Violence In Hans Christian Anderson's 'The Little Mermaid'

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Introduction While it is noted that original fairytales tend to be darker and more frightening than recreated versions of the tales, there is a strikingly similar amount of violence and unhappiness within Hans Christian Anderson’s fairytale “The Little Mermaid” and Disney’s reimagining of the same story. At the same time, both fairytales and their reimagining’s are supposed to have a clear message, usually regarding some kind of moral value. Unlike the similar happenings of violence in the two versions of “The Little Mermaid” we are discussing, the morals of the two stories are vastly different. In this paper, I will be examining the similarities and differences regarding the violence, morality, and endings of H.C. Anderson’s “The Little Mermaid” …show more content…
Anderson’s “The Little Mermaid” can be considered too violent and unhappy. In Anderson’s tale, the Little Mermaid goes to the Sea Witch in hopes of finding a way to make her soul immortal, for mermaids’ souls end with their lives. To receive an immortal soul, the Little Mermaid must have a human fall in love with her. In her quest for human love, the Little Mermaid has her tongue cut off, feels constant pain from the new human legs and feet the sea witch has given her, and must never return to her sea home again. Besides these rather gruesome and morose happenings, the ending involves the prince marrying another and the Little Mermaid killing herself. We can see from these points, that the argument that Anderson’s tale of a mermaid princess is violent is a valid …show more content…
Like most Disney films, “The Little Mermaid” is rated “G,” meaning it is a family-friendly film acceptable for children to view without worries of excessive violence and unhappiness. Looking at the surface, Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” is a happy film, the princess wants to find true love, naively gives up her life as a mermaid and her voice for a chance to woo the Prince on the surface, and marries her true love at the end. Though this seems like a watered down, kid-friendly version of the original tale, the film has moments of violence, just as Anderson’s account does. In Disney’s reimagining, there are scenes that are surprisingly violence. Examples includes the Little Mermaid, Ariel’s, father destroying all her precious items in a rage, Ariel almost drowning after receiving her new legs, a scene where a sentient crab is being chased by a murderous chef, and an ending where the Sea Witch is speared by a ship through the heart and seemingly dies. These moments in the film can be described as unhappy, and besides the difference in which character dies at the end, I don’t see much of a difference in the level of violence portrayed in the two

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