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.
The king of Dor is the Princess Pea’s father and Queen Rosemary’s husband. Though he’s nearsighted and not the most intelligent ruler, his greatest quality is that he loves with all his heart. However, this leads to some interesting consequences when the king experiences loss. Being a king, he can make whatever ridiculous rules he wants—so after the queen dies while eating soup, King Phillip outlaws soup and all soup-making and soup-eating implements, as well as rats (the rat Chiaroscuro fell in the queen’s soup, frightening her to death). The narrator notes that this does practically nothing except make life difficult for people who once relied on soup for nourishment, but it allows the king to show his love for the queen. Later, when the Pea vanishes, the king refuses to listen to Despereaux when Despereaux attempts to share where she went. The King, like Lester Tilling, has a very specific idea of how things should go—and he’s unwilling to associate with any rodents, let alone listen to one. So while the king is irrational and sometimes wields his power in strange ways, he remains motivated by love and grief first and foremost.

King Phillip Quotes in The Tale of Despereaux

The The Tale of Despereaux quotes below are all either spoken by King Phillip or refer to King Phillip. 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 7 Quotes

Do not speak to her!” thundered the king.

Despereaux dropped his handkerchief. He backed away from the king.

“Rodents do not speak to princesses. We will not have this becoming a topsy-turvy, wrong-headed world. There are rules. Scat. Get lost, before my common sense returns and I have you killed.”

Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

“Did you break them?”

“Yes, sir,” said Despereaux. He raised his voice. “But…I broke the rules for good reasons. Because of music. And because of love.”

“Love!” said the Head Mouse.

“Oh cripes,” said Furlough. “Here we go.”

“I love her, sir,” said Despereaux.

“We are not here to talk about love. This trial is not about love. This trial is about you being a mouse,” shouted the Most Very Honored Head Mouse from high atop the bricks, “and not acting like one!!!”

Page Number: 54
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 23 Quotes

But, reader, we must not forget that King Phillip loved the queen and that without her, he was lost. This is the danger of loving: No matter how powerful you are, no matter how many kingdoms you rule, you cannot stop those you love from dying. Making soup illegal, outlawing rats, these things soothed the poor king’s heart. And so we must forgive him.

Related Symbols: Soup
Page Number: 119
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 26 Quotes

Looking at the royal family had awakened some deep and slumbering need in her; it was if a small candle had been lit in her interior, sparked to life by the brilliance of the king and the queen and the princess.

For the first time in her life, reader, Mig hoped.

And hope is like love…a ridiculous, wonderful, powerful thing.

Mig tried to name this strange emotion; she put a hand up to touch one of her aching ears, and she realized that the feeling she was experiencing, the hope blooming inside of her, felt exactly the opposite of a good clout.

Related Symbols: Light and Dark
Page Number: 134
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 32 Quotes

“Most foolish,” muttered Gregory as he lifted the cover off the plate, “too foolish to be borne, a world without soup.”

Related Characters: Gregory (speaker), Miggery Sow “Mig”, King Phillip, Queen Rosemary, Uncle
Related Symbols: Soup
Page Number: 163
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 41 Quotes

He put a nervous paw up to his neck and pulled at the red thread, and suddenly his dream came flooding back to him…the dark and the light and the knight swinging his sword and the terrible moment when he had realized that the suit of armor was empty.

And then, reader, as he stood before the king, a wonderful, amazing thought occurred to the mouse. What if the suit of armor had been empty for a reason? What if it had been empty because it was waiting?

For him.

Page Number: 214-15
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Tale of Despereaux LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Tale of Despereaux PDF

King Phillip Character Timeline in The Tale of Despereaux

The timeline below shows where the character King Phillip appears in The Tale of Despereaux. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Conformity Theme Icon
...library many times. He also finally discovers what the “honey-sweet sound” is: music, and specifically, King Phillip playing his guitar and singing to the Princess Pea every night. Despereaux hides in a... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Conformity Theme Icon
...to make Despereaux feel better, but Phillip suggests it’d upset the world order if a king played music for a bug. Finally, he agrees to play. Despereaux forgets his fear and... (full context)
Chapter 5
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...sweet, just as Furlough scurries past the princess’s room. He sees Despereaux sitting at the king’s feet and the princess touching Despereaux’s head. Furlough scurries away to tell their father, Lester... (full context)
Chapter 7
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Conformity Theme Icon
...of Despereaux’s behavior. While the mouse council drumbeat sounds through the castle walls and as King Phillip continues to play and sing, the Princess Pea reaches out and gently picks Despereaux up.... (full context)
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Conformity Theme Icon
...music, the Princess Pea announces that she’s going to keep Despereaux as a friend. The king, however, says that Despereaux is a rodent and tells his daughter to put “it” down.... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Conformity Theme Icon
...speak to his daughter, as rodents don’t speak to princesses in a normal world. The king stomps his foot and, terrified, Despereaux races for the hole in the wall. Before he... (full context)
Chapter 8
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Conformity Theme Icon
...Head Mouse—gather at the sound of Lester’s drum. They meet in a hole off of King Phillip ’s throne room, and they sit around a makeshift table and listen to Lester detail... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Conformity Theme Icon
...Despereaux sat at King Phillip’s feet. Despereaux admits he did—but he was listening to the king playing and singing. The Head Mouse shakes his head and says Despereaux’s reasoning doesn’t matter.... (full context)
Chapter 15
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...understand, so Gregory says this is evidence of how painful it is to love: the king loved the queen and she died, and this pile of stuff is the result. Gregory... (full context)
Chapter 19
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Roscuro wanders from room to room until he gets to the banquet hall, where King Phillip , Queen Rosemary, the Princess Pea, and some nobles are dining. Roscuro has never seen... (full context)
Chapter 21
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Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
The queen loves soup more than anything, aside from the Princess Pea and King Phillip . For this reason, Cook serves soup at every meal and goes to great lengths... (full context)
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Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...a rat in her soup. These are her last words—she falls over backwards, dead. The king’s men all try to save the queen as Roscuro, deciding it’s best to leave, starts... (full context)
Chapter 22
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...do, they heal “in a crooked and lopsided way.” This is what happens to Chiaroscuro. Taking the spoon and deciding to get revenge helps Roscuro put his heart back together, but... (full context)
Chapter 23
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...If the narrator might continue this exercise, because the queen died while eating soup, the king outlaws soup, soup spoons, bowls, and kettles. All soup-making implements are then piled in the... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...a person who wants to kill a rat must first find one. So, when the king’s men bravely go into the dungeon, they find no rats, and many get lost and... (full context)
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...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 go upstairs. Roscuro’s job,... (full context)
Chapter 26
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...setting behind Mig. Soon, the glittering thing gets close enough, and Mig sees that it’s King Phillip , Queen Rosemary, and little Princess Pea. They’re surrounded by knights and horses, all in... (full context)
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Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
The Princess Pea asks King Phillip why Mig isn’t waving—Pea is a princess, and Mig should wave back. Mig, though, continues... (full context)
Chapter 27
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...describes the “human stars” that were “glittering and glowing.” Mig shouts about the princess, the king, and the queen, and she says shyly that she’d like to be a princess. Uncle... (full context)
Chapter 28
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...a roundabout way, Mig gets her first wish when King Phillip outlaws soup. When the king’s soldier knocks on Uncle’s door one day and announces that soup is now against the... (full context)
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Losing his temper, Uncle shouts that the king will want his only possessions, his sheep and his girl, next. When the soldier confirms... (full context)
Chapter 29
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...Mig—she can never keep track of her red thread. She then shows Mig what she’s making: a tapestry depicting her history. She points out King Phillip playing the guitar and the... (full context)
Chapter 30
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...horrible mistakes there too, such as scrubbing the floor with oil and sneezing on the king’s food right before it’s served. Cook finally becomes so exasperated with Mig that she shouts... (full context)
Chapter 38
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Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...to the dungeon, with Roscuro hiding in Mig’s pocket, the rest of the castle sleeps. King Phillip dreams that the queen is a bird who keeps calling his name, while Cook dreams... (full context)
Chapter 39
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Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...peeks around the pantry door to see Cook wringing her hands. Louise continues that the king’s men went to the dungeon looking for “her” and came back with Gregory’s body. Mig... (full context)
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Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...comfort her, and Despereaux knows what he must do: he has to speak to the king. He heard Roscuro’s plan and knows the Pea is in the dungeon. He’s also brighter... (full context)
Chapter 41
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Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...tears at his feet. The narrator notes that it’s terrifying when powerful people, like the king, are revealed to be weak and human. Despereaux is frightened, but he addresses the king... (full context)
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Despereaux tries again to get the king’s attention. He doesn’t know how to address a king, so he calls King Phillip “Most... (full context)
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At the mention of the rats, the king covers his ears, says that rats are illegal, and that they don’t exist in his... (full context)
Chapter 47
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...He’s on a quest to save the princess. Botticelli says everyone wants the princess; the king’s men were down here earlier and didn’t find her. Botticelli sarcastically says that Despereaux is... (full context)
Chapter 52
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...in this story. Before this story ends, the narrator asks the reader to imagine a king and a princess, a serving girl wearing a crown, and a rat wearing a spoon... (full context)