|Also known as||Italian: Cenerentola, French: Cendrillon. German: Aschenputtel|
|Aarne-Thompson grouping||AT 510 A ("the persecuted heroine")|
Cinderella, or The Little Glass Slipper, (Italian: Cenerentola, French: Cendrillon, ou La petite Pantoufle de Verre, German: Aschenputtel) is a folk tale embodying a myth-element of unjust oppression/triumphant reward. Thousands of variants are known throughout the world. The title character is a young woman living in unfortunate circumstances, that are suddenly changed to remarkable fortune. The story of Rhodopis, recounted by the Greek geographer Strabo in around 7 BC, about a Greek slave girl who marries the king of Egypt, is considered the earliest known variant of the "Cinderella" story. The first literary European version of the story was published in Italy by Giambattista Basile in his Pentamerone in 1634; the most popular version was published by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passé in 1697, and later by the Brothers Grimm in their folk tale collection Grimms' Fairy Tales.
Although the story's title and main character's name change in different languages, in English-language folklore "Cinderella" is the archetypal name. The word "Cinderella" has, by analogy, come to mean one whose attributes were unrecognized, or one who unexpectedly achieves recognition or success after a period of obscurity and neglect. The still-popular story of "Cinderella" continues to influence popular culture internationally, lending plot elements, allusions, and tropes to a wide variety of media. The Aarne–Thompson system classifies Cinderella as "the persecuted heroine".
- 1 Ancient and international versions
- 2 Literary versions
- 3 Plot variations and alternative tellings
- 4 Folkloristics
- 5 Adaptations
- 6 Translations
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Ancient and international versions
The Aarne–Thompson system classifies Cinderella as type 510A, "the persecuted heroine". Variants of the theme are known throughout the world.
The oldest known version of the Cinderella story is the ancient Greek story of Rhodopis, a Greek courtesan living in the colony of Naucratis in Egypt, whose name means "Rosy-Cheeks." The story is first recorded by the Greek geographer Strabo in his Geographica (book 17, 33), probably written around 7 BC or thereabouts:
They tell the fabulous story that, when she was bathing, an eagle snatched one of her sandals from her maid and carried it to Memphis; and while the king was administering justice in the open air, the eagle, when it arrived above his head, flung the sandal into his lap; and the king, stirred both by the beautiful shape of the sandal and by the strangeness of the occurrence, sent men in all directions into the country in quest of the woman who wore the sandal; and when she was found in the city of Naucratis, she was brought up to Memphis, became the wife of the king ...
The same story is also later reported by the Roman orator Aelian (ca. 175–ca. 235) in his Miscellanious History, which was written entirely in Greek. Aelian's story closely resembles the story told by Strabo, but adds that the name of the pharaoh in question was Psammetichus. Aelian's account indicates that the story of Rhodopis remained popular throughout antiquity.
Herodotus, some five centuries before Strabo, records a popular legend about a possibly-related courtesan named Rhodopis in his Histories, claiming that Rhodopis came from Thrace, and was the slave of Iadmon of Samos, and a fellow-slave of the story-teller Aesop and that she was taken to Egypt in the time of Pharaoh Amasis, and freed there for a large sum by Charaxus of Mytilene, brother of Sappho the lyric poet.
A version of the story, Ye Xian, appeared in Miscellaneous Morsels from Youyang by Duan Chengshi around 860. Here, the hardworking and lovely girl befriends a fish, the rebirth of her mother. The fish is later killed by her stepmother and sister. Ye Xian saves the bones, which are magic, and they help her dress appropriately for the New Year Festival. When she loses her slipper after being recognized by her stepfamily, the king finds her slipper and falls in love with her (eventually rescuing her from her cruel stepmother). Variants of the story are also found in many ethnic groups in China.
In Finland the fairy tale similar to Cinderella is known as "Liisa and the Prince". Instead of a step-mother, an evil ogress impersonates the mother, and instead of a fairy god-mother, the spirit of a birch tree helps Liiisa out.
Indonesia and Malaysia
The Indonesian and Malaysian story Bawang Merah Bawang Putih, are about two girls named Bawang Putih (literally "White Onion", meaning "garlic") and Bawang Merah ("Red Onion"). While the two country's respective versions differ in the exact relationship of the girls and the identity of the protagonist, they have highly similar plot elements. Both have a magical fish as the "fairy godmother" to her daughter, which the antagonist cooks. The heroine then finds the bones and buries them, and over the grave a magical swing appears. The protagonist sits on the swing and sings to make it sway, her song reaching the ears of a passing Prince. The swing is akin to the slipper test, which distinguishes the heroine from her evil sister, and the Prince weds her in the end.
In Indonesia, Bawang Putih is the kind-hearted girl, who suffers at the hands of her evil stepmother, and stepsister Bawang Merah, who is the one that cooks the fish-mother. When the Prince enquires after the singer on the swing, Bawang Merah lies, but is proven false when cannot make the magical swing move. The angry prince forces Bawang Merah and her mother to tell the truth. They then admit that there is another daughter in the house. Bawang Putih comes out and moves the magical swing by her singing. In the end, she and her prince marry and live happily ever after.
In the Malaysian version, it is Bawang Merah and her mother Mak Labu ("Mother Gourd") who are good, while her half sister Bawang Putih and her mother Mak Kundur ("Mother Wintermelon") are evil. Both mothers were the wives of a poor man, and upon his death Mak Kundur seized control of the household and forced Mak Labu and Bawang Merah to do all the chores around the house. One day as Mak Labu was fetching water at the well, Mak Kundur pushed her into it, and Mak Labu turns into a gourami. In this version, Mak Kundur killed the fish and fed it to Bawang Merah who learns of her mother's fishbones in a dream and finds them with the aid of some ants. Bawang Merah gathers the fish bones and buries them in a small grave underneath a tree. When she visits the grave the next day, she is surprised to see that a beautiful swing has appeared from one of the tree's branches. When Bawang Merah sits in the swing and sings an old lullaby, it magically swings back and forth. In this version, Mak Kundur knows the Prince, and lies when a royal guard enquires after the girl on the swing. Bawang Merah sings and it is she whom the Prince marries at the end of the story.
In a version of the story from the Philippines, the girl is named Maria, the daughter of a fisherman Juan dela Costa and his wife Dalida. Juan has an affair with the town harlot Quicay, who has two daughters with different men, the older is named Seraphine while the younger is Felice. Maria's mother dies early, either by sickness or by her father's malicious intentions, and when her father remarries, her stepmother and stepsisters abuse her by forcing her to do menial task and calling her "The Ash Girl". One afternoon, however, a crab appears to Maria and reveals herself to be Dalida. Her cruel family, however, ultimately discovers this and catches the crab, then forces her to serve it for dinner. Maria obeys but her mother instructs her to bury the crab shells near the river, and from the spot sprang a golden grapefruit tree. A few years pass the country where Maria lives is invaded by Moors, but the King Enrico successfully defeats them. To celebrate his victory, the king hosts a ball to which the stepsisters attend. Maria is forbidden to go, and is given impossible tasks, but the Virgin Mary appears and helps her. The grapefruit tree provides her with everything necessary (clothes, carriage), with the warning that she must leave before midnight. The king falls in love with her, and when Maria was about to leave he snatches one of her glass slippers. The story culminates with the search for the owner of the slipper, the discovery of Maria, the marriage with the king, and her stepmother and sisters being put to death.
In the Vietnamese version Tam Cam, Tam is mistreated by both her father's co-wife and half-sister. After her fishing achievements are unjustly stolen by the stepsister, she brings the only remaining fish home and feeds it as a pet. Her jealous step-family kills the fish and eats it, but its bones continue to serve as her protector and guardian, eventually leading her to become the king's bride during a festival. The protagonist takes violent revenge in part two of the story; after being murdered four times by her stepmother and stepsister, she eventually comes back from the dead and boils her stepsister alive, indirectly resulting in the death of her stepmother.
The Korean version of the story, Kongjwi and Patjwi, tells of a kind girl named Kongjwi, who is constantly abused by her stepmother and stepsister Patjwi. The step-family forces Kongjwi to stay at home while they attend the king's festival, asking her to repair a leaking jar. A toad assists with the jar, and an ox brings her clothes for the festival. The story contains the same general motifs as most other versions of the story, including a festival and a king who falls in love with the protagonist.
West and South Asia
Several different variants of the story appear in the medieval One Thousand and One Nights, also known as the Arabian Nights, including "The Second Shaykh's Story", "The Eldest Lady's Tale" and "Abdallah ibn Fadil and His Brothers", all dealing with the theme of a younger sibling harassed by two jealous elders. In some of these, the siblings are female, while in others, they are male. One of the tales, "Judar and His Brethren", departs from the happy endings of previous variants and reworks the plot to give it a tragic ending instead, with the younger brother being poisoned by his elder brothers.
Aspects of Cinderella may be derived from the story of Cordelia in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae. Cordelia is the youngest and most virtuous of King Leir of Britain's three daughters, however her virtue is such that it will not allow her to lie in flattering her father when he asks, so that he divides up the kingdom between the elder daughters and leaves Cordelia with nothing. Cordelia marries her love, Aganippus, King of the Franks, and flees to Gaul where she and her husband raise an army and depose her wicked sisters who have been misusing their father. Cordelia is finally crowned Queen of Britain. However her reign only lasts five years. The story is famously retold in Shakespeare's King Lear, but given a tragic ending.
The Charles Dickens novel David Copperfield also shares similarities with Cinderella, but is gender reversed; David, a young boy, has a passive mother who remarries with a cruel man after her husband passes.
The Middle East
Variants from Iran and Arabian countries also exist, one titled as the Maah Pishànih which means "The Girl With The Moon On Her Forehead". In this version, the Cinderella figure is both benevolent and malevolent; she murders her own mother inside a vinegar jar so that her father can marry the neighborhood Quran instructress. From this cruel act, the girl gains a cruel stepmother and an imbecile stepsister. She befriends either a cow (her mother's spirit/reincarnation), a fish (sent by her mother or Allah), or a 1000 year old demoness living underground which becomes her helper. After accomplishing a series of tasks for the wicked second wife, she is rewarded with a moon-shaped jewel on her forehead and a star on her chin, or long golden hair, while the other sister is cursed with ugliness. The story culminates with the monarch announcing a celebration, which the heroine attends. Either the king's son or the king himself falls in love with her immediately after seeing her face. Out of either shame or terror (as Islamic women are supposed to be reserved before men), the girl leaves hastily, leaving behind one of her golden shoes, which is given to her along with clothes and transportation by her spiritual helper. The monarch in the story asks for help from female relatives (mostly his mother the Sultana) and the relative tries the shoe on every woman in the land. The stepfamily tries to sabotage everything, but a rooster usually betrays them. The story ends with Maah Pishànih becoming a royal bride, and her entire family being put to death.
The first written European version of the story was published in Napoli (Naples), Italy, by Giambattista Basile, in his Pentamerone (1634). The story itself was based in the Kingdom of Naples, at that time the most important political and cultural center of Southern Italy and among the most influential capitals in Europe, and written in the Neapolitan dialect. It was later retold, along with other Basile tales, by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passé (1697), and by the Brothers Grimm in their folk tale collection Grimms' Fairy Tales (1812).
The name "Cenerentola" comes from the Italian word "cenere" – tchenere (ash – cinder). It has to do with the fact that servants and scullions were usually soiled with ash at that time, because of their cleaning work and also because they had to live in cold basements so they usually tried to get warm by sitting close to the fireplace.
Cenerentola, by Basile
Giambattista Basile, an Italian soldier and government official, assembled a set of oral folk tales into a written collection titled Lo cunto de li cunti (The Story of Stories), or Pentamerone. It included the tale of Cenerentola, which features a wicked stepmother and evil stepsisters, magical transformations, a missing slipper, and a hunt by a monarch for the owner of the slipper. It was published posthumously in 1634.
- A prince has a daughter, Zezolla (tonnie) (the Cinderella figure), who is tended by a beloved governess. The governess, with Zezolla's help, persuades the prince to marry her. The governess then brings forward six daughters of her own, who abuse Zezolla (tonnie), and send her into the kitchen to work as a servant. The prince goes to the island of Sinia, meets a fairy who gives presents to his daughter, and brings back for her: a golden spade, a golden bucket, a silken napkin, and a date seedling. The girl cultivates the tree, and when the king hosts a ball, Zezolla appears dressed richly by a fairy living in the date tree. The king falls in love with her, but Zezolla runs away before he can find out who she is. Twice Zezolla escapes the king and his servants. The third time, the king's servant captures one of her slippers. The king invites all of the maidens in the land to a ball with a shoe-test, identifies Zezolla (tonnie) after the shoe jumps from his hand to her foot, and eventually marries her.
Cendrillon, by Perrault
One of the most popular versions of Cinderella was written in French by Charles Perrault in 1697, under the name Cendrillon. The popularity of his tale was due to his additions to the story, including the pumpkin, the fairy-godmother and the introduction of "glass" slippers.
- Once upon a time, there was a wealthy widower who married a proud and haughty woman as his second wife. She had two daughters, who were equally vain and selfish. The gentleman had a beautiful young daughter, a girl of unparalleled kindness and sweet temper. The man's daughter is forced into servitude, where she was made to work day and night doing menial chores. After the girl's chores were done for the day, she would curl up near the fireplace in an effort to stay warm. She would often arise covered in cinders, giving rise to the mocking nickname "Cinderella" by her stepsisters. Cinderella bore the abuse patiently and dared not tell her father, who would have scolded her.
- One day, the Prince invited all the young ladies in the land to a royal ball, planning to choose a wife. The two stepsisters gleefully planned their wardrobes for the ball, and taunted Cinderella by telling her that maids were not invited to the ball.
- As the sisters departed to the ball, Cinderella cried in despair. Her Fairy Godmother magically appeared and immediately began to transform Cinderella from house servant to the young lady she was by birth, all in the effort to get Cinderella to the ball. She turned a pumpkin into a golden carriage, mice into horses, a rat into a coachman, and lizards into footmen. She then turned Cinderella's rags into a beautiful jeweled gown, complete with a delicate pair of glass slippers. The Godmother told her to enjoy the ball, but warned that she had to return before midnight, when the spells would be broken.
- At the ball, the entire court was entranced by Cinderella, especially the Prince. At this first ball, Cinderella remembers to leave before midnight. Back home, Cinderella graciously thanked her Godmother. She then greeted the stepsisters, who had not recognized her earlier and talked of nothing but the beautiful girl at the ball.
- Another ball was held the next evening, and Cinderella again attended with her Godmother's help. The Prince had become even more infatuated, and Cinderella in turn became so enchanted by him she lost track of time and left only at the final stroke of midnight, losing one of her glass slippers on the steps of the palace in her haste. The Prince chased her, but outside the palace, the guards saw only a simple country girl leave. The Prince pocketed the slipper and vowed to find and marry the girl to whom it belonged. Meanwhile, Cinderella kept the other slipper, which did not disappear when the spell was broken.
- The Prince tried the slipper on all the women in the kingdom. When the Prince arrives at Cinderella's home, the stepsisters tried in vain to win over the prince. Cinderella asked if she might try, while the stepsisters taunted her. Naturally, the slipper fit perfectly, and Cinderella produced the other slipper for good measure. Cinderella's stepfamily pleaded for forgiveness, and Cinderella agreed.
- Cinderella married the Prince as her stepsisters are married to two handsome gentlemen of the royal court.
The first moral of the story is that beauty is a treasure, but graciousness is priceless. Without it, nothing is possible; with it, one can do anything.
However, the second moral of the story mitigates the first one and reveals the criticism that Perrault is aiming at: That "without doubt it is a great advantage to have intelligence, courage, good breeding, and common sense. These, and similar talents come only from heaven, and it is good to have them. However, even these may fail to bring you success, without the blessing of a godfather or a godmother."
Aschenputtel, by the Brothers Grimm
Another well-known version was recorded by the German brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in the 19th century. The tale is called "Aschenputtel" ("Cinderella" in English translations). This version is much more intense than that of Perrault and Disney, in that Cinderella's father did not die and the step sisters cut off their own toes to fit in the golden slipper. In addition, there is no fairy godmother, but rather help comes from a wishing tree that she planted on her mother's grave.
- A plague infests a village, and a wealthy gentleman's wife lies on her deathbed. She calls for her only daughter, and tells her to remain good and kind, as God would protect her. She then dies and is buried. The child visits her mother's grave everyday to grieve and a year goes by. The gentleman marries another woman with two older daughters from a previous marriage. They have beautiful faces and fair skin, but their hearts are cruel and wicked. The stepsisters steal the girl's fine clothes and jewels and force her to wear rags. They banish her into the kitchen, and give her the nickname "Aschenputtel" ("Ashfool"). She is forced to do all kinds of hard work from dawn to dusk. The cruel sisters will do nothing but mock her and make her chores harder by creating messes. However, despite all of it, the girl remains good and kind, and will always go to her mother's grave to cry and pray to God that she will see her circumstances improve.
- One day the gentleman visits a fair, promising his stepdaughters gifts of luxury. The eldest asks for beautiful dresses, while the younger for pearls and diamonds. His own daughter merely begs for the first twig to knock his hat off on the way. The gentleman goes on his way, and acquires presents for his stepdaughters. While passing a forest he gets a hazel twig, and gives it to his daughter. She plants the twig over her mother's grave, waters it with her tears and over the years, it grows into a glowing hazel tree. The girl prays under it three times a day, and a white bird will always comes to her. She will tell her wishes to the bird, and every time the bird will throw down to her what she has wished for.
- The king decides to ordain a festival that will last for three days and invites all the beautiful maidens in the land to attend so that the prince can select one of them for his bride. The two sisters are also invited, but when Aschenputtel begs them to allow her to go with them into the celebration, the stepmother refuses because she has no decent dress nor shoes to wear. When the girl insists, the woman throws a dish of lentils into the ashes for her to pick up, guaranteeing her permission to attend the festival, if she can clean up the lentils in two hours. When the girl accomplishes the task in less than an hour with the help of a flock of white doves that came when she sings a certain chant, the stepmother only redoubles the task and throws down even a greater quantity of lentils. When Aschenputtel is able to accomplish it in a greater speed, not wanting to spoil her daughters' chances, the stepmother hastens away with her husband and daughters to the celebration and leaves the crying stepdaughter behind.
- The girl retreats to the graveyard and asks to be clothed in silver and gold. The white bird drops a gold and silver gown and silk shoes. She goes to the feast. The prince dances with her all the time, and when sunset comes she asks to leave. The prince escorts her home, but she eludes him and jumps inside the pigeon coop. The father has come home ahead of time and the prince asks him to chop the pigeon coop down, but Aschenputtel has already escaped. The next day, the girl appears in grander apparel. The prince falls in love with her and dances with her for the whole day, and when sunset comes, the prince tries to accompany her home again. However, she climbs a pear tree to escape him. The Prince calls her father who chops down the tree, wondering if it could be Aschenputtel, but Aschenputtel has disappeared. The third day, she appears dressed in the grandest with slippers of gold. Now the prince is determined to keep her, and has the entire stairway smeared with pitch. Aschenputtel loses track of time, and when she runs away one of her golden slippers sticks on that pitch. The prince proclaims that he will marry the maiden whose foot fits the golden slipper.
- The next morning, the prince goes to Aschenputtel's house and tries the slipper on the eldest stepsister. The sister was advised by her mother to cut off her toes in order to fit the slipper. While riding with the stepsister, the two doves from Heaven tell the Prince that blood drips from her foot. Appalled by her treachery, he goes back again and tries the slipper on the other stepsister. She cuts off part of her heel in order to get her foot in the slipper, and again the prince is fooled. While riding with her to the king's castle, the doves alert him again about the blood on her foot. He comes back to inquire about another girl. The gentleman tells him that they keep a kitchen-maid in the house – omitting to mention that she is his own daughter – and the prince asks him to let her try on the slipper. Aschenputtel appears after washing herself, and when she puts on the slipper, the prince recognizes her as the stranger with whom he has danced at the ball.
- In the end, during Aschenputtel's wedding, as she walks down the aisle with her stepsisters as her bridesmaids, (they had hoped to worm their way into her favour), the doves fly down and strike the two stepsisters' eyes, one in the left and the other in the right. When the wedding comes to an end, and Aschenputtel and her prince march out of the church, the doves fly again, striking the remaining eyes of the two evil sisters blind, a punishment they had to endure for the rest of their lives.
Aschenputtel's relationship with her father in this version is ambiguous; Perrault's version states that the absent father is dominated by his second wife, explaining why he does not prevent the abuse of his daughter. However, the father in this tale plays an active role in several scenes, and it is not explained why he tolerates the mistreatment of his child. He also describes Aschenputtel as his "first wife's child" and not his own.
Plot variations and alternative tellings
Villains: In some versions, her father plays an active role in the humiliation of his daughter; in others, he is secondary to his new wife, Cinderella's stepmother; in some versions, especially the popular Disney film, Cinderella's father has died and Cinderella's mother has died also.
Although many variants of Cinderella feature the wicked stepmother, the defining trait of type 510A is a female persecutor: in Fair, Brown and Trembling and Finette Cendron, the stepmother does not appear at all, and it is the older sisters who confine her to the kitchen. In other fairy tales featuring the ball, she was driven from home by the persecutions of her father, usually because he wished to marry her. Of this type (510B) are Cap O' Rushes, Catskin, All-Kinds-of-Fur, and Allerleirauh, and she slaves in the kitchen because she found a job there. In Katie Woodencloak, the stepmother drives her from home, and she likewise finds such a job.
In La Cenerentola, Gioachino Rossini inverted the sex roles: Cenerentola is oppressed by her stepfather. (This makes the opera Aarne-Thompson type 510B.) He also made the economic basis for such hostility unusually clear, in that Don Magnifico wishes to make his own daughters' dowries larger, to attract a grander match, which is impossible if he must provide a third dowry. Folklorists often interpret the hostility between the stepmother and stepdaughter as just such a competition for resources, but seldom does the tale make it clear.
Ball, Ballgown, and Curfew: The number of balls varies, sometimes one, sometimes two, and sometimes three. The fairy godmother is Perrault's own addition to the tale. The person who aided Cinderella (Aschenputtel) in the Grimms's version is her dead mother. Aschenputtel requests her aid by praying at her grave, on which a tree is growing. Helpful doves roosting in the tree shake down the clothing she needs for the ball. This motif is found in other variants of the tale as well, such as The Cinder Maid, collected by Joseph Jacobs, and the Finnish The Wonderful Birch. Playwright James Lapine incorporated this motif into the Cinderella plotline of the musical Into the Woods. Giambattista Basile's Cenerentola combined them; the Cinderella figure, Zezolla, asks her father to commend her to the Dove of Fairies and ask her to send her something, and she receives a tree that will provide her clothing. Other variants have her helped by talking animals, as in Katie Woodencloak, Rushen Coatie, Bawang Putih Bawang Merah, The Story of Tam and Cam, or The Sharp Grey Sheep—these animals often having some connection with her dead mother; in The Golden Slipper, a fish aids her after she puts it in water. In "The Anklet", it's a magical alabaster pot the girl purchased with her own money that brings her the gowns and the anklets she wears to the ball. Gioachino Rossini, having agreed to do an opera based on Cinderella if he could omit all magical elements, wrote La Cenerentola, in which she was aided by Alidoro, a philosopher and formerly the Prince's tutor.
The midnight curfew is also absent in many versions; Cinderella leaves the ball to get home before her stepmother and stepsisters, or she is simply tired. In the Grimms' version, Aschenputtel slips away when she is tired, hiding on her father's estate in a tree, and then the pigeon coop, to elude her pursuers; her father tries to catch her by chopping them down, but she escapes.
Furthermore, the gathering need not be a ball; several variants on Cinderella, such as Katie Woodencloak and The Golden Slipper have her attend church.
In the three-ball version, Cinderella keeps a close watch on the time the first two nights and is able to leave without difficulty. However, on the third (or only) night, she loses track of the time and must flee the castle before her disguise vanishes. In her haste, she loses a glass slipper which the prince finds—or else the prince has carefully had her exit tarred, so as to catch her, and the slipper is caught in it.
The identifying item: The glass slipper is unique to Charles Perrault's version and its derivatives; in other versions of the tale it may be made of other materials (in the version recorded by the Brothers Grimm, German: Aschenbroedel and Aschenputtel, for instance, it is gold) and in still other tellings, it is not a slipper but an anklet, a ring, or a bracelet that gives the prince the key to Cinderella's identity. In Rossini's opera "La Cenerentola" ("Cinderella"), the slipper is replaced by twin bracelets to prove her identity. In the Finnish variant The Wonderful Birch the prince uses tar to gain something every ball, and so has a ring, a circlet, and a pair of slippers. Interpreters unaware of the value attached to glass in 17th century France and perhaps troubled by sartorial impracticalities, have suggested that Perrault's "glass slipper" (pantoufle de verre) had been a "squirrel fur slipper" (pantoufle de vair) in some unidentified earlier version of the tale, and that Perrault or one of his sources confused the words; however, most scholars believe the glass slipper was a deliberate piece of poetic invention on Perrault's part. The 1950 Disney adaptation takes advantage of the slipper being made of glass to add a twist whereby the slipper is shattered just before Cinderella has the chance to try it on, leaving her with only the matching slipper with which to prove her identity.
Another interpretation of verre/vair (glass/fur) suggested a sexual element—the Prince was 'trying on' the 'fur slipper' (vagina) of the maidens in the kingdom, as a 'Droit du seigneur' right of sexual possession of his subjects. The disguised Cinderella's 'fur slipper' was of unique appeal to the Prince who sought her thereafter through sexual congress (a variety of sources including Joan Gould).
The translation of the story into cultures with different standards of beauty has left the significance of Cinderella's shoe size unclear, and resulted in the implausibility of Cinderella's feet being of a unique size for no particular reason. Humorous retellings of the story sometimes use the twist of having the shoes turn out to also fit somebody completely unsuitable, such as an amorous old crone. In Terry Pratchett's Witches Abroad, the witches accuse another witch of manipulating the events because it was a common shoe size, and she could only ensure that the right woman put it on if she already knew where she was and went straight to her. In "When the Clock Strikes" (from Red As Blood), Tanith Lee had the sorcerous shoe alter shape whenever a woman tried to put it on, so it would not fit.
The Revelation: Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters (in some versions just the stepsisters and, in some other versions, a stepfather and stepsisters) conspire to win the prince's hand for one of them. In the German telling, the first stepsister fits into the slipper by cutting off a toe, but the doves in the hazel tree alert the prince to the blood dripping from the slipper, and he returns the false bride to her mother. The second stepsister fits into the slipper by cutting off her heel, but the same doves give her away.
In many variants of the tale, the prince is told that Cinderella can not possibly be the one, as she is too dirty and ragged. Often, this is said by the stepmother or stepsisters. In the Grimms' version, both the stepmother and the father urge it. The prince nevertheless insists on her trying. Cinderella arrives and proves her identity by fitting into the slipper or other item (in some cases she has kept the other).
The Conclusion: In the German version of the story, the evil stepsisters are punished for their deception by having their eyes pecked out by birds. In other versions, they are forgiven, and made ladies-in-waiting with marriages to lesser lords.
In The Thousand Nights and A Night, in a tale called "The Anklet", the stepsisters make a comeback by using twelve magical hairpins to turn the bride into a dove on her wedding night. In The Wonderful Birch, the stepmother, a witch, manages to substitute her daughter for the true bride after she has given birth. Such tales continue the fairy tale into what is in effect a second episode.
In an episode of Jim Henson's The Storyteller, writer Anthony Minghella merged the old folk tale Donkeyskin (also written by Perrault) with Cinderella to tell the tale of Sapsorrow, a girl both cursed and blessed by destiny.
Many popular new works based on the story feature one step-sister who is not as cruel to Cinderella as the other. Examples are the film Ever After, Cinderella 3 and the Broadway revival.
Ever After (known in promotional material as Ever After: A Cinderella Story) is a 1998 American romantic comedy-drama film inspired by the fairy tale Cinderella, directed by Andy Tennant and starring Drew Barrymore, Anjelica Huston, and Dougray Scott. The usual pantomime and comic/supernatural elements are removed and the story is instead treated as historical fiction, set in Renaissance-era France. It is often seen as a modern, post-feminism interpretation of the Cinderella myth.
There is also Gregory Maguire's novel Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, which gives the classic story from the view of one of the ugly stepsisters. In this version, the Cinderella character is unusually beautiful, but also a shy enigma. Her stepsister, though plain, is charming and intelligent. The novel has themes much more adult than the traditional story.
Gail Carson Levine wrote Ella Enchanted, a story about how "Ella" is under a fairy curse of obedience (she does whatever someone tells her to). A movie also has been made based on this book.
In his book Dr. Gardner's Fairy Tales for Today's Children, Dr. Richard A. Gardener's story "Cinderelma" has the heroine Cinderelma and the prince re-unite, then mutually decide to separate. Cinderelma then gets a job as a seamstress, later opens her own dress shop, and marries a young printer who owns the shop next door to hers.
In 1995, Richard Conlon's play Anastasia and Drizella was produced at Chicago's Temporary Theatre. In it, Cinderella's step sister Anastasia gets a master's degree in finance, and her step sister Drizella gets a master's degree in chemical engineering. When the prince tries to have Cinderella's step family beheaded, Anastasia buys the kingdom. The prince and Cinderella get married, and spend the rest of their lives working as servants for Cinderella's step family, while the step sisters live happily ever after.
In the 2005 picture book Ella's Big Chance by Shirley Hughes, Ella is a dressmaker in her father's shop, and when the stepsisters arrive they appoint themselves as models. Ella eventually chooses to marry Buttons, an employee in the shop, instead of the prince.
In Emily Short's 2006 interactive fiction short story Glass, it is Cinderella herself who has magical powers, and neither her stepmother nor her stepsisters are malicious. The royal ambitions of the stepmother plays a small part in their attempt to deceive the prince, but more importantly they are trying to protect Cinderella from the law of the land, under which practicing magic is punishable by death.
In 2014, Bad Wolf Press published a musical version called Cinderella: A Modern Makeover, a fractured interpretation of the story featuring a more positive "blended family" home life as well as a heroine trying to get her dream job at the palace instead of a marriage proposal.
Also in 2014, Rae D. Magdon published an unusual retelling of the story in a novel titled The Second Sister, in which the protagonist, Ellie, is somewhat forced into stopping one of her step-sisters from enchanting the Prince and take over the entire Kingdom. In order to do this, she receives the help of a shy maid, a friendly cook, a talking cat, and her mysterious second sister.
Bridget Hodder has written The Rat Prince, a middle grade novel telling the Cinderella story from the point of view of one of Cinderella's rodent friends. FSG/MacMillan is publishing the book August 23, 2016.
Folklorists have long studied variants on this tale across cultures. In 1893, Marian Roalfe Cox, commissioned by the Folklore Society of Britain, produced Cinderella: Three Hundred and Forty-Five Variants of Cinderella, Catskin and, Cap o'Rushes, Abstracted and Tabulated with a Discussion of Medieval Analogues and Notes.
The Aarne–Thompson system classifies Cinderella as type 510A, "the persecuted heroine". Others of this type include The Sharp Grey Sheep; The Golden Slipper; The Story of Tam and Cam; Rushen Coatie; The Wonderful Birch; Fair, Brown and Trembling; and Katie Woodencloak.
The story of Cinderella has formed the basis of many notable works:
Opera and ballet
- Cendrillon (1749) by Jean-Louis Laruette
- Cendrillon (1810) by Nicolas Isouard, libretto by Charles-Guillaume Étienne
- Agatina o La virtù premiata (1814) by Stefano Pavesi
- La Cenerentola (1817) by Gioachino Rossini
- Aschenbrödel (1845) by Gustav Köckert
- Aschenbrödel (1878) by Ferdinand Langer
- Cinderella (1893) by Baron Boris Vietinghoff-Scheel
- Cendrillon (1894–5) by Jules Massenet, libretto by Henri Caïn
- Cinderella (1901–2) by Gustav Holst
- La Cenerentola (1902) by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari
- Cendrillon (1904) by Pauline García-Viardot
- Aschenbrödel (1905) by Leo Blech, libretto by Richard Batka
- La Cenicienta (1966) by Jorge Peña Hen
- Cinderella, a "pantomime opera" (1979) by Peter Maxwell Davies
- Aschenbrödel (1901) by Johann Strauss II, adapted and completed by Josef Bayer
- Das Märchen vom Aschenbrödel (1941) by Frank Martin
- Soluschka or Cinderella (1945) by Sergei Prokofiev
- Cinderella (1980) by Paul Reade
- My First Cinderella (2013) directed by George Williamson and Loipa Araújo
- Cinderella (2015) by 10-year-old composer prodigy Alma Deutscher
- Cinderella debuted as a pantomime on stage at the Drury Lane Theatre, London in 1904 and at the Adelphi Theatre in London in 1905. Phyllis Dare, aged 14 or 15, starred in the latter. In the traditional pantomime version the opening scene takes place in a forest with a hunt in progress; here Cinderella first meets Prince Charming and his "right-hand man" Dandini, whose name and character come from Gioachino Rossini's opera (La Cenerentola). Cinderella mistakes Dandini for the Prince and the Prince for Dandini. Her father, Baron Hardup, is under the thumb of his two stepdaughters, the Ugly sisters, and has a servant, Cinderella's friend Buttons. (Throughout the pantomime, the Baron is continually harassed by the Broker's Men (often named after current politicians) for outstanding rent.) The Fairy Godmother must magically create a coach (from a pumpkin), footmen (from mice), a coach driver (from a frog), and a beautiful dress (from rags) for Cinderella to go to the ball. However, she must return by midnight, as it is then that the spell ceases.
- Cinderella by Rodgers and Hammerstein was produced for television three times and staged live. A version ran in 1958 at the London Coliseum with a cast including Tommy Steele, Yana, Jimmy Edwards, Kenneth Williams and Betty Marsden. This version was augmented with several other Rodgers and Hammerstein's songs plus a song written by Tommy Steele, "You and Me". In 2013, the musical debuted its first Broadway production with a new book by Douglas Carter Beane.
- Mr. Cinders, a musical which opened at the Adelphi Theatre, London in 1929. Filmed in 1934
- Into the Woods, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine, a musical in which Cinderella is one of many fairy-tale characters who take part in the plot. This is partly based on the Grimm Brothers' version of "Cinderella", including the enchanted birds, mother's grave, three balls, and mutilation and blinding of the stepsisters. It opened on Broadway in 1988.
- Cindy, a 1964 Off-Broadway musical composed by Johnny Brandon
- Cinderella; book by Jim Eiler; Music by Jim Eiler and Jeanne Bargy; Lyrics by Jim Eiler
- Cinderella; book by Norman Robbins; lyrics by Amy Powers and Dan Levy; music by Dan Levy; opened Off Broadway December 19, 1991 at Playhouse 91
- Bonnie Lythgoe Productions presented the musical pantomime at the State Theatre in Sydney, Australia from 1 to 17 July 2016. It was described as "the ultimate winter feel good panto to charm audiences of all ages. This magical rags to riches story will feature sumptuous glittering sets, gorgeous fairytale costumes, fantastic song and dance numbers, infectious and riotous comedy magic and bags of audience participation. Fun and laughter is guaranteed for the whole family!" by the official website.
Films and television
Over the decades, hundreds of films have been made that are either direct adaptations from Cinderella or have plots loosely based on the story.
- Cinderella (1899), the first film version, produced in France by Georges Méliès, as "Cendrillon".
- Cinderella (1911), a silent film starring Florence La Badie
- Cinderella, the Glass Slipper (1912) Cendrillon, ou la pantoufle merveilleuse, another silent film made by Georges Méliès.
- Cinderella (1914), a silent film starring Mary Pickford
- Aschenputtel (1922), a silhouette shadow play short by Lotte Reiniger. The short silent film uses exaggerated figures and has no background, which creates a stark look. The film shows Aschenputtel's step-sisters graphically hacking their feet off in order to fit into the glass slipper.
- Cinderella (1922), an animated Laugh-O-Gram produced by Walt Disney, first released on December 6, 1922. This film was about seven and half minutes long.
- Ella Cinders (1926), a modern tale starring Colleen Moore, based on a comic strip by William M. Conselman and Charles Plumb, inspired by Charles Perrault's version.
- Cinderella Blues (1931), a Van Beuren animated short film featuring a feline version of the Cinderella character.
- Poor Cinderella (1934), Fleischer Studios' first color cartoon and only appearance of Betty Boop in color during the Fleischer era.
- Cinderella Meets Fella (1938), a Merrie Melodies animated short film featuring Egghead, the character who would eventually evolve into Elmer Fudd, as Prince Charming.
- Mamele (1938) a Molly Picon vehicle made by the prewar Warsaw Yiddish film industry taking place in contemporary Lodz.
- First Love (1939), a musical modernization with Deanna Durbin and Robert Stack.
- Cinderella (1947), a Soviet film based on the screenplay by Evgeny Schwartz, with Yanina Zhejmo in the leading role. Shot black-and-white, it went through colorization in 2009.
- Cinderella (1950), a Walt Disney animated feature released on February 15, 1950, now considered one of Disney's classics as well as the most well known film adaptation.
- Ancient Fistory (1953), an animation short in which "Cinderfella" Popeye courts princess Olive Oyl.
- Aschenputtel (1955), a West German film, dubbed into English and released in the USA in 1966 as Cinderella.
- The Glass Slipper (1955), feature film with Leslie Caron and Michael Wilding
- Cinderella (1957), a musical adaptation by Rodgers and Hammerstein, starring Julie Andrews as Cinderella, featuring Jon Cypher, Kaye Ballard, Alice Ghostley, and Edie Adams (originally broadcast in color, but only black-and-white kinescopes survive).
- Cinderfella (1960), Cinderfella's (Jerry Lewis) fairy godfather (Ed Wynn) helps him escape from his wicked stepmother (Judith Anderson) and stepbrothers.
- Cinderella (1965), the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical was again produced for television, starring 18-year-old Lesley Ann Warren in the leading role, and featuring Stuart Damon as the Prince, with Ginger Rogers, Walter Pidgeon, and Celeste Holm (filmed in color and broadcast annually for 10 years).
- Hey, Cinderella! (1969), a television adaptation featuring The Muppets.
- Three Wishes for Cinderella (Tři oříšky pro Popelku) (1973), a Czechoslovakian/East German fairy tale film starring Libuše Šafránková as Cinderella and Pavel Trávníček as Prince. A cult film in several European countries.
- The Slipper and the Rose (1976), a British Sherman Brothers musical film starring Gemma Craven and Richard Chamberlain.
- Cindy (1978), This version of the Cinderella tale with an all-black cast has Cinderella, who wants to marry a dashing army officer, finding out that her father, who she thought had an important job at a big hotel, is actually the men's room attendant. Her wicked stepmother finds out, too, and complications ensue. Starred Charlayne Woodard.
- Cinderella (1979), an animated short film based on Charles Perrault's version of the fairy tale. It was produced by the Soyuzmultfilm studio.
- "Cinderella" (1979) by "cosgrove hall productions" used stop motion animation to tell a 40 minute version of the story without any dialogue. Woolly Wolstenholme and Davy Rohl provided the film's eclectic score of music.
- Ira Maya Putri Cinderella (1981) is an Indonesian film, starring child actress Ira Maya Sopha. It is actually based on Sleeping Beauty story for the most part, but the main protagonist is set to be Cinderella's daughter.
- In 1985, Shelley Duvall produced a version of the story for Faerie Tale Theatre.
- A loose adaptation of the Grimm Brothers' version appears in the 1987 anime Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics.
- The Charmings (1987), a spoof of Cinderella appears in the episode "Cindy's Back In Town" where Cinderella, portrayed by Kim Johnston Ulrich, makes a play for Snow White's husband Prince Charming.
- Aschenputtel (1989), a television adaptation based on the Grimm Brothers' version.
- If The Shoe Fits (1990), a modern Cinderella in Paris.
- In 1990 was released the film Pretty Woman, which is considered by the critic a modern version of Cinderella.
- Cinderella Monogatari (The Story of Cinderella) (1996), anime television series produced by Tatsunoko Production.
- Cinderella (1997), Rodgers and Hammerstein musical starring Brandy Norwood as Cinderella, Whitney Houston as the Fairy Godmother, Bernadette Peters as Cinderella's evil stepmother, Jason Alexander as Lionel the valet and Whoopi Goldberg as the Queen. Remake of the 1957 and 1965 TV films.
- Ever After (1998), starring Drew Barrymore, a post-feminist, historical fiction take on the Cinderella story.
- Cinderella, a British modernization featuring Marcella Plunkett as Cinderella, Kathleen Turner as the stepmother and Jane Birkin as the fairy godmother.
- Ella Enchanted (2004) is based on a book of the same name, not a true retelling of Cinderella. However, the said book is an imaginative retelling of the classic tale.
- A Cinderella Story (2004), a modernization featuring Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray
- "Lucky Star (manga)" (2007), spoofed in the Lucky Star anime OVA as "Tsundere-lla" or "Kagami's Dream", where main protagonist Konata Izumi takes the role of the fairy Godmother and main character Kagami Hiiragi takes the role of Cinderella.
- Camp Rock (2008)
- Another Cinderella Story (2008), a modernization featuring Selena Gomez and Drew Seeley
- Elle: A Modern Cinderella Tale (2010), a modernization featuring Ashlee Hewitt and Sterling Knight
- Aschenputtel (2010 film), a German film
- A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song (2011), a modernization featuring Lucy Hale and Freddie Stroma
- Once Upon a Time (2011), features Cinderella as a recurring character, played by Jessy Schram. Like most of the show's characters, her story was concluded prior to the start of the series, but her happy ending was negated due to a curse cast by the Evil Queen. Instead of being sent to the ball by her fairy godmother she made a deal with Rumplestiltskin who killed her fairy godmother right in front of her. In 2016, more of the story is shown. The evil stepmother breaks the glass slipper but Snow White figures out how to help the prince track down Cinderella. Later, Ashley, Cinderella's real-world counterpart, discovers her stepsister wanted to marry the footman rather than the prince, but pretended she wanted to marry the prince in order to please her demanding mother, who had broken the glass slipper in the past.
- Rags (film) (2012), a musical gender switched inversion of the Cinderella story that stars Keke Palmer and Max Schneider.
- A Princess for Christmas is a loose version that takes place over the holiday. Katie McGrath's character is similar to Cinderella.
- Aik Nayee Cinderella (2013), a Pakistani serial aired on Geo TV.
- "The Royal Flip-Flop" (2014), a Jordanian film adaptation set in the 16th Century.
- Into the Woods (2014), a live-action fairy-tale-themed adaptation of the above-mentioned homonymous musical play, in which Anna Kendrick's Cinderella is a central character.
- In the "If the Shoe Fits" episode of Season 10 of the police procedural TV show "Criminal Minds," the main protagonists must stop a woman killier who imagines herself to be a real-life Cinderella.
- Cinderella (2015), a live-action film starring Lily James as Cinderella, Cate Blanchett as Lady Tremaine, Cinderella's evil stepmother, Richard Madden as Kit, the Prince Charming and Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother. It is essentially a live-action remake of the 1950 animated film.
- Cinderella was spoofed in the Family Guy episode "Grimm Job".
- The fairytale was retold the Pretty Cure series of magical girl anime twice.
- Cinderella adaptations on TV and in cinema are not just limited to female protagonists. The Sesame Street special "Cinderelmo" and the Magic Adventures of Mumfie episode "Scarecrowella" both feature a male protagonist playing the Cinderella role.
- A Cinderella Story: If the Shoe Fits (2016), a modernization featuring Sofia Carson and Thomas Law.
- "Cinderella" a track on the 2016 2nd mini album Sting by Korean girl group Stellar.
- Cinderella Rockefella released 1967 by Esther & Abi Ofarim.
- "Cinderella Stay Awhile" a song by Michael Jackson from his 1975 album Forever, Michael.
- "Cinderella Man" by Rush from their 1977 album "A Farewell to Kings".
- Cinderella by Firefall, released 1977.
- Cinderella by Vince Gill, released 1987.
- Hey Cinderella (1993) by Suzy Bogguss.
- It's Midnight Cinderella by Garth Brooks from his 1996 album "Fresh Horses".
- Cinderella a song by Britney Spears from her 2001 album Britney.
- Cinderella, a 2001 single by Sweetbox.
- Cinderella by Shakaya, released 2002.
- Cinderella a 2002 single by Play and covered by The Cheetah Girls in 2003.
- Cinderella by Penny Tai, track no. 4 in So Penny album, released in 2004.
- A Cinderella Story by Mudvayne's fourth album The New Game (2008).
- Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman
- Cinderella from the Broadway musical 110 in the Shade by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt
- Cinderella's Eyes a song by Nicola Roberts from her debut homonymous album Cinderella's Eyes
- Stealing Cinderella by Chuck Wicks from Starting Now album January 22, 2008
- "Romeo and Cinderella" written by doriko and sung by the Vocaloid Hatsune Miku alludes to the fairy tale.
- Cendrellion written by Signal-P and Orange sung by Hatsune Miku and Kaito (2008)
- The theme song to the anime series Himitsu no Akko-chan, as well as the opening animation sequence, makes reference to the fairy tale as well
- "Cinderella Man" by Eminem
- "Cinderella (ft. Ty Dolla $ign) by Mac Miller
- "About a Girl" by Nirvana references the fairy tale with the line "I do, think you fit this shoe."
- Cinderella (1919), written by Arthur Rackham and Charles S. Evans
- Julian Wehr; Stephen Daye (1945), Cinderella: An Animated Book, Stephen Daye, OCLC 24727462
- In the series Dark Parables, fifth game, The Final Cinderella, the name Cinderella was given to maidens with pure hearts. The name Godmother was given to a pure hearted magic user chosen by The Maiden Goddess to find and help "Cinderella"s around the world.
- In the web series, RWBY, Cinderella is alluded by Cinder Fall, one of the main antagonists. She wears a pair of glass shoes and her emblem is a pair of heeled slippers. During the school dance in Volume 2, after infiltrating the school computer system, Cinder makes it back to the dance just before midnight, similar to how Cinderella had to leave the ball by midnight.
- In the doll series Ever After High, A girl named Ashlynn Ella is Cinderella's daughter, like all the characters of the school she's expected to follow her mother's footsteps, but has fallen in love with another character from another story .
- The story is portrayed in the computer game Cinders by MoaCube. The game allows the player to explore different choices, resulting in different outcomes for the protagonist.
- In one of the Glitter Force episodes, Emily is the first character to get sucked into a white book becoming the title character of the story, Cinderella.
|German||Aschenputtel (or Aschenbrödel)|
|Lao||ຊັງດຣີຢົງ or ຊັງດີຢົງ||Sangdriyong|
|Norwegian (bokmål)||Askepott (originally the name of Askeladden)|
|Norwegian (nynorsk)||Oskepott (originally the name of Oskeladden)|
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- Maria Tatar, The Annotated Brothers Grimm, p 126-8 W. W. Norton & company, London, New York, 2004 ISBN 0-393-05848-4
- Mardrus, Joseph-Charles; Powys Mathers (June 1987). The book of the Thousand Nights and One Night. 4. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 191–194. ISBN 0-415-04543-6.
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- "Transformations by Anne Sexton"
- "If The Shoe Fits: Folklorists' criteria for #510"
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- Off Broadway Musicals 1910-2007, by Dan Dietz
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