Though Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at its heart is a children story. There are many underlying themes that play out throughout the story. The major undertone that stood out to me the most was the use of political satire.
The final climatic scene in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland can be seen as a satire of the corrupt judicial system of Victorian England. The Queen in this scene represents the English authority and it’s propensity to jump to conclusions. “Sentence first — verdict afterwards.” This is a poignant moment for several reasons. The obvious being Alice’s sentence will be handed down with the semblance of a trial. The other important aspect is the forgone conclusion that a sentence will even be necessary. The presumption of guilt on the part of the queen is unequivocal and she sees it as the right course of action.
The other part of the satire is Alice’s immediate execution decree after she attempts to defend herself. This along with the Queens presumption of guilt is both a critiques of how the lower classes are treated in the court system. They are presumed guilty because of their social standing and punished even more severely for trying to defend themselves. Though I think this is a satire of the climate of the time I don’t necessarily believe it is a critique of it. Carroll seems to make no real attempt to condemn the behavior of the characters he depicting. Understanding Carroll’s background as a part of the very class he is satirizing comes to mind as a reason why.