiced by Jim Cummings. He appears as an aide in all three games, though he is not a direct ally.
  • In Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland game, he has a special ability, Invisibility. He can disappear anytime he wants and he can also make things disappear, such as walls and pillars.
  • Cheshire Cat also appears as a cranky, impatient customer in the computer game Alice's Tea Cup Madness.

Anime and Manga

  • Cheshire cat appears in the anime Ouran High School Host Club as the twins Hikaru and Kaoru.
  • In the anime Pandora Hearts, there is a Chain based on the Cheshire Cat, and it even shares the same name. Here the Cheshire Cat appears as a humanoid cat, however at one point it takes the form of a large shadow with a grin characteristic of the Cat of the novel. He is the Will of the Abyss and Alice's loyal chain protecting her lost memories, which she lost on purpose so she doesn't have to suffer from them.  At one point in the manga, he is seen as a black cat that Alice is very fond of until he was killed by another character.
  • In the anime Card Captor Sakura, the Cheshire Cat was portrayed by Eriol Hiragizawa (who was in fact the responsible for taking Sakura into the book). His playful persona, which contrast's with Eriol's, confuses Sakura at first, but he claims that this was his real one.
  • In CLAMP's Miyuki-chan in Wonderland, the cat was portrayed by a catgirl that tried to seduce Miyuki, but she eventually escaped.
  • In the manga "Heart no Kuni no Alice", or "Alice in Heartland", the character Boris is a human representation of the Cheshire cat.

Other Appearances

  • Cookie Monster was the Cheshire Cookie Cat in "Abby in Wonderland" from Sesame Street on PBS Kids.
  • Hikaru and Kaoru play the Cheshire Cat in an episode of Ouran High School Host Club.
  • Sammy Davis, Jr. provided the voice of a "hip" animated Cheshire Cat in the 1966 Hanna Barbara TV special "Alice in Wonderland or What's a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This?" Dressed in a beret, scarf and chin beard, Davis' Cheshire Cat also sings the title song.
  • Richard Arlen played the Cheshire Cat in the 1933 Paramount film version of "Alice in Wonderland."
  • As part of a limited edition set of decor and animals, Farmville (a Facebook application) has released the caterpillar, seen in the Alice in Wonderland (2010) movie, along with the Cheshire cat, Chessur.
  • In the sequel of "Little Big Planet", a downloadable costume based on the 2010 Cheshire Cat is available to buy.

Memorable quotes

1951 film

  • "That depends on where you want to get to!"[citation needed]
  • "Then, it really really doesn't matter, which way, you go!"[citation needed]
  • "Oh, by the way, if you really like to know, he went, that way."[citation needed]
  • "Can you stand on your head?"[citation needed]
  • "Oh, you can't help that. Most everyone's mad here."[citation needed]

2010 film

  • "What do you call yourself?"[citation needed]
  • "The Alice?"[citation needed]
  • "I never get involved in politics. You'd best be on your way."[citation needed]
  • "All this talk of blood and slaying has put me off my tea."[citation needed]
  • "What happened that day was not my fault."[citation needed]
  • "I do love that hat."[citation needed]
  • "Goodbye, sweet hat."[citation needed]
  • "You do have very poor evaporating skills. I should be the one."[citation needed]

Gallery

Alice in Wonderland (1951)

Alice in Wonderland (1999)

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

References


Navigation

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

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