Cinderella written by Charles Perrault and Hamlet by William Shakespeare share similar attributes, but are also very different in their story lines. Cinderella and Hamlet, both are the protagonists of their respective stories, but are wronged by other characters of the works. Cinderella loses both his parents and comes under the mercy of her stepmother while Hamlet after losing his father comes under the mercy of his stepfather. Hamlet’s mother is alive, but she is unable to help her son.
Cinderella after suffering through many hardships of her daily life comes to a happy ending while Hamlet goes through a series of misfortunes and his life comes to a tragic ending. Cinderella is able to find a fairy godmother who helps her in her meeting the prince. Likewise, Hamlet also meets the ghost of his father who informs him about certain realities. Both of the characters have spiritual associations, but their appearance drags one to happiness, while other to melancholy. Cinderella become happy after meeting the prince while Hamlet is sad to know about his father’s assassination at the hands of his uncle who becomes his stepfather by marrying his mother. The spiritual appearance in Cinderella in form of a godmother brings a message of happiness and better life to her while the spiritual appearance in Hamlet makes him melancholic and brings a message of revenge to him.
Cinderella, after losing her parents, is also sad and gloomy, but she tries to fight with her situation. Cinderella, facing all the hardships under the strict control of her stepmother and stepsisters, is given hope by the godmother’s appearance. She is able to attend the great event where she meets the Prince. She is personified as a beautiful lady who is suppressed by her stepmother. However, she attends the gathering instead of her mother’s forbidding. Hamlet, after his father’s death is unable to accept his father’s brother as his stepfather. He is in a great shock. He regards his mother’s sudden marriage as incestuous. In such dejected and forlorn state, he meets his father’s ghost who brings news of sadness for Hamlet adding to his depressed state. He is at once ready for the revenge, but in the whole play, he plans for the revenge. He is not ready for the revenge until the end and he gives different statements for delaying his revenge. In this process of planning and not acting, he harms other characters such as Ophelia’s father and Ophelia.
Cinderella loses her love for the time being, as with the help of her glass shoe, she is able to reconcile with the prince as his betrothed. However, Hamlet loses Ophelia, his love, as she dies. Later on, Hamlet himself dies in a quest against his stepfather. Firstly, he loses Ophelia, then his mother and at the end, he loses his own life. Cinderella’s story is a happy tale while Hamlet’s story is a tragic tale.
Cinderella’s life has a hope while Hamlet’s life has no hope with the death of Ophelia. Other characters wrong both of the protagonists, but one’s story ends in happiness while other’s story is tragic. Cinderella does not revenge anyone and only wants to get rid of her severed life while Hamlet is busy in planning and plotting for which, he finally gives his life.
Perrault, Charles. Cinderella, and Other Tales from Perrault. H. Holt, 1989.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Penguin Classics, 1980.