Source Material of Cinderella

22nd July, 2011 - Posted by DisAnim - Comments Off on Source Material of Cinderella

Disney Cinderella

Cinderella’s roots come from a fairytale, of course. You probably knew this, but you might not have known how deep and far-reaching those roots actually are. Cinderella-type stories have appeared in ancient Egypt and Greece (perhaps the Disney version is nodding to that by the inclusion of the book by Plato and Homer that the king knocks over). And versions still exist in a myriad of cultures, including one in China (which is surprisingly similar to the one that we know in western civilization). The one that most people are familiar with is the one that Charles Perrault popularized in 1697. This is also the one that the Disney version draws most heavily on. Probably the next most well-known version is that of the Brothers Grimm.

Interestingly, in the Perrault version Cinderella’s father doesn’t actually die, but he is more or less controlled by his wife (the stepmother), so he doesn’t offer Cinderella any relief. Perrault’s version introduced different aspects such as the fairy godmother and the pumpkin. Perrault’s fairy godmother seemed to prefer working with lizards more than Disney’s mice, however. Cinderella actually spends two nights with the Prince. The first night, she remembers to leave with plenty of time before midnight, but it is the second night that she loses track of time. And at the end, when the stepsisters realize that Cinderella really was the beautiful woman at the ball, they beg forgiveness and end up marrying two noblemen after Cinderella allowed them to live in the palace.

In the Grimm version, Cinderella’s mother is a more prominent figure (though she still dies at the beginning… and again, the father does not die). The basic premise of the story is the same with Cinderella being treated cruelly, visiting the ball miraculously, and fitting into the lost slipper. In the end, the stepmother tells one of her daughters to cut off her toe in order to fit in the slipper and the other to cut off her heel in order to fit. In both cases they actually fool the prince before little birdies (literally) advise him of the blood soaking the slippers. The birds later peck their eyes out.

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Posted on: July 22, 2011

Filed under: 12 - Cinderella, Source

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