The Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux

by

Kate DiCamillo

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Tale of Despereaux can help.

Botticelli Remorso Character Analysis

One of the novel’s main antagonists, Botticelli is an elderly rat who lives in the dungeon; he’s Roscuro’s best friend and mentor. He always carries a locket stolen from a prisoner, hung on a rope made of mouse whiskers. Botticelli tries very hard to get Roscuro to behave as rats should—he tries to convince Roscuro that Roscuro doesn’t care about light and beauty, and instead that Roscuro should focus on causing people pain, fear, and suffering. Hope and love, in Botticelli’s opinion, are only useful in that they sometimes give his mouse victims better flavor—mice who die hopeful and in love, he suggests, taste better. Ultimately, Botticelli is unsuccessful in getting Roscuro to be a proper rat, and he loses interest in eating Despereaux after witnessing “too much forgiveness,” which ruins a mouse’s flavor.

Botticelli Remorso Quotes in The Tale of Despereaux

The The Tale of Despereaux quotes below are all either spoken by Botticelli Remorso or refer to Botticelli Remorso. 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:
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
).
Chapter 17 Quotes

“A rat is a rat is a rat. End of story. World without end. Amen.”

“Yes,” said Roscuro. “Amen, I am a rat.” He closed his eyes. He saw, again, the red cloth spinning against the backdrop of gold.

And he told himself, reader, that it was the cloth that he desired and not the light.

Related Symbols: Light and Dark
Page Number: 92-93
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19 Quotes

And the little princess! How lovely she was! How much like light itself. Her gown was covered in sequins that winked and glimmered at the rat. And when she laughed, and she laughed often, everything around her seemed to glow brighter.

“Oh, really,” said Roscuro, “this is too extraordinary. This is too wonderful. I must tell Botticelli that he was wrong. Suffering is not the answer. Light is the answer.”

Related Symbols: Light and Dark
Page Number: 105
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 51 Quotes

And the smell of soup crashed through his soul like a great wave, bringing with it the memory of light, the chandelier, the music, the laughter, everything, all the things that were not, would never, could never be available to him as a rat.

Soup,” moaned Roscuro.

And he began to cry.

[…]

“Kill me,” said Roscuro. He fell down before Despereaux. “It will never work. All I wanted was some light. This is why I brought the princess here, really, just for some beauty…some light of my own.”

Related Symbols: Light and Dark, Soup
Page Number: 262-63
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Tale of Despereaux PDF

Botticelli Remorso Character Timeline in The Tale of Despereaux

The timeline below shows where the character Botticelli Remorso appears in The Tale of Despereaux. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 16
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Conformity Theme Icon
...think it’s what gives life its meaning. But when Roscuro tells his elderly rat friend Botticelli Remorso this, Botticelli says the meaning of life is suffering. He insists that making prisoners... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Conformity Theme Icon
Roscuro follows the swinging locket back and forth as Botticelli details how to torture a prisoner. First, a rat must befriend the prisoner, then get... (full context)
Conformity Theme Icon
Roscuro says he’d like to make someone suffer, and Botticelli says that when a new prisoner arrives, Roscuro will have his own prisoner. Then he’ll... (full context)
Chapter 17
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Conformity Theme Icon
Soon after, a new prisoner arrives in the dungeon. Roscuro and Botticelli watch him come in, and Roscuro vows to make this man suffer. However, as the... (full context)
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Conformity Theme Icon
When Roscuro continues to argue, Botticelli reminds him that mice live upstairs. He pulls out his locket, the rope of which... (full context)
Chapter 18
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Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Following Botticelli’s instructions, Roscuro goes to take the red cloth from the new prisoner. Roscuro slips through... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...and Roscuro’s parents would’ve sold him had the opportunity presented itself. And Roscuro has heard Botticelli’s stories of prisoners’ confessions—humans are capable of so much evil. The prisoner continues that the... (full context)
Chapter 23
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Conformity Theme Icon
...his spoon on his head. He creates a cape out of the prisoner’s tablecloth, and Botticelli sits beside him, asking if Roscuro has learned his lesson about what happens when rats... (full context)
Chapter 46
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...down the stairs, where it stops right in front of a rat’s paw. The rat, Botticelli Remorso, observes that this is red thread. This means one thing to rats. He puts... (full context)
Chapter 47
Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon
At the bottom, Botticelli steps out to meet Despereaux and says he’s been waiting for the mouse. Despereaux puts... (full context)
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Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Botticelli confirms that in order to save the princess, Despereaux must first find her. He asks... (full context)
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Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Readers should already know that Botticelli wants others to suffer, and he especially wants Despereaux to suffer. He plans to do... (full context)
Chapter 48
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Conformity Theme Icon
...death, it’s awful to have only a rat tail to hold. But Despereaux holds onto Botticelli’s tail, and soon, his eyes adjust to the dungeon’s dark. It’d be better if they... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...even worse. The dungeon’s rats form a “happy, hungry, vengeful parade” that follows Despereaux and Botticelli. The rats remark that they smell a mouse, soup, and blood. Botticelli tells the other... (full context)
Chapter 51
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...does, Despereaux puts the needle point to Roscuro’s heart and threatens to kill him. Amused, Botticelli howls with laughter—he loves when mice come to the dungeon and spice things up. The... (full context)
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Conformity Theme Icon
...light. He kidnapped the princess because he wanted some beauty and some light for himself. Botticelli shouts that Despereaux should kill Roscuro, who’s a “miserable excuse for a rat.” But the... (full context)
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Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The gathered rats say they still want to eat Despereaux, but Botticelli says the flavor is already ruined—there’s been too much forgiveness, and that’s disgusting. Roscuro asks... (full context)