Posted by: Brendon O-L. | December 3, 2009

Order in the Court!

In chapter 11 and 12, the Knave is put on trial for stealing the Queen’s tarts. This court does not follow ‘due process’ and all evidence given seems to be nonsense.

Carroll seems to be mocking our modern court system by comparing it to this unjust trial.

First off, the jurors wrote on their boards whatever was said in the court room whether it was important or not. They wrote down their names just in case they forgot them by the trial’s end.  They even wrote down “Stupid things!” when Alice said this line to criticize their lack of intelligence. Some of the jurors were so stupid that they were unable to write stupid.

The King, who is acting as the judge, does not know court procedure and on several occasions attempts to skip straight to the verdict. At one point in the trial, he scribbled his own rule that stated the following,

“All persons more than a mile high to leave the court.”

He made this rule in response to Alice’s growth to her original size that occurred in the courtroom. He should not even be allowed to be a judge, since is definitely not an impartial party. He allows the Queen to make any outburst or comment she wants. He would do anything she said no matter how outrageous it was.

None of the witnesses were sworn in from Carroll’s description and any evidence they presented did not pertain to the trial. Many of them went off on random tangents, but the worst part is that the court took these irrational and random pieces of information as justified pieces of evidence. Most of this evidence was just offered by the witnesses in order to appease the Queen and King, otherwise they would have been beheaded on the spot.

The King after hearing what he thought was all the evidence ordered the jury to consider their verdict, but suddenly the White Rabbit came forward with some new evidence. This new evidence was a letter allegedly written by the accused. This evidence seals his fate in the eyes of the Queen who began to give her infamous order to cut off his head. Alice immediately objects claiming it was irrelevant to the case.

The King had the rabbit read the letter out loud. The king finds meaning in this letter of meaningless because, as the Duchess said in chapter 9, there is always a moral or meaning as long as one can find it. After this, the Queen asked for the sentence first instead of the verdict since in her mind this was binding evidence that proved the Knave’s guilt. Alice again objected this nonsense. The Queen then ordered that her head be cut off.

Throughout these chapters, Carroll makes this trial appear to be all about ‘looks.’ He describes the King’s attire including the crown perched upon the King’s wig. The King attempts to make sure the court appears to follow due process and procedure. The White Rabbit blows a trumpet during the trial which makes the trial seem official. The King even puts the court on hold after Alice knocked off the jurors due to her relatively large size. The trial did not resume until Alice carefully put the jury back in their ‘proper’ places.

This leads me to conclude that Carroll is ridiculing our modern court system. He seem to be suggesting that our current system is helplessly flawed. He is right. Our juries are filled with idiots. Our system of justice is all about looks and appearances rather than a fair and just trial. We are a society that believes any tiny piece of hearsay or random tidbit is a valuable piece of evidence. Our opinions are swayed ever so easily and we give the death sentence all too often, just as the Queen does.

Our court system is horribly flawed just as Carroll described.


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