Charles Perrault's Cinderella: Morals & Themes

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  • 0:05 What Can We Learn From…
  • 0:37 Morals in Cinderella
  • 2:41 Themes in Cinderella
  • 4:26 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Danielle Reed

Danielle works in digital marketing and advertising. She holds a bachelor's degree in English and an MBA.

In this lesson, we learn about 'Cinderella' teaching the morals of kindness towards all, forgiving others for doing wrong, and never letting bad things ruin your heart. The themes of the story are good versus evil and luck changing your life.

What Can We Learn from Cinderella?

One of the most well-known fairy tales ever written is Cinderella. The original title of the story by Charles Perrault is Cinderella: or, The Little Glass Slipper. He published the story in 1697 in French as Cendrillon in his Tales of Mother Goose. The story is based on a folktale present in a number of cultures throughout the world. The tale is about a young woman who is treated poorly and saved from her dismal existence. Let's take a look at some of the important morals and themes we can learn from this popular story.

Morals in Cinderella

Cinderella was first considered to be a folktale because it was a story originating in popular culture, typically passed on by word of mouth. These stories are commonly known for passing down beliefs and sharing morals with younger generations. A moral is a lesson, especially concerning what is right or prudent, that can be derived from a story. Here are a few of these important lessons from Cinderella.

The first is 'kindness towards all matters.' Even though Cinderella was seen as less than by others, she was good in her heart. Perrault says of Cinderella, 'A young daughter, but of unparalleled goodness and sweetness of temper.' She maintained her good temper throughout all of life's hardships and being treated as a servant. In fact, Cinderella 'bore it all patiently, and dared not tell her father.' No matter how much she was worn down or belittled, Cinderella showed kindness towards all. At the end of the story, Cinderella ends up with the prince, due to her lovely heart. He liked her even when she wasn't wearing her beautiful ball gown. Cinderella teaches us kindness is a form of beauty, which will eventually be recognized.

The second is 'forgive others for doing you wrong.' In the story, Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters treat her horribly. They called her names like 'Cinderwench' and 'nasty. In addition, her stepmother 'employed her in the meanest work of the house. She scoured the dishes, tables, etc. . ., and cleaned madam's chamber, and those of misses, her daughters.' Even though the stepsisters and her stepmother treated her poorly, Cinderella kept a full heart. When her stepsisters realized she was actually the beautiful woman from the ball and apologize to her, Cinderella 'said that she forgave them with all her heart, and wanted them always to love her.'

The third is 'don't let the bad things ruin your heart.' Cinderella's mother died and her father remarried. This loss could have made her bitter and sad, but she still remained positive. In fact, she learned it from her mother 'who was the best creature in the world.' Her heart was true, even as life got difficult. In fact, 'Cinderella. . . was no less good than beautiful. . .'

Themes in Cinderella

Some of the themes brought forth by the text Cinderella are now known as the most common themes in literature. A theme is defined as a central idea in a piece of writing or other work of art. From the idea of good prevailing over evil or the impact wealth has on life, the themes of this folktale are essential in both life and literature.

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