The Little Mermaid Character Analysis

1184 Words 5 Pages
Rarely, in fiction, are women portrayed as strong, independent characters who can think and stand up for themselves. Rarely, do they get to play a role other than the obedient housewife, or the emotional girlfriend. Strong female protagonists, despite their scarcity, do exist. But even the strongest women often turn into love struck, bashful little girls when they meet and fall in love with a man, and the rebellious red headed little mermaid is no exception.
The little mermaid’s change of character is far more obvious in Disney’s version of the tale. While the original little mermaid is quiet and thoughtful, Ariel is daring, courageous, and full of curiosity. It’s a refreshing change – she is not like all those other meek and submissive Disney
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But alas – “she soon thought again of the world above her, for she could not forget the charming prince”. She is so desperate to be reunited with him; she decides to ask the sea witch for help, even though she has always been afraid of her. The sea witch warns her that to turn into a human, she will feel great pain, as if she were treading upon sharp knives – that she will never be able to return through the water to her sisters, or her father’s palace. That she must give up her voice; her very identity. Yet, as the little mermaid thinks of her beloved prince, she readily agrees, despite her fears. Her new life as a human being is one of pain and suffering, however, “she danced again quite readily, to please him, though each time her foot touched the floor it seemed as if she trod on sharp knives”. The prince has no knowledge of her sacrifices – he doesn’t know she is in pain every time she takes a step, nor does he know she gave up her voice for him. Like most men, he takes her for granted, and treats her like an object that solely exists to please him. He knows about her feelings for him – yet, when he meets his beautiful bride-to-be, he throws her aside and tells her: “You will rejoice at my happiness; for your devotion to me is great and sincere”. The words ‘you will’ and ‘devotion’ implies that, to him, she is nothing but a mere servant, even though he is so fond of her. It also …show more content…
Many romance novels start off with strong, interesting female lead characters. But like Ariel, as soon they meets ‘the one’, they suddenly become meek and shy – they are no longer independent like they were before, and they become inferior. Why is it that people think girls prefer watching romance movies, or ‘chick flicks’, rather than the thrillers and action movies that boys enjoy? Why is it that female protagonists are always saddled with the role of falling in love, when boys get to run around with weapons and fight dragons? The stereotype that women are always looking for true love, waiting for her prince charming to sweep her off her feet, is deep-rooted into society, and fairy tales, as well as other pieces of fiction, contribute a huge part in its formation. Fairy tales are written for children – they are supposed to represent the dreams and fantasies children have in their childhood. However, the messages a lot of these fairy tales send to little girls often diminishes women and their worth in society, and it gives them an inaccurate depiction of the traits of a strong female character. Now, considering most other female protagonists, the little mermaid is quite admirable, in the respect that she takes actions in getting what she wants, unlike Cinderella and Snow White who sit around prettily waiting for fate to decide their lives

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