When examining adaptations of fairytales you must look at the original source. This can be a very difficult task because with fairytales we never really know where the original came from. I will base my paper on the theory that the original tale of Cinderella comes from the Grimm Brothers version of Ashputtle. In comparison we will examine two movies. First there is the Disney version Cinderella. Secondly we will look at the movie “Ever After”. Characterization is an important aspect of any story or film, because it sets what the entire film will be about, and how the audience will absorb it.
In the story of “Ashputtle”. The characters include Ashputtle = Cinderella, The Stepmother, and the stepdaughters, the prince, and who I think are two of the most important characters the father and the spirit of Ashputtle’s mother. The character of Cinderella is portrayed as a good little angel that always does what she is told. She is also very weak, because she doesn’t stand up to her family. The characters of the stepfamily are portrayed as evil and vindictive. They treat her rotten, and they make her sleep in the ashes. But in the end all of the parties get their just desert. The stepfamily gets what they deserve.
The mother was sent away, and the stepsisters who on her wedding day tried to integrate themselves with her, ended up being punished with blindness. The interesting thing about the character of the father was that in the story he remains alive whereas in the two films he dies, but in this one even though he is alive he still is very mean to Ashputtle, and treats her as a servant after her mother dies. In the first film “Ever After”, the characters include, Danielle Debbarberack= Cinderella, the stepmother, and stepsisters (both good and bad), the prince, king and queen, the evil servant who betrays the king and queen, and the father.
The character of Danielle was portrayed as a “modern” women of the 16th century, who is as independent as she was beautiful. But even with all her trials and tribulations she manages to fulfill all of her dreams. The prince is an important character in this film also. He plays the role of a spoiled prince, who does not desire the life or the marriage that he was destined for, and when he finds Danielle he falls in love, then rejects her and then ends up with her in the end. In the second film “Cinderella” by Disney, the characters include, Cinderella as herself, the king, and his servant, the prince, and the stepmother, and stepsisters.
Cinderella in this film is portrayed as a sweet and innocent child who years to be loved after her father passes on leaving her in the care of a very evil stepmother. The character of the prince was very different then in the first film. In the other film we find that the prince has feelings and emotions, whereas in this film, he is portrayed as a very dedicated man who falls in love and becomes obsessed. The odd thing about his character is that he is not seen very much in the film, it focuses more on Cinderella, and her family and her attempts to go to the “ball”.
Also it focuses on the fact that the king is forcing his son to marry. Viewpoint affects many different aspects of a story and film. When we look at the story we read it from the viewpoint of “Ashputtle”. This viewpoint in the story is Omniscient Narrator = which is “an objective, non-participating all-seeing mind”. In the story version the author plays the role of narrator, as he is the one telling the story. In the first film “Ever After” the point of view is told from the first person point of view. First person = describes a character who participates in the events of the story and tells it in an subjective fashion.
We see examples of this when we view the film, because when the characters that portray the “Grimm Brothers” come to the palace and then the great, great, great granddaughter of the real “Cinderella” tells the story. The second film (Disney’s version) is again told in the Omniscient Narrator, which turns into a First Person. In this film version we hear the story from an outside voice and then the characters take over. As far as the themes of the adaptations we see many of the same themes. Some of these themes include the struggle of growing up, and the hardships that come with following the rules and being the “good girl”.
In the story version I think that the main theme is that everyone gets their just desert. This is shown to be true when in the end the stepsisters are punished by having their eyes poked out and are forced to live the rest of their lives with blindness. In the first film I would also apply this same theme but also I would add the additional theme, that we should “Treat others as you would want to be treated” or the Golden Rule. For the second film I would keep all of the previous themes but I would also add “Believe in your dreams and you can have a happily ever after”.
This is seen when in the end Cinderella gets her man and “Lives Happily Ever After” When you examine the mood of the films compared to the mood of the story, we will also find many differences. In the films we see that the music choices used portray a feeling of happiness, feelings of guilt and feelings of relief. The music choices used were helpful in setting the tone and mood; it also proved beneficial to aiding the audience in feeling sympathy for some characters or disgust and hatred for others.
In the story we obviously can’t have music, but it does set a mood by the use of different phrases. For example in the story one such phrase, sets the feelings of the stepmother toward Ashputtle, and the tension between them becomes very obvious. “People who want to eat bread must earn it Get in the kitchen where you belong” In another example of this mood setting strategy we see how in just a few words we can get a picture of how the stepsister look and maybe get a little insight into their souls?
With his new wife were brought two stepdaughters Their faces were beautiful and lily white, but their hearts were ugly and black as coal” Some of the exact differences between the different versions include, the fact that in the story we see that after the mother dies the father is still alive but he stays alive throughout the story and does not love his daughter the same as the other two girls. Whereas in the Disney version the father dies and that is when the stepmother and the two stepdaughters start to treat (Cinderella/ashputtle) differently.
In the movie “Ever After” we see that the father also dies and again that is when the evilness in the family comes out. A few other differences that were discussed include the differences in the prince’s portrayal, in one version he was outgoing and honest, and in another he was very shy, and reserved but very dedicated. I found that all of the versions were interesting in their own manner and I wish that I could have discussed the hundred or so more tales from different areas of the world. If you enjoy fairytales then this is one that you will be sure and want to check out.