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In this classroom, in this school, I AM GOD!!!
~ Principal Trunchbull's most famous quote.

Agatha Trunchbull, more commonly known as Ms. Trunchbull or simply the Trunchbull, is the main antagonist of the novel, film, and musical versions of the critically acclaimed Matilda. She is the former headmistress of Crunchem Hall Elementary School, Miss Honey's aunt, and Matilda's arch-nemesis. She is also the step-sister of Miss Honey's deceased mother Mrs. Honey and is is the step-sister-in-law of Miss Honey's deceased dather Dr. Honey, Mrs. Honey's husband.

She was portrayed by Pam Ferris in the 1996 film adaptation.

History

Principal Trunchbuall

The Trunchbull, as she appears in the novel.

Her full name is Agatha Trunchbull, she is 48 years old, 5'7" (170 cm) in height, and about 195 lbs (88 kg) in weight, black hair and bluish-green eyes. She harbours an intense hatred of and total distrust of all children and thought nothing of literally hurling them vast distances and confining those who dared to oppose her into a medieval torture-device that resembles an iron maiden called the Chokey.

Her tortures were so extreme that they could easily have been fatal (though the only person she's confirmed to have killed is her step-brother-in-law, Magnus (also her step-sister's husband), and every child in the book and film she punished survived.) In the novel, Matilda Wormwood believed that the reason why her tortures and punishments were so extreme was in order to make the stories about how she punished the childrens absolutely impossible to believe for a reasonable person; that way, nobody (except whoever that saw the Trunchbull executing her punishments) would do anyhting to stop her, for the simple reason that they would think those stories were simply a product of the children's uncontrolled imagination. She also berates, torments, and orders around a selfless, innocent teacher named Ms. Jennifer "Jenny" Honey who is in fact, her niece. The trunchbull raised Miss Honey, and broken her arm at some point.

The Trunchbull then sent everyone to the assembly room, and called up a boy named Bruce Bogtrotter. She told him that he was a vicious sneak-thief by eating her favorite snack, chocolate cake. As punishment, she made Bruce consume an enormous chocolate cake in front of the whole school afterwards. After Bruce ate the entire cake, the Trunchbull was furious that he won and she punished all of the students by making them stay for five hours after school and copy from the dictionary afterwards.

In the film, she even put Matilda in the Chokey, thinking she was responsible for her father's lowlife business. Thankfully, Miss Honey saved Matilda from the horrid iron maiden.

The Trunchbull attempted to drive to the Olympics, but the car ran out of gas, much to the villainous and argumentative headmistress's fury and anger. When she enters the house, she goes on a rampage, trying to find Matilda and Miss Honey. Luckily, Matilda and Miss Honey got away from the woman's house, greatly infuriating her.

Thankfully, the Trunchbull was toppled by Matilda's quick thinking and magical powers, who tricked her into believing she was being haunted by the ghost of her brother-in-law (who, it is implied, may have been murdered by the Trunchbull in order to inherit his estate) - upon being convinced of this haunting, she fled in terror.

She showed up at school to teach the children a lesson about who was responsible for intruding in her property. Matilda, now fed up with her torturing, abuse, and cruelty, used her power to use a chalk, creating a message from her deceased brother-in-law, which frightened the Trunchbull. Then, Matilda sent two chalk erasers to assault her, knocking her to the floor. When she came to, she threw a boy out the window for no good reason, but Matilda's magic power sent him flying back at her, causing the Trunchbull to crash onto a globe.

And then, Matilda made the globe spin around and around and the Trunchbull went flying off and landed on the floor unconscious. When she came to, she charged like a bull at Lavender, but she was saved by Matilda's power, and the Trunchbull crashed right through the door into the hallway. She was pelted by lunch food by all of the children in her school afterwards, as they were all fed up with being tortured and abused. The Trunchbull fled in her sputtering car, and she was never seen or heard from again after this.

In a scene from the book, she holds up a boy by his hair because it was too long, while in the film, she instead holds up a similar boy by his leg for not emptying his pockets fast enough. She is portrayed by Pam Ferris in the film adaptation.

In the musical, she is more menacing, vituperative, obnoxious, and cruel over the kids and her niece. At the school, when she said that she would make more Chokeys for locking up all of the children, Matilda uses her magic power to write a message from Magnus's ghost on the board. Then, the Trunchbull is chased by a bunch of children who told her to run, and she runs away from the school. It is unknown what happened to her afterwards, but she possibly left the town, because any person of the town never heard something about her after this.

Musical Adaptation

In Dennis Kelly's musical adaptation of the book, the Trunchbull sings two songs: The Hammer and The Smell of Rebellion. Some of the themes are different in the musical from that of the film and the book, such as the theme of rebellion and conformity. Because of this, the Trunchbull is portrayed more as an delusional formalist than an adult bully. In her first song, The Hammer, she expressed her inner thoughts about how the world should be run, and likens it to hammer throwing. In this song, she explains how the only way to be successful in life is to obey the rules and the only way to inspire people to be better is to force them to follow the rules. Empathy and kindness are very poor tools for achieving this goal, according to her. In The Smell of Rebellion, she punishes the children through physical education and makes clear her distaste for rebellion, which leads to a decline in the morals of society.

Evil deeds

Murdered her brother-in-law Magnus to inherit his house (and not even take very good care of the house).

Broken Miss Honey's arm at some point.

Made Miss Honey poor by paying her cheaply.

Verbally abused students and even swore in front of them.

Swung Amanda Thripp around by her hair and tried to impale her on a fence by throwing her towards it. (Amanda missed the fence and landed in a flower bed.)

Locked countless kids including Matilda in the Chokey.

Kicked a cat like a football.

Threw a kid out a window for eating in class.

Forced Bruce Bogtrotter to eat a third of his own body weight in chocolate cake for stealing her cake. But when he succeeded, she smashed the plate that had the cake onto Bruce's head and knocked him out and cursed him.

Personality

Two of the most central aspects of the Trunchbull's personality are scorn for children and deviants, and cruelty towards the people that she believes are less than herself. In addition, as stated by David Leonard, that she is a deeply jealous and competitive individual.

She is very impatient, quarrelsome, cantankerous, argumentative, belligerent, and unwilling to accept defeat in most circumstances..

She is very attached to her success as an Olympic athlete for Great Britain and she considers herself to be an idol for other people to follow. She is also very bitter, aggressive, self-confident, and assertive, exhibiting her dominance around the school

Later in the book and movie, it was confirmed (or heavily implied) that the Trunchbull killed her own brother-in-law to steal his house and money after he broke a contract involving large sums of money. She spared her niece, but psychologically and physically abused her. This shows her avarice that may not be apparent at first glance. It is also likely that she harbored intense jealousy as to Magnus's material success, which was fueled more vigorously by her vituperative nature. She also keeps of secret of being very superstitious and naive, which is a weakness that became exploited by Matilda.

In the musical, it is very clear that she has an acutely guilty conscience after killing Magnus and stealing his possessions. She is constantly trying to make herself think that she's a "winner" and most everyone else is a "loser." She surrounds herself with her trophies and reminds herself that, regardless of her emotions or the emotions of others, following the procedures of life is the only way to success. At the same time, the Trunchbull believes herself to be an extremely magnanimous and benevolent person, claiming that she is the "Spirit of All That Is Right", while at the same time accusing Matilda of being the "Axis of Evil".

Quotes

Single Quotes

Your mommy... is a TWIT!
~ Miss Trunchbull to Amanda
You wanted cake, you got cake. NOW EAT IT!!!
~ Agatha to Bruce Bogtrotter
Hop, two, hippity hop. The entire school will go to the assembly room, immediately. (Later) SIT!
~ Miss Trunchbull
Silence! Stop. Silence! (Later, she hits a plate full of Chocolate crumbs on Bruce Bogtrotter)
~ Miss Trunchbull, getting furious at the students who were rooting for Bruce Bogtrotter.
I cannot for the life of me understand why small children take so long to grow up. Think they do it deliberately just to annoy me.
~ Miss Trunchbull, complaining about children.
Ah, fresh meat.
~ Ms. Trunchbull, meeting Matilda for the first time.
They're all mistakes, children. Filthy, nasty things. Glad I never was one.
~ Ms. Trunchbull to Harry Wormwood.
Why are all these women married? Mrs D, Mrs I? You are supposed to be teaching spelling, not poetry!
~ Ms. Trunchbull to Miss Honey
WORMWOOD!!! You useless used-car salesman scum! I want you around here now, WITH ANOTHER CAR! Yes, I know what "Caveat Emptor" means, you lowlife liar! I'm gonna sue you! I'm gonna burn down your showroom! I'm gonna take that no good jalopy you sold me and SHOVE IT UP YOUR BAZOOGA! When I'm finished with you, you're gonna look like roadkill! You what?!
~ Agatha Trunchbull threatening Harry Wormwood.
Much too good for children.
~ Miss Trunchbull before eating a chocolate.
Shut up. The entire assembly will stay five hours after school and copy from the dictionary. Any children who object... will go straight to the chokey TOGETHER!
~ Agatha Trunchbull after her defeat from Bruce Bogtrotter's cake-eating confection
Ah! I knew it! You can't handle the little viper, so you want to foist her off to one of the other teachers! Typical slothful cowardice! Listen to me, Jen, the distance the shot-put goes depends upon the effort you put into it: PERSPIRATION! If you can't handle the little brat, I'll lock her in the chokey! (Hurls a shot at the chokey) Get it?
~ The Trunchbull upon finding out Matilda Wormwood is a smart girl.
How dare you. You are not fit to be at this school, madam. You ought to be in prison! In the deepest, dankest, darkest prison! I shall have you wheeled out, strapped to a trolley with a muzzle over your mouth! I shall crush you. I shall pound you. I shall dissect you! I shall strap you to a table and preform experiments on you! I shall feed you to the termites, and then I shall smash the termites into tiny fragments, and then I shall grind those tiny fragments into dust, and then I shall take that dust and feed it to the bloodworms, and the bloodworms I shall feed to birds, and the birds I shall release into the air and shoot them down with my twelve-ball shotgun, and so on and so on! Ad infinitum, madam! Ad infinitum! Your father is a crook and so are you. Last night I was driving in that monstrosity he sold me and the engine fell out. What can you say to that? You can say nothing and there is nothing you can say, because you are genetically predisposed to evil and you must be destroyed before you can grow one centimeter taller than you currently are, do you hear!? Vomit! Puke! Shot-stain, are you listening!? All of these disgusting little slugs shall suffer the most appalling indignities because of you, yes you! I shall rip the rebellion out of this class and devour it whole. I shall hang each and every one of you by your ankles until all of your bodily liquids come out through your noses and into jars! Yes jars! Which I shall then send to your parents with your school reports upon which I shall write: "Could Do Better!" Ms. Honey has allowed her weakness and filth to permeate through this miserable collection of excuses for children, and you, madam, standing there before me like the squit of squits are its beating heart! You are the axis of evil! You are the nexus of necrosis! You are a rotting lump of pure wrong! You are the dark heart of all that is unholy in this land! A black hole of wrongheadedness from which no light, no strength, no discipline can escape! But I am a match for you, madam! In me, you have meet the avenger! The spirit of all that is right! And I tell you there is nothing I shall not do, no length I shall not go, no punishment I shall not inflict, no ear I shall not stretch, no finger I shall not snap back to defeat you! Yes! I defeat you in exaltation, do you hear? Are you listening? Are you listening, madam!?
~ Trunchbull, reacting to Matilda calling her a "big fat bully"

 

Life’s a ball, so learn to throw it! Find the bally line and toe it, And always keep your feet inside the line!
~ Trunchbull, from The Hammer



Dialogue

Use the rod, beat the child, that's my motto!
Terrific motto!
~ Ms. Trunchbull & Harry Wormwood
"I am here to teach you all a lesson. Sometimes in life, horrible and unexplainable things happen. These things are a test of character. And I have character. Form a line across the room, quickly! Run, run, run — don’t keep me waiting! Fill this gap! (calms down a little) I expect you’re wondering what I’m talking about. Yes. A child came to my house. I don’t know how, I don’t know when, I don’t know why."
"Miss Trunchbull, may I-?"
"No, you may not." (turns back to the students) "But I know a child came. So did you know it was illegal to enter someone’s home without their permission?"
~ Ms.Trunchbull and Miss Honey.

Gallery

Book

Film

Videos

Trivia

  • The Trunchbull's villainy is reminiscent of Coco LaBouche from Rugrats in Paris: The Movie, because she despises children and mistreated Kira and the Rugrats in the same manner.