Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland may have been written in 1865, but it has made many impressions on modern Disney. Walt Disney first took inspiration from the classic in 1923, making it a black and white silent film. Since then, Alice in Wonderland has branched out all over Disney in many different ways, including the beloved 1951 film. So without further ado, here are my picks for the the best Mad Hatter quotes from “Alice in Wonderland!”
15 Best Mad Hatter Quotes
“No wonder you’re late. Why, this watch is exactly two days slow.”
No one can call the Mad Hatter boring. His dialogue in the 1951 animated Alice in Wonderland leaves both the young and the old howling. It isn’t easy to create humor that branches the generations but the Mad Hatter does it well. His ravings and witty comments are the perfect combination of wholesome adult jests and fun phrasing and a comical accent that appeals to children.
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Mad Hatter: “Have I gone mad?”
Alice: “I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.”
From the live action 2010 Alice in Wonderland adapted by Disney, the latter quote is often falsely attributed to the Mad Hatter when it was actually Alice’s words. It’s one of Carroll’s most iconic lines from his classic novel and is included in nearly every adaption of the book. The quote describes most characters in Alice in Wonderland well but it seems made for the Mad Hatter.
The Mad Hatter may have a few screws loose but he is no less likable for it.
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“Why is a raven like a writing desk?”
A riddle asked by the Mad Hatter to Alice…one he never gave the answer too. His absent mindedness causes him to be easily distracted. This and similar traits have caused many fans to theorize that he may have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) or BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder).
Carroll lived in a time when neurodivergences like ADHD were not well known but in our modern society allows us the liberty to see representation in characters like The Mad Hatter.
To this day I still wonder why exactly a raven is like a writing desk.
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Alice Kingsley: ”Sometimes I believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
The Mad Hatter: “That is an excellent practice.”
If you were to take any lesson from Alice in Wonderland, 2010 film or otherwise, the most important would be childlike awe. Wonderland is a place of, well, wonder.
Pure, unadulterated love and appreciation on the world around us is vital to being content. For most, one of the best ways to regain that childlike awe is to practice. Alice may be more grown up physically when she returns to wonderland but she is learning to allow herself to be a child again.
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“Yes, yes. And when you come to the end, stop.”
Some of the best Mad Hatter quotes show notes of common sense peak through his insanity. It’s an intriguing thought…what if the Mad Hatter isn’t so mad after all? What if he is just a man who is a little different?
What if he simply allows himself to be himself? What if, beneath the surface of silliness, he thinks just as well and knowingly as we do? Sometimes we see that side of him but he never puts it on display for too long.
“What’s the matter my dear, don’t you care for tea?”
Besides his zany personality, one of his main traits is how very British the Mad Hatter is. Most characters in Alice in Wonderland fixate or are associated with a notable aspect of British culture.
The Mad Hatter’s is tea. He and the March Hare in most every adaptation are often seen drinking tea, having a tea party, or at least talking about tea.
“Mustard! Yes, mu- mustard? Don’t let’s be silly! Lemon, that’s different…”
One of the Mad Hatter’s many unexplained idiosyncrasies is his absolute loathing of mustard. He hates it so much, apparently, that it causes a physical reaction that shocks Alice and makes the March Hare duck for cover. Some parts such as this may cause the viewer to wonder why the Mad Hatter acts the way he does.
But it is rather in the name…he’s mad. Or rather, he allows himself to feel how he feels and react to those feelings. If more people were to do so-maybe not to such extremes-getting to know people would be much easier.
“You used to be much more…‘muchier.’ You’ve lost your muchness.”
At first glance, this quote makes little to no sense. However, when we look at the context of the 2010 Alice in Wonderland, where Alice has returned to Wonderland as a teenager, encountering the Mad Hatter once again, the message becomes clearer.
When Alice was a child, it was easier for her to be bold and be herself. As a teenager, Alice has societal standards and a reserved nature holding her back. The Mad Hatter’s loose tongue and unguarded actions show Alice that it is alright to be a little bit off every now and again.
“You could at least make polite conversation!”
Another example of the Mad Hatter’s British roots. But his definition of “polite conversation” never quite aligns with other’s. Alice is a young girl, raised well and taught proper etiquette, and is attempting to leave the tea party without any riot.
The Mad Hatter when faced with rationality translates it into the exact opposite. It’s endearing, to a point. Alice acts as she expects others expect her to act. Yet silly rules like that do not apply to Wonderland and certainly not to the Mad Hatter.
“What is the hatter with me?”
Moving on from the well executed pun here, a fun fact is that the term “mad as a hatter” was not just some quirky term Carroll or Disney made up. No, it was an actual phrase. There was a myth that all hat makers were mad…and it wasn’t entirely incorrect.
Unknown at the time, most felts used in the 1800’s contained mercury and exposure over time could lead to mercury poisoning. This could cause an irrational state of sanity. And thus the Mad Hatter was born.
“Clean cup, clean cup! Move down!”
We may never fully comprehend the workings of an unbirthday tea party. The animated film shows that apparently the Mad Hatter and March Hare play a strange game of musical chairs as they finish their cups of tea.
As you should have surmised by now, it’s simply best not to question these peculiarities. Questioning the Mad Hatter is needless, and quite frankly, uncalled for. The man is having fun…best to let him be.
“I’ve been considering words that start with the letter M. Moron. Mutiny. Murder. M-malice.”
Or Mad Hatter. That starts with an M. Johnny Depp’s performance in the 2010 Alice in Wonderland was such a hit with audiences that Disney made a sequel to it. The Mad HAtter says this particular line in defiance of the Red Queen, stalling for time and refusing to betray Alice.
He uses his well known weirdness as a guise to protect his friends. Because of his “madness,” the Red Queen underestimates him, a common thing to people who go against the grain in the real world.
“This is an unbirthday party!”
A very merry unbirthday to you (unless, of course, it is your actual birthday, in which case, happy birthday)! The Mad Hatter and his friend the March Hare are well known for celebrating their own and other’s so-called “unbirthday,” a term referring to any other day besides a person’s birthday.
Unbirthdays are technically an unofficial observance because of the popularity of Alice in Wonderland. It’s not a bad idea, when you think about it. A reminder to celebrate every day and make it special.
On the subject of “unbirthdays,” Disney published a book under that title that I would highly recommend if you love adventures that include lovably cooky characters like The Mad Hatter.
“The absolute best way to travel is by hat.”
Personally, I have never traveled by hat and there is sadly little documented on the mode of transportation. What research I have done, however, tells me that this is most likely impossible. But that is only in our world. In Wonderland, laws of physics rarely apply. The Mad Hatter may be right…if you have had the pleasure to travel by hat, do let me know.
“There is a place. Like no place on Earth. A land full of wonder, mystery, and danger! Some say to survive it: You need to be as mad as a hatter. Which luckily I am.”
Encapsulating both The Mad Hatter and Wonderland together and painting both as mysterious wonders, this has to be one of the best Mad Hatter quotes. Saving the best for last, as ever.
Wonderland is every child’s dream; a place to escape and be in constant awe of the whimsical world. But if the Mad Hatter teaches anything, it is that things are not always what they see, People and places, just like everything in this world, have layers, a mix of good and bad and spaces in between. Wonderland and The Mad Hatter reminds us all, young and old, to stay vigilant but also stay wonderful.
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This article was written by Kathryn and edited by Michael.