Learn the truth behind four of Disney's most beloved classics.
Magical stories from Disney have always been an integral part of childhood memories of many people. However, unlike the widely popular version, Disney works are all rooted in old legends that you may not know.
Where do fairy tales come from?
Centuries ago, people still circulated orally the old legends as a long-standing folk tradition. With the origins include the main characters: the elegant hero, the beautiful princess and the cruel villain, the magical world gradually expands with mythical creatures, powerful gods and quests love rescue service for the main character to promote the storyline more thrilling.
The Brothers Grimm were the first ones to carry out the preservation of German historical records in the form of records in their 1812 anthology. However, these short stories were often dark in color to deter young people from behaving properly. In order to suit a large audience of children and families, and retaining the core educational lessons, Disney then changed these content to become brighter and lighter.
The Evil Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) is a typical work in the "Tar & Sugar era" of Disney studios. Unlike other periods, Disney's work in this period is characterized by contrasting nuances, constant transitions between sweet, gentle moments interwoven with darkness and haunting, giving profound image to the viewer. Compared to the original version of the Brothers Grimm, the scary details and the cruelty of the Queen character in the Disney version have been more or less moderated.
According to the original, Snow White's mother died of giving birth to her, Snow White grew up with her stepmother, the Queen. Always obsessed with her own beauty, the Empress became insanely jealous when she heard the mirror say that Snow White was the "most beautiful person in the world". In the original, she tried to harm Snow White three times: once with a deadly corset, a second time with a poisoned comb, and a final, but successful attempt - the poisoned apple.
According to the Grimm version, after Snow White died, the Prince tried to persuade her to take her body away. As the dwarves carried her coffin, one of them tripped, causing Snow White to fall and the lucky poison apple to be sprayed out. She woke up without a kiss.
At the end of the Disney animated movie, the Queen ended her life by throwing herself from a waterfall. In fact, in the original story, she attended the wedding of Snow White and the Prince and was punished by dancing to death on hot-boiling red slippers.
The theme of marriage in Beauty and the Beast
The French fairy tale La Belle et la Béte appeared in the 18th century and took readers on a journey to discover the marriage rights of contemporary women. The story was written by the female writer Madame Leprince de Beaumont and became famous in 1756, before being adapted by Disney into the best animated film of all time.
According to the original story, the rose was thing that started all troubles for Belle. On a business trip far away, her father lost his way and accidentally found the magnificent castle of the Beast. Because of his promise to bring back a rose for his daughter before the trip, he tried to steal it from the castle's beautiful garden. And it caused the Beast to go on a rampage.
To preserve life, the father had to offer another daughter to take Belle's place. Feeling guilty for asking her father to bring back a rose, Belle voluntarily sacrificed herself. Neither Gaston nor LeFou, it was Belle's sisters who were the villains in this story. They were extremely jealous of Belle and were delighted when she was imprisoned in the Beast's castle.
The characters Lumiere, Cogsworth and Lady Potts were interesting, which was highlighted in Disney's Beauty and the Beast (1991). However, in the original story, there was no such thing as magical furniture. The character Belle has experienced complete isolation - symbolizing the "prison" marriages of the 18th century.
Dark scenes in the original Cinderella
Cinderella (1950) was one of the standout Disney films of the Silver Age period. Despite the myriad variations of this classic fairy tale, Disney opted for an enchanting 1697 version of Charles Perrault that featured magical elements such as the pumpkin carriage, the fairy godmother, the fairy godmother and the glass shoes of fate.
In the original Brothers Grimm, Cinderella's father never died. Even so, he remarried to a devious woman and let her treat his daughter cruelly. Instead of getting help from the fairy godmother, Cinderella was helped by a wish tree she planted next to her deceased mother's grave.
Also, in the earlier variants, the step-sisters' brutality knew no bounds. They were willing to cut off their feet just to fit in Cinderella's shoes and marry the prince. When the trick was discovered, pigeons swooped down to gouge out their eyes as a punishment.
The sad ending of The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid (1989) was the film that Disney chose to make to kick off its successful Renaissance Era. If you dig deep enough into this classic, you'll find the hard truth that writer Hans Christian Andersen's origin story is actually downright sad.
In the story told by Disney, Ariel regained her voice. She was happily married with Prince Eric. However, in Andersen's words, the story turned into a tragic tragedy. Instead of reciprocating love and marrying the mermaid, the prince fell in love with another girl. The mermaid gave up her dream of having an immortal soul to be happy with her lover.
Not stopping there, the sea witched once again and challenged her with the request to kill the prince so that she could return to her mermaid life and continue living. Unexpectedly, she chose to sacrifice herself, burying herself in the sea and then dissolving into bubbles.
Fans around the world must have breathed a sigh of relief when they heard that Disney chose a happy- ending for Ariel in their version.
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