Alice’s journey takes a grim turn in Through the Looking Glass as she realises the truth of adulthood. Alice tries to figure out her prospects in the society in a rather pessimistic manner as she moves along a given goal. However, she is well aware of the fact that she isn’t exploring a new world freely, she’s a part of a larger game, here a game of the chess. This has also been suggested by Roger Henkle who comments: ‘A deterministic impulse underlies the Looking Glass dream; indeed, it ends with the suggestion that we are all part of the dream of a godlike Red King whose own unconscious wishes predetermined our lives.’
Even as it is said that the fall of Adam and Eve was predetermined by God, many critics emphasise that Milton held the view that God only knew of their fall, but didn’t exactly make it happen.
The game of a chess can be interpreted as a symbol for fate, with Alice as a mere pawn who struggles to arrive at a preordained conclusion by working in accordance with a pre-deterministic framework. This also serves as a reminder to the theological debate of free will versus determinism fuelled by John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Even as it is said that the fall of Adam and Eve was predetermined by God, many critics emphasise that Milton held the view that God only knew of their fall, but didn’t exactly make it happen.
However, in the text, Lewis Carroll makes it clear that it isn’t actually Alice’s dream. Just like Adam and Eve, she encounters different creatures, with the White Knight being a sort of guiding figure for Alice as the angels in Paradise Lost. As the chessboard is a symbol of life in society, it is the societal and historical events that greatly influence Alice’s journey.
Though Carroll’s personal views don’t come across in the narrative, he definitely satirises the English society for its strict societal convention that limits an individual with its overpowering appeal. This overarching chessboard of a life is terrible enough for Alice to be hesitant to believe in its credibility.
To read the text of Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, click here: