Caterpillar (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
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 which, according to him, "is a very good height indeed" (though Alice believes it to be a wretched height).

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 at right, is something of a visual paradox; the caterpillar's human face appears to be formed from the head and legs of a more realistic 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.

  • 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 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. He is portrayed after Absolem and 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 just that (albeit while angry from Alice's comment about being only three inches high). He is voiced by Richard Haydn.

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".[2] Rickman was filmed while recording his voice in a studio, but his face was not composited onto the character's face as originally planned.[3] 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 try to decide whether Alice is really the one from the Oraculum. They take her to Absolem for instructions, who concludes that she is "not hardly Alice." He appears after Alice arrives at the White Queen's Castle, on this particular meeting, she becomes rather annoyed with him blowing his smoke in her face. He appears again before the war and reminds Alice of her previous trip to Wonderland, and proclaims that she is Alice at last. At the end of the movie, the caterpillar, in his transformed form as a butterfly, and appears on Alice's shoulder as she sets off for China.

Once Upon a Time[edit]

  • The Caterpillar appears in the Once Upon a Time in Wonderland episode "Forget Me Not" voiced by Iggy Pop. The Caterpillar is shown to have a group of warriors called Collectors that he sends out to collect the debts owed to him from different people. The Knave of Hearts owed some money to the Caterpillar. Alice and the Knave of Hearts go to the Caterpillar in Underland in order to get to the Forget-Me-Knot. Caterpillar recognizes Alice as Knave of Hearts makes a deal to obtain the Forget-Me-Knot from the Grendel (which he had stolen from the Red Queen who transformed him into a monster) in the Whispering Woods in exchange that the Caterpillar erases the money debt that the Knave of Hearts owes him. Following Alice and the Knave of Hearts slaying the Bandersnatch at the Grendel's house, Jafar visits the Caterpillar where he wants the Caterpillar to tell him about the Knave of Hearts. In "Home," a flashback reveals that Cyrus has visited the Caterpillar where he has heard that the Caterpillar can make things disappear. Cyrus gives the Caterpillar his compass in exchange for his help. The item Cyrus gained from the Caterpillar is an invisible tent that he had planted somewhere near the Outlands. In "Nothing to Fear," Caterpillar visits Jafar stating that the Collectors haven't found the genie's bottle yet. Caterpillar states to Jafar that there is one way to get what he wants to complete and tells him of an ancient creature called the Jabberwocky which is stronger than an entire army. In "Heart of the Matter," Cyrus visits the Caterpillar in Underland to see if he can get his compass back in exchange for an arrangement. The Caterpillar states that he will give him back the compass in exchange that he brings him Alice and the Knave of Hearts. During the discussion, Alice sneaks under the Caterpillar's stand to grab the compass. Both of them managed to get out during a bar fight.

Reference in Freddy vs. Jason[edit]

In the 2003 Horror/crossover film Freddy vs. Jason, Freddy transforms into a Hookah-smoking caterpillar that has his face to possess a teenager named Freeburg.


  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. ^ "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)
  3. ^ Topel, Fred (December 19, 2008). "Alan Rickman talks about Alice in Wonderland". Retrieved February 21, 2010.  External link in |work= (help)