Moral: Having courage and believing in oneself even in times of adversity and how good people are rewarded for their goodness.
Cinderella is a folk tale of unknown origins which has been adapted into many films, musicals, and dramas. This is one of the most popular fairy tales in children’s literature.
Let’s take a brief look at this story to identify the moral of Cinderella.
The Story of Cinderella
Cinderella is a beautiful, gentle, and kind girl who lives with her wicked stepmother and her two daughters. The stepmother and her two daughters treat her like a servant and make her do all the household chores. But Cinderella never complains; she bears her lot with patience and courage.
One day, the young ladies receive invitations to a royal ball held with the intention of selecting a wife for the prince. Cinderella’s stepsisters and stepmother dress in their finest clothes and go to the ball. But Cinderella is not allowed to go; neither does she have fine clothes or jewels to wear to the ball. Cinderella is very sad. But suddenly, Cinderella’s fairy godmother appears out of nowhere and changes her rags into a beautiful gown with glass slippers. Then the fairy godmother changes a pumpkin to a fine carriage and some mice into men. But before leaving, she advises Cinderella to return before it strikes midnight since the spell would only last till then.
At the royal ball, everyone is entranced by Cinderella. The prince falls in love with her. But Cinderella has to leave the ball before midnight. In her haste to get away, she loses one of her glass slippers. The prince finds the slipper and sends men to every house and makes every young unmarried lady try the slipper. When they come to Cinderella’s house, the two step-sisters too try on the slipper, but it doesn’t fit. Finally, it’s Cinderella’s turn – the slipper fits her feet perfectly, and the prince recognizes her. Then Cinderella marries the prince and lives happily ever after.
What is the Moral of Cinderella
To recognize the moral of Cinderella, it’s essential to look at the good qualities of Cinderella. Cinderella is always gracious, kind and patience; even though the stepmother and the sisters are evil, she patiently tolerates their treatment. At the same time, she doesn’t give up or let their treatment be a setback in her path. She never stops dreaming. Her desire and attempt to attend the ball can be taken as an indication of her courage, bravery, and perseverance. So the moral of the story can be taken as having the courage and believing in oneself even in times of adversity.
The idea that good things happen to good people or how good people are rewarded for their goodness is also reflected in this story.
In Charles Perrault’s version of Cinderella written in 1697, Perrault describes the moral of the story as the value of graciousness. It is her graciousness, which she retains even after years of mistreatment and abuse, that impresses the prince. The term graciousness can actually be interpreted as the embodiment of all her good qualities such as perseverance, patience, courage, and bravery.
“Beauty in a woman is a rare treasure that will always be admired. Graciousness, however, is priceless and of even greater value. This is what Cinderella’s godmother gave to her when she taught her to behave like a queen. Young women, in the winning of a heart, graciousness is more important than a beautiful hairdo. It is a true gift of the fairies. Without it nothing is possible; with it, one can do anything.”
Charles Perrault, “Cendrillon, ou la petite pantoufle de verre,” Histoires ou contes du temps passé, avec des moralités: Contes de ma mère l’Oye (Paris, 1697).