Hansel & Gretel: Story Summary & Characters

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  • 0:00 The Brothers Grimm
  • 0:31 Characters in ''Hansel…
  • 1:07 Story of ''Hansel and Gretel''
  • 2:58 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Abby Federico

Abby has taught elementary special education and has her master's degree in this area.

You may already know the story of 'Hansel and Gretel'. Find out where the story comes from and who the main characters are, plus read a summary of the story in this lesson.

The Brothers Grimm

Two brothers named Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm, known as the Brothers Grimm, were German writers who wrote, published, and collected many stories and folktales during the 1800s. Some of the most popular stories that they recorded and retold were 'Cinderella,' 'Sleeping Beauty,' 'Rapunzel,' and 'Hansel and Gretel.' The story of 'Hansel and Gretel' may have been one that was told to them, which they then wrote down and published.

Characters in 'Hansel and Gretel'

Before we get into the details of the story, let's discuss the characters in this story. Obviously, we have Hansel and Gretel. Hansel and Gretel are brother and sister. They're left in the woods and have to survive against an evil witch. That evil witch is another character. Hansel and Gretel come across the old woman's house when they are lost in the woods. They soon learn that she is a bad witch. Lastly, we have the woodcutter and his wife, who are Hansel and Gretel's father and stepmother. The stepmother convinces the woodcutter to get rid of Hansel and Gretel.

The Story of 'Hansel and Gretel'

Hansel and Gretel are brother and sister who live with their father, a woodcutter, and their stepmother. The family does not have a lot of money, and their stepmother thinks that the family is going to go hungry. The stepmother makes their father take Hansel and Gretel into the woods and leave them there, so that she and her husband will not starve.

Hansel and Gretel overhear their stepmother making her plan, and they prepare by taking pebbles with them. When their father leads them into the woods, they drop the pebbles along the way so that they can find their way back home. When Hansel and Gretel come back, their stepmother is not happy and convinces their father to again try to leave them in the woods. This time the children use a trail of breadcrumbs. However, when they try to follow the breadcrumbs home, they find that animals have eaten the bread, and they are lost!

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