In Marl Attar’s An Introduction To Fairy Tales, the principle in her essay that I chose to analyze the story through Is “Fairy tales are up close and personal, telling us about he quest for romance and riches, for power and privilege, and, most important, for a way out of the woods back to the safety and security of home” (Attar 230). Some of the characters in Cinderella wanted romance, power, riches, or maybe even all three. Some were successful in their quests, and some were not.
I will analyze Cinderella in terms of how each of the characters go about gaining their own personal desires. First of all. I will start out with the quests the step-sisters went on for romance and riches. One instance of them on a quest for riches was at the end of the story when hey went to Cinderella wedding to get on her good side. The story states that they were there to “share her good fortune” (Grimm 245). However, because they were there only to become rich and not because they really cared about Cinderella, the pigeons gave them their karma.
They pecked their eyes out which blinded them, for being deceptive and wicked people. This Is a good example of a quest for riches because this a failed attempt to gain one of their desires. They tried to gain fortune but instead got what they truly deserved which was blindness. In addition to that, the step-sisters also made another quest to gain riches. Because they desperately wanted to be wed to the prince, they cut off parts of their feet to fit In the slipper. I found that this was not only an attempt to gain riches, but also romance.
Obviously if you marry a prince you are going to gain fortune. Throughout the story there are multiple times where you can tell that the step-sisters are basically “gold- diggers”. For example, at the beginning of the story you begin to see that they are very materialistic when they ask their father to bring them pearls, Jewels, and “beautiful dresses” (241). I think that supports my claim that this Is a quest for riches cause they are described as “vile and black of heart” (241 If someone Is really of that nature then there is no room for love in their lives.
With that being said, I can assume that the step-sisters only wanted to marry him for his fortune. Looking at this in another perspective, it is also a quest for romance. The step- the slipper. It is really astonishing that they literally went to the extent of enduring the pain of cutting off parts of their feet Just to get married. Perhaps they may not have done it for real love, and they may have only wanted to marry him for the wrong reasons… UT by giving them the benefit of the doubt this is definitely an example of a quest for romance.
Looking at it from a personal view, I would assume that if you go as far as chopping off body parts to marry someone, you must truly love and want to be with that person. In addition, the step-sisters cutting off parts of their feet in order to fit the slipper can also be seen as a quest for power. However, instead of it being the step-sisters’ quest, it is actually the stepmother’s. I mentioned earlier that “obviously when you marry a prince, you are going to gain fortune”, well that statement also applies to rower.
In addition to gaining fortune when you marry into royalty, you also get power. In the story the stepmother is very “power-hungry’ and controlling. In fact, she was even the one that had convinced the step-sisters to cut off parts of their feet in the first place. The stepmother handed one of them a knife and said “Cut the toe off; when thou art Queen thou wilt have no more need to go on foot” (244). You see, this is a quest for power because the stepmother controlled the step-sisters by making them chop off parts of their feet to fit the slipper.
She made the step-sisters o this so one of them could marry the prince, which would benefit her by becoming Queen, hence giving her more power. The stepmother also had another quest of power in the story, which was successfully having control over Cinderella. She controlled her physically, making her work hard from “morning till night” (241), and until she was completely drained. The stepmother also had control over whether or not Cinderella could go to the festival. She only agreed to let Cinderella go if she did tasks for her that were very tedious and that could not be finished in a set amount of time.
However, Cinderella proved her wrong and completed everything on time, but the stepmother still did not let her go regardless of the deal she made. This example supports my opinion that this is a quest for power because the stepmother had control over Cinderella actions. I believe that the stepmother was “power-hungry’ and felt superior to Cinderella especially since she turned her back on her and even said to her that “we would be ashamed of thee” (242). She knew without a doubt that she had complete power over Cinderella too.
In fact, she knew right then and there that when Cinderella begged ere to go, that no matter what, there was no way she would ever let Cinderella go to the festival. The stepmother made Cinderella do those tedious tasks not because she actually considered letting her go, but out of her own spite Just because she knew she had that much control over her, which is why it is an example of a quest of power. Unlike the step-sisters and stepmother, the Prince did not desire riches and power because he already had those; he was on a quest for romance.
He was extremely persistent trying to find Cinderella because each night she kept escaping from him. Hat got one of Cinderella slippers stuck on the staircase. The next day when he set out to find the girl whose foot fit the slipper, he arrived where Cinderella resided. Both of the step-sisters were caught falsely impersonating Cinderella, which made him demand that the last remaining daughter, Cinderella, was to be sent down to try the slipper which of course fit perfectly. This is a quest for romance because the Prince stopped at nothing to find Cinderella.
He strategists and went through extreme measures of searching to find his true love. He even said to his father that No one else shall be my wife but she whose foot this golden slipper fits” (244). By him saying that, you can really tell how much he wanted to be with Cinderella, and that he would not settle for anyone else but her. So far I have described different quests for romance, riches, and power made by some of the characters in the story. But what about the main character herself? I actually found that Cinderella was not on a quest for any of those.
I think ultimately, she really Just wanted to be accepted and to be included with her family. However, it is very ironic that even though she was not on a pursuit to gain romance, riches, or rower, she actually got all three in the end. In the beginning of the story, before the father went to the fair, he asked all of the daughters what they wanted him to bring back for them. Of course the step-sisters asked for materialistic items, but Cinderella only asked for the first branch that knocked her father’s hat off on the way home.
It seems somewhat odd to ask for a tree branch out of all the things she could have gotten, but surprisingly it turned out to be more valuable than anything else. Because she planted the branch at her mother’s grave and sat and cried next to it ACH day, it grew to be a great tree. By doing that, a white bird was always at the tree and every time Cinderella wished for something, the bird would throw down whatever she wished for. It was almost as if she acquired a fairy godmother, but I think it actually was her mother being her guardian angel.
I believe that because when her mother was on her deathbed, she said to Cinderella: “Dear child, be good and pious, and then the good God will always protect thee, and I will look down on thee from heaven and be near thee” (241). By interpreting that quote, I think it is a nit saying that the little bird that was always near Cinderella was her mother being her guardian angel and taking care of her because Cinderella remained a very good person despite the fact that people were not good to her.
So the seemingly worthless branch her father brought back for her actually turned out to be a huge blessing to Cinderella. If it was not for her asking for the branch, she would have never gotten her guardian angel that granted her wishes. If her wishes never got granted, she would have never acquired the beautiful dresses to wear to the festival and would have never gotten to meet the prince. It was all fate.
I think the story was trying to teach a lesson here by saying that you should always be a good person and to live life the right way, because everything eventually falls into place and some of the best things in life come to you unexpectedly. In conclusion, by looking at the story in this sort of light, there is a lot more to the story than reading about a girl that lives happily ever after with her prince. It can be All of the characters were on a pursuit of romance, riches, or power, except one. But even though Cinderella did not directly go after those desires, she still got everything n the end.
You see, some of the characters were very dark at heart, and because of that they did not have successful quests for what they wanted in life because they did not deserve to. The characters that were truly good people got what they wanted and even more, because they actually did deserve it. I think ultimately by looking at the story through this perspective, it changes its meaning by sending out a message that says: you should go about pursuing your dreams and desires in life the right way, because in the end you get what you truly deserve.