Caterpillar (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland)

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Alice character
Alice 05a-1116x1492.jpg
The Caterpillar using a hookah; an illustration by John Tenniel. The illustration is noted for its ambiguous central figure, whose head can be viewed as being a human male's face with a pointed nose and protruding chin or being the head end of an actual caterpillar, with two "true" legs visible.[1]
First appearance Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Created by Lewis Carroll
Nickname(s) The Blue Caterpillar
Aliases Hookah-Smoking Caterpillar, Absolem
Species Caterpillar
Gender Male
Nationality Wonderland

The Caterpillar (also known as the Hookah-Smoking Caterpillar) is a fictional character appearing in Lewis Carroll's book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Appearance in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland[edit]

Introduced in Chapter Four ("Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill") and the main center of interest of Chapter V ("Advice from a Caterpillar"), the Caterpillar is a hookah-smoking caterpillar exactly three inches high (a height of which he argues in defense, against Alice's complaint). Alice does not like the Caterpillar when they first meet, because he does not immediately talk to her and when he does, it is usually in short, rather rude sentences, or difficult questions.

The original illustration by John Tenniel is something of a visual paradox, wherein the caterpillar's human face appears to be formed from the head and legs of a naturalistic caterpillar.[1] In another allusion, the flowers on the right of the illustration appear to be a form of tobacco, while the caterpillar is smoking heavily.

Other media[edit]

The Caterpillar makes an appearance in a few other places outside Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, such as American McGee's Alice and the novel The Looking-Glass Wars; in both of these spin-offs he plays the role of an oracle.

  • In the SyFy TV miniseries Alice, the Caterpillar is the leader of the underground resistance to the Queen of Hearts.
  • The Caterpillar also makes an appearance in "Curiouser and Curiouser," an episode of the television show Forever Knight, in the form of a child's toy.
  • In several Marvel Comics stories featuring Doctor Strange, the magical entity Agamotto has appeared in a form resembling the Caterpillar.
  • In popular music, the Caterpillar is mentioned in Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" (1967), a song containing many references to the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
  • In one episode of Ouran High School Host Club called "Haruhi in Wonderland", Kyoya Otori is dressed as the Caterpillar.
  • The Caterpillar appears in the Mad T Party at Disney's California Adventure park, where he plays the keyboard.

Disney film[edit]

Blue Caterpillar
Caterpillar as he appears in 1951 Disney classic.
First appearance Alice in Wonderland
Created by Lewis Carroll
Voiced by Richard Haydn (original film)
Corey Burton (House of Mouse)

His memorable phrase is a breathy "Whooo ... are ... you?". In the Disney animated movie, this line is visualised as exhalations of smoke in the shapes "O", "R" and "U". Alice remarks in the original story that the Caterpillar will one day turn into a butterfly, and in both the 1999 television film and Disney's 1951 version he does so in Alice's presence. He is voiced by Richard Haydn.

The Caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland is a blue creature who appears to be smoking a hookah. He is seen as a very violent character as he screams at Alice quite often during the scenes he appears in. He blows smoke in Alice's face and when she needs help he ignores her. He is a quite mean character as he provides little to no help to Alice and ends up confusing her more while she is trapped in Wonderland. He then ignores her and turns into a butterfly and flutters away not caring if Alice makes it out alive or not. He also instructs her to eat a mushroom but doesn't tell her what it does thus putting her into possible danger.[2]

Alice in Wonderland by Arthur Rackham - 05 - Advice from a Caterpillar.jpg

Tim Burton film[edit]

Absolem the Caterpillar
First appearance Alice in Wonderland
Created by Lewis Carroll
Voiced by Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman voices the Caterpillar, who in this adaptation is named "Absolem".[3] Rickman was filmed while recording his voice in a studio, but his face was not composited onto the character's face as originally planned.[4]

He appears five times in the movie. The first time is outside Wonderland, when a young man is about to propose to Alice and she notices a blue caterpillar on his shoulder. The second time is when the white rabbit, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, dormouse, and the dodo consider Alice's identity, and they consult him. He appears again after Alice arrives at the White Queen's Castle, and again to remind Alice of her previous visit to Wonderland. At the end of the movie, the Caterpillar, as a butterfly, appears on Alice's shoulder as she sets off for China.

Once Upon a Time[edit]

  • The Caterpillar appears in an episode of Once Upon a Time, voiced by Roger Daltrey.
  • The Caterpillar appears in the Once Upon a Time in Wonderland episode "Forget Me Not" voiced by Iggy Pop, wherein he operates a meeting-house for the transaction of criminal business. He is consulted twice by Alice for assistance in an adventure of her own.


  1. ^ a b "And do you see its long nose and chin? At least, they look exactly like a nose and chin, don't they? But they really are two of its legs. You know a Caterpillar has got quantities of legs: you can see more of them, further down." Carroll, Lewis. The Nursery "Alice". Dover Publications (1966), p27.
  2. ^ "Caterpillar -". Retrieved 2015-10-20. 
  3. ^ "Alice in Wonderland – Glossary of Terms/Script (early draft)" (PDF). Walt Disney Pictures. Retrieved March 30, 2010.  (early draft of the film script, first started Feb. 2007)
  4. ^ Topel, Fred (December 19, 2008). "Alan Rickman talks about Alice in Wonderland". Retrieved February 21, 2010.  External link in |work= (help)