The Misogyny of “Hansel and Gretel”
“Hansel and Gretel” is the easily-dismissible story of two children with a poor but kind father and a typically mean stepmother. To further drive the point home that women have an evil nature and should not be trusted, the children encounter an evil old woman who lures them with sweets in order to cook and eat them.
The story could be seen as a cautionary tale to warn children never to speak to strangers and certainly, never to trust them, regardless of the bribes offered.
The problem with “Hansel and Gretel”, however, is the misogynistic view of women. The children have a father, but not a natural mother. Instead, they have an evil stepmother who berates their burdened father into abandoning them in the forest. The crafty children find their way back and once again are expelled from the home by their stepmother.
When the children are left in the woods for a second time, they are unable to find their way home and instead come upon a house made of sweets, a temptation that no child could resist.
Even though they have unpleasant experiences with women, the children enter the house where the evil old woman keeps them trapped in order to cook and eat them. Once again, the children are learning the message that women aren’t to be trusted.
The old woman wants to start with Hansel, attempting to fatten him up in spite of the children’s scheme to thwart her efforts. This, too, sends the message that the female sex is inferior; the old woman wants to eat Hansel while Gretel acts as her accomplice.
As in any good fairy tale, the old woman becomes a victim of her own evil plot and the children manage to escape and return home. This time, however, their stepmother is dead and their father welcomes them home with open arms. The father could have left their stepmother, but in the cruelty of fairy tales, she has died. In conclusion, “Hansel and Gretel” is a timeless but dismissible story that encourages hatred and distrust of women.
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The Misogyny of “Hansel and Gretel”. (2016, Oct 03). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-misogyny-of-hansel-and-gretel/