The fairytale of Cinderella has come to have many different versions of the tale, each offering a different look on the values and ideology of feminism. Throughout the four different versions of this story the characteristics of Cinderella change, whether it be her beauty, intelligence, independence or the class she lives in. The four versions of Cinderella that will be discussed and evaluated are; the traditional French, German, and Russian versions and also the newer more westernized version, Ever After.
Many people would portray Cinderella as being nothing more as beautiful woman, and in two of the four stories this is true. Beauty is made out to be Cinderella’s greatest aspect in the French and German versions of the fairytale, this can be seen through the fact that, in these versions, the only reason that the prince falls in love with her is because she looks beautiful. Within both these versions, Cinderella is also portrayed as a person who is good in heart, evidence of this can be seen throughout the texts as Cinderella puts up with her family and, even though they treat her with disrespect, she continues to obey them.Considering these two aspects of Cinderella it is evident that Cinderella has goodness within her, but the way that the story is written and how the events unfold it can be seen that her beauty plays a more dominant role than her goodness.
It is arguable to say that beauty also plays the significant aspect in Cinderella’s character in the Russian version, but upon further inspection of this text it can be seen that the Russian Cinderella’s main aspect is her goodness.The reason for this is that the Russian Cinderella is not said to be beautiful in the beginning of the text but rather when she helps the old devi, through her goodness, and thus is repaid with beauty. Although the reason that the King in the story falls in love with Cinderella because of her appearance, she would not look beautiful if it wasn’t for her goodness. The other text, Ever After, portrays a different view on the role of beauty.
The movies states that beauty is not everything and shows this with the character Danielle and her two stepsisters Marguerite and Jacqueline.Even though Marguerite is the most beautiful she ends up with nothing because of her arrogance and selfishness, whilst her sister and Danielle end up living happily ever after because they showed goodness and, Danielle, showed intelligence. Another one of Cinderella’s aspects that play an important role in the stories is her intelligence. Although this aspect is not so common in the three traditional stories, it can be clearly seen in the newer film version, Ever After.
This shows that back when the traditional stories were set it was uncommon for a women to show signs of intelligence, this enforces the ideology that women were to stay at home. This contrasts with the Ever After version of the story. We can see from the Ever After version that the ideology for women has changed and that an intelligent women is respected. The monastery scene from Ever After challenges the traditional ideology even further when it shows that women can also play significant roles in society.
The three other versions of Cinderella do not specify that intelligence is an important aspect in a woman but rather that if she looks beautiful and is good in heart, her dreams will come true, this can be seen as a senile belief because it basically says that a girl does not need to be intelligent, but as long as girl looks pretty and is polite that she will live happily ever after. So as the texts are evaluated it can be seen that the ideology of a woman’s role in society have changed.In the earlier more traditional versions of the story, it was made out that women did not need to worry about being intelligent and that they only needed to look beautiful and be good in heart, whilst in the newer version, it can be seen that a woman’s intelligence can be valued above her beauty. Independence through the character Cinderella can be seen mainly through the newer version of the story, Ever After, but the older and more traditional versions still show Cinderella to have some independence.
Ever After portrays the Cinderella character, Danielle, as an independent and intelligent woman.Throughout the movie there are countless scenes which show Danielle to be an exceedingly independent woman and even where she takes control of the situation resulting in a role reversal. Role reversal can be seen most clearly in the scene were Danielle and the Prince, Henry, are ambushed by gypsies, traditionally it would be the Henry that saves them but in this case it was Danielle that saved the Henry. She did this buy using her intelligence to outsmart the gypsy, who said that she could walk away with whatever she could carry.
Instead of Danielle taking her dress, which she had taken off to climb a tree, she chose to take Henry, and so she picked up Henry and thus impressed the gypsy leader with her intelligence, leading her to safety. Another prime example of Danielle’s Independence is when she attacks Henry for stealing a horse. This scene shows that Danielle will stand in the way of someone that opposes her, this can also be seen later on in the movie when she stands up for the maids husband whom is about to be sent away for not being able to pay a debt.Danielle’s behavior challenges the ideology that men are the more dominate sex; this can be enforced with the role reversal.
Whilst Ever After enforces this move in ideology, the other three Cinderella stories fail to contribute. The more traditional versions of Cinderella only show small sign of independence, and only when she stands for herself and decides to break her stepmothers’ wishes in order to help herself achieve a better life. When the traditional versions are compared with the more recent Ever After, is safe to say that Danielle has broken away from the previous Cinderella’s and has become much more independent.The final aspect that will be discussed is Cinderella’s class and how she can be viewed and portrayed as an agent of social change.
This aspect can only really been seen through the Ever After version, although in the more traditional versions it can still be said that Cinderella broke through the class structure when she married the prince. Even though that Cinderella married upwards in the social structure of society, not much can be said about her being an agent of social change, because upon inspection of the texts it can be seen that she does not help anyone else but only herself.The newer more recent version, Ever After, on the other hand shows Cinderella in a different view. During the movie she is portrayed as an agent of social change.
Even though she married upwards in the class structure like in the other Cinderella’s, she is the only one who actually helped the people. This can be shown and proved in a number of different scenes including the scene were she stood up for the maids husband. Not only does this show that she is strong and independent but also that she fight for a change in the social structure of her society.Whilst standing up for the man she convinces Prince Henry that what is happening is wrong, this also shows that she is intelligent, and thus not only saves the man but also leaves the Prince thinking that something must be done about the current social structure.
This is not the only impact that Danielle has on the Prince, later on in the text she influences him to build a place were anyone, no matter the class, can come to study. Danielle and Henry further cross the barriers of class when they sit and eat with the gypsies; this shows that the Prince is changing and that he is having second thoughts about the current class structure.These actions strongly challenge the ideology that people must stay in their class structures, and instead help start the ideology that everyone is equal. Overall there are many aspects that change throughout the Cinderella stories.
Across the four different versions and the four different Cinderella characters it can be established that the characters from the more traditional versions of the fairytale are more like one another whilst the character Danielle is very different from them, whether it be beauty, intelligence and independence. Danielle can also be portrayed as an agent of social change, whereas the other Cinderella’s cannot.