The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth

by

Norton Juster

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Princess of Sweet Rhyme Character Analysis

Rhyme is a princess who, along with her sister Reason, has been imprisoned in the Castle in the Air for many years. Because of this, there’s no rhyme or reason in the Lands Beyond, and absurdity reigns instead. Rhyme looks exactly like her sister—they’re both blond and beautiful—but she’s more lighthearted and fun-loving. The old king found Rhyme and Reason abandoned at his grape arbor when the girls were infants and raised them as princesses. Together, the girls kept things balanced in the Lands Beyond and made up a sort of high court; they often weighed in on important decisions and offered fair and balanced rulings. Their older brothers, Azaz the Unabridged and the Mathemagician, imprisoned the girls when the girls ruled that words and numbers are equally important. When Milo arrives in the Castle in the Air to rescue the princesses, they impress upon him the importance of education and being sensible. People are always learning, and this is always a good thing, they suggest; it’s important to look at the world with a level head. With the princesses rescued, figurative rhyme and reason return to the Lands Beyond.

Princess of Sweet Rhyme Quotes in The Phantom Tollbooth

The The Phantom Tollbooth quotes below are all either spoken by Princess of Sweet Rhyme or refer to Princess of Sweet Rhyme. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bullseye Books edition of The Phantom Tollbooth published in 1988.
Chapter 6. Faintly Macabre’s Story Quotes

“‘Words and numbers are of equal value for, in the cloak of knowledge, one is warp and the other woof. It is no more important to count the sands than it is to name the stars. Therefore, let both kingdoms live in peace.’”

“Everyone was pleased with the verdict. Everyone, that is, but the brothers, who were beside themselves with anger.

“‘What good are these girls if they cannot settle an argument in someone’s favor?’ they growled, since both were more interested in their own advantage than in the truth.”

Related Characters: Faintly Macabre (speaker), Princess of Pure Reason (speaker), Princess of Sweet Rhyme (speaker), King Azaz the Unabridged (speaker), The Mathemagician (speaker), Milo, Tock
Related Symbols: The Castle in the Air
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12. The Silent Valley Quotes

“It doesn’t make me happy to hold back the sounds,” she began softly, “for if we listen to them carefully they can sometimes tell us things far better than words.”

“But if that is so,” asked Milo—and he had no doubt that it was—“shouldn’t you release them?”

“NEVER!” she cried. “They just use them to make horrible noises which are ugly to see and worse to hear. I leave all that to Dr. Dischord and that awful, awful DYNNE.”

“But some noises are good sounds, aren’t they?” he insisted.

“That may be true,” she replied stubbornly, “but if they won’t make the sounds that I like, they won’t make any.”

Page Number: 158
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13. Unfortunate Conclusions Quotes

“But it’s all my fault. For you can’t improve sound by having only silence. The problem is to use each at the proper time.”

Related Symbols: The Castle in the Air
Page Number: 163
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 16. A Very Dirty Bird Quotes

“I hope you found what you were looking for.”

“I’m afraid not,” admitted Milo. And then he added in a very discouraged tone, “Everything in Digitopolis is much too difficult for me.”

The Mathemagician nodded knowingly and stroked his chin several times. “You’ll find,” he remarked gently, “that the only thing you can do easily is be wrong, and that’s hardly worth the effort.”

Page Number: 198
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17. Unwelcoming Committee Quotes

“I’m the demon of insincerity,” he sobbed. I don’t mean what I say, I don’t mean what I do, and I don’t mean what I am. Most people who believe what I tell them go the wrong way, and stay there, but you and your awful telescope have spoiled everything. I’m going home.” And, crying hysterically, he stamped off in a huff.

“It certainly pays to have a good look at things,” observed Milo as he wrapped up the telescope with great care.

Related Symbols: Gifts
Page Number: 217
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18. Castle in the Air Quotes

“but we would have been here much sooner if I hadn’t made so many mistakes. I’m afraid it’s all my fault.”

“You must never feel badly about making mistakes,” explained Reason quietly, “as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons than you do by being right for the wrong reasons.”

Related Characters: Princess of Pure Reason (speaker), Milo (speaker), Princess of Sweet Rhyme
Related Symbols: The Castle in the Air
Page Number: 233
Explanation and Analysis:

“And it’s much the same thing with knowledge, for whenever you learn something new, the whole world becomes that much richer.”

“And remember also,” added the Princess of Sweet Rhyme, “that many places you would like to see and many things you want to know are just out of sight or a little beyond your reach. But someday you’ll reach them all, for what you learn today, for no reason at all, will help you discover all the wonderful secrets of tomorrow.”

“I think I understand,” Milo said, still full of questions and thoughts; “but which is the most important—”

Related Symbols: The Castle in the Air
Page Number: 234
Explanation and Analysis:

“But what about the Castle in the Air?” the bug objected, not very pleased with the arrangement.

“Let it drift away,” said Rhyme.

“And good riddance,” added Reason, for no matter how beautiful it seems, it’s still nothing but a prison.”

Page Number: 236
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19. The Return of Rhyme and Reason Quotes

“That’s why, said Azaz, “there was one very important thing about your quest that we couldn’t discuss until you returned.”

“I remember,” said Milo eagerly. “Tell me now.”

“It was impossible,” said the king, looking at the Mathemagician.

“Completely impossible,” said the Mathemagician, looking at the king.

“Do you mean—” stammered the bug, who suddenly felt a bit faint.

“Yes, indeed,” they repeated together; “but if we’d told you then, you might not have gone—and, as you’ve discovered, so many things are possible just as long as you don’t know they’re impossible.”

Related Characters: King Azaz the Unabridged (speaker), The Mathemagician (speaker), The Humbug (speaker), Milo (speaker), Princess of Sweet Rhyme, Princess of Pure Reason
Related Symbols: The Castle in the Air
Page Number: 247
Explanation and Analysis:
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Princess of Sweet Rhyme Character Timeline in The Phantom Tollbooth

The timeline below shows where the character Princess of Sweet Rhyme appears in The Phantom Tollbooth. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5. Short Shrift
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Boredom, Beauty, and Modern Life Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...to help her, but the Which says only one thing can help: the return of Rhyme and Reason. She says it’s a long story, but Tock says they’d love to hear... (full context)
Chapter 6. Faintly Macabre’s Story
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...abandoned under his grape arbor. He’d always wanted a daughter. The king named one baby Rhyme and the other Reason. Soon after, the king died. His sons took over the kingdom... (full context)
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
Azaz and the Mathemagician, Faintly Macabre says, would often call on Rhyme and Reason to settle their disputes. But as the years went on, the brothers’ animosity... (full context)
Chapter 8. The Humbug Volunteers
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
Milo, though, suggests that King Azaz let Rhyme and Reason return. King Azaz says that would be nice, but it’s impossible because it’d... (full context)
Chapter 10. A Colorful Symphony
Boredom, Beauty, and Modern Life Theme Icon
...to see, like Illusions, and hard to forget, like Reality, and Alec says it’s possible. Rhyme and Reason just have to come back. (full context)
Chapter 12. The Silent Valley
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Boredom, Beauty, and Modern Life Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...to listen. People stopped laughing and singing, which worried the Soundkeeper. This started happening when Rhyme and Reason were banished. (full context)
Chapter 13. Unfortunate Conclusions
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...you know that other sounds are pleasant. She muses that things would be better if Rhyme and Reason were here. (full context)
Chapter 16. A Very Dirty Bird
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...that are correct aren’t actually right. The Mathemagician sobs that it’s been like this since Rhyme and Reason were banished, which he shouts is all Azaz’s fault. The Mathemagician refuses to... (full context)
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
Tock asks for the Mathemagician’s permission to rescue Rhyme and Reason. When he hears that Azaz has already agreed to this, the Mathemagician refuses—he’ll... (full context)
Chapter 17. Unwelcoming Committee
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...Giant again tries to eat the travelers, Milo asks the giant to help them rescue Rhyme and Reason. The giant refuses; it’ll never work, and change is scary. He’s starting to... (full context)
Chapter 18. Castle in the Air
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...The two women are clearly the Princess of Pure Reason and the Princess of Sweet Rhyme. Milo says they’ve come to rescue the princesses. The princesses assure him that the demons... (full context)
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
...long as he learns from them. Milo sighs that there’s so much to learn, but Rhyme says that learning isn’t even the most important thing. Rather, what’s more important is knowing... (full context)
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...suggest they leave. Milo notes that time flies and Tock offers to carry everyone down. Rhyme and Reason climb onto Tock’s back, while Milo and the Humbug can hold onto his... (full context)
Chapter 19. The Return of Rhyme and Reason
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Boredom, Beauty, and Modern Life Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
Tock flies just past the demons and, with Rhyme and Reason still on his back, leads the way down the mountainside. The demons shriek.... (full context)
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...his words. Suddenly, just as the demons are ready to snatch Milo, Tock, the Humbug, Rhyme, and Reason, they suddenly stop. Up ahead are Wisdom’s armies. A trumpet sounds, and then... (full context)
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Boredom, Beauty, and Modern Life Theme Icon
...victorious army. Everyone cheers, and then, a man unrolls a huge scroll and announces that Rhyme and Reason will reign again in Wisdom. The scroll also designates Milo, Tock, and the... (full context)
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...sets up a telescope. There’s a banquet every evening, followed by songs and poems praising Rhyme, Reason, and their rescuers. King Azaz and the Mathemagician vow to take armies to the... (full context)
Chapter 20. Good-by and Hello
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Boredom, Beauty, and Modern Life Theme Icon
Sad, Milo curls up in his armchair. He thinks of Tock and the Humbug, Rhyme and Reason, and his other friends. But though he’s sad, he also notices how pretty... (full context)