Cinderella vs. Ashputtle: Forgiveness vs. Vengeance

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Date Submitted: 05/15/2013 08:01 AM

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English 200

February 24, 2013

Cinderella vs. Ashputtle: Forgiveness vs. Vengeance

For centuries the story of Cinderella has been told and retold, to children across the world. What makes this fairytale so intriguing? Perhaps it is the notion of good triumphing over evil, in this case the stepmother and stepsisters. But what happens to the Cinderella’s wicked step mother and stepsisters in the end? In the versions “Cinderella” by Charles Perrault and “Ashputtle” by the Grimm brothers, there is a shared backbone that makes it a Cinderella story, but have opposite views on forgiveness and punishment.

In the story of Cinderella by Perrault, the stepmother is described as “the proudest and haughtiest woman imaginable. She had two daughters of the same character, who took after their mother in everything” while Cinderella, on the other hand is “sweetness itself” (548). The stepmother despises Cinderella for her goodness and sweetness because it highlights how unpleasant and unlikeable her own daughters are. While the stepsisters are not overly malicious towards Cinderella, they do treat her as though she is below them. The real evil comes from the stepmother. She treats her very poorly, makeing Cinderella do all the chores, and sleep in the attic. Throughout all the mistreatment and hurt, Cinderella stayed positive and uncomplaining. Cinderella even offers to help her stepsisters get ready for the ball by doing their hair and giving them advice about their outfits (549). Even at the ball, when she is unrecognizable to the stepsisters, she is kind and goodhearted, “She went and sat next to her sisters and treated them with great courtesy, offering them oranges and lemons which the Prince had given her” (551). She could have easily treated them as cruelly and callously as they had treated her, since they did not know her, but her kindness illustrates the underlying theme of forgiveness. The stepsisters talk so highly of the beautiful princess that they meet at the...