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"Have some wine."

The March Hare is a character most famous for appearing in the tea party scene in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The main character, Alice, hypothesizes,

"The March Hare will be much the most interesting, and perhaps as this is May it won't be raving mad – at least not so mad as it was in March."

"Mad as a March hare" is a common British English phrase, both now and in Carroll's time, and appears in John Heywood's collection of proverbs published in 1546. It is reported in The Annotated Alice by Martin Gardner that this proverb is based on popular belief about hares' behaviour at the beginning of the long breeding season, which lasts from February to September in Britain. Early in the season, unreceptive females often use their forelegs to repel overenthusiastic males. It used to be incorrectly believed that these bouts were between males fighting for breeding supremacy.

Like the character's friend, the Hatter, the March Hare feels compelled to always behave as though it is tea-time because the Hatter supposedly "murdered the time" whilst singing for the Queen of Hearts. Sir John Tenniel's illustration also shows him with straw on his head, a common way to depict madness in Victorian times. The March Hare later appears at the trial for the Knave of Hearts, and as "Haigha" (which is pronounced to rhyme with "mayor", according to Carroll), the personal messenger to the White King in Through the Looking-Glass.

Interpretations

Alice in Verse

Main article: Alice in Verse: The Lost Rhymes of Wonderland

The major departure from Carroll's original here is that instead of appearing a jittery witness, the March Hare is cast as the Prosecutor. After the charge is read, the Hare addresses the court with an opening statement that more or less vindicates the accused, before turning his accusing eye upon the court itself for failing to serve tea with the evidence (the tarts).

Alice in the Country of Hearts

Main article: Alice in the Country of Hearts

In this Japanese manga, Alice in the Country of Hearts, the March Hare is Elliot March. Elliot is Blood Dupre (the Hatter)'s right-hand man. He is basically human with the exception of two brown rabbit ears. When called a rabbit, he often becomes insulted and rants about how his ears are 'just bigger than average'. He isn't specifically crazy or mad, but he is a bit violent in the beginning. He almost kills Alice with his long-barrelled gun before Blood stopped him. But, as the story progresses, it is shown that Elliot is a lovable, amusing character who is really very sweet.

Pandora Hearts

In this Japanese manga, Pandora Hearts, the March Hare is a "Chain" whose "Contractor" is Reim Lunettes. It has the ability to fake death which helps Reim escape his attackers and proved to be so realistic that his comrades believed he really was dead. The March Hare was said to be a "gentle Chain" which was not suited for battle, but very useful in its own ways. In a way, it contradicts all the varieties of the March Hare, as the Hare is shown to be mad or even insane.The character Reim himself is also similar to March Hare as his friend Break has the chain Mad hatter mirrors the friendship of the Hatter and the Hare's.

In popular culture

  • In Syfy's TV miniseries Alice, the March Hare is represented by the character Mad March.
  • The March Hare is featured as the primary antagonist in the Once Upon a Time story "Tea Party in March" in the graphic novel Once Upon a Time: Out of the Past.

Disney animated film

Main article: Alice in Wonderland (1951 film)

Disney's Alice in Wonderland, an animated film, depicted the March Hare at the tea party as being deliriously confused. He repeatedly offers Alice a cup of tea, but distractedly pulls the cup out of her reach or takes it from her hands just as she is about to drink. He was voiced by Jerry Colonna, after whom his appearance and personality were modelled. He was animated by Ward Kimball.

This version of the character was also a semi-regular on Bonkers and one of the guests in House of Mouse, often seen seated with the Mad Hatter. During these appearances, the March Hare was voiced by Maurice LaMarche.

The March Hare also appears in the "Mad T Party" in Disney's California Adventure park. He is based on the Thackery Earwicket interpretation, and plays bass guitar. He is often found hopping around with Mallymkun the Dormouse on stage.

Thackery Earwicket

Main articles: Alice in Wonderland (2010 film) and Alice Through the Looking Glass

The March Hare appears in the 2010 Disney film Alice in Wonderland and it's 2016 sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass, voiced by Paul Whitehouse. His full name is Thackery Earwicket; in the first film, he is only referred to as the March Hare, and in the second film, he is simply referred to as Thackery. The March Hare behaves as if constantly nerve-wracked and completely delirious. He is a cook, and the way he eccentrically throws dishes and pots suggests he is an amalgam of both the March Hare and the cook from Lewis Carroll's original book. The March Hare has a strong Scottish accent, while his friend the Mad Hatter switches into a Scottish accent as well whenever his emotions are strained. Burton stated that because Whitehouse is a great comedic actor, a lot of his lines came from improvisation. In the novelization of the first film, his fighting style is to pick up one enemy and throw him at another.

Games

Gallery

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