Comparitive Analysis of the movie "Ever After" and "Cinderella".

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Clothing plays a role in every person's life; often people are judged and defined by the types of things they wear. In "Cinderella: Not So Morally Superior," Elisabeth Panttaja claims that Cinderella succeeded in marrying the prince not because she was more patient than her stepsisters and stepmother, but because she was wittier and utilized the magical powers offered to her, namely an enchanted dress. In "A Feminist's View of 'Cinderella'," Madonna Kolbenschlag says that Cinderella tolerates condescension from the people around her in hope that she will one day be rewarded. She does menial labor and dresses in rags all while being told she is worthless by her stepmother. Ever After is a movie based on the same premise as many versions of the "Cinderella" tale. In the film, a girl named Danielle lives a similar life to Cinderella. Although Danielle and Cinderella both use fashion as a means to obtain something they want, Cinderella's fate is decided solely by her fashion whereas Danielle's use of fashion is not what ultimately draws the prince to her. Still, Danielle seems to use clothing at first to slip into a role and define who she is; this is specifically evident in the scene where Danielle poses as a courtier.

In the movie "Ever After", Danielle is swept into a life of servitude by the hand of her stepmother after the sudden death of her father. One day, Danielle dons a fancy dress and poses as a courtier with the purpose of buying back a servant named Maurice that her stepmother, the Baroness, sold. While freeing Maurice, Prince Henry arrives and becomes intrigued by Danielle's wittiness and the mystery that shrouds her. Danielle quotes one of her favorite books, Utopia, and the prince insists on knowing her name. She becomes evasive because she does not want him to discover her guise and slips away while he is distracted by his mother. Throughout the film, Danielle undergoes several transformations and in many instances, the clothing that she wears either strengthens or weakens her to deal with the situation at hand. Instances of this are not only visible in the courtier scene, but in the ball scene and ending scene as well.

According to Panttaja, "The battle for the prince's attention is not waged at the level of character at all, but at the level of clothes" (Panttaja 616). In other words, despite what many people believe, Cinderella did not win the prince because she was deserving of him, but because of the things she wore. The magical dress and the glass slipper were crucial elements in her success with the prince. However, before the days of magical clothing, Cinderella belittled herself by wearing rags and being covered in grime. While on the surface it appears that Cinderella and Danielle both endure abasement, Danielle uses her clothing to slide into a role and eventually rise above her debasement. Cinderella, on the other hand, has a night of fun in her dress and then returns home to docilely accept the mistreatment and servitude that she has lived with all of her life. Cinderella does not rise above her degradation until the King's attendant comes and slips a perfectly fitting shoe on her foot.

It is indisputable that in Ever After Danielle endures abasement. Kolbenschlag claims, "The personality of the heroine is one that above all, accepts abasement as a prelude to and precondition of affiliation" (Kolbenschlag 535). What Kolbenschlag is saying is that Cinderella puts up with the constant toil and wears shabby clothing because she is hoping that one day someone or something will take her out of this environment. In Ever After, there is a scene where the prince steals a horse and Danielle tries to stop him by hurling apples at him. Once she realizes it is the prince, she falls on her knees and says, "Forgive me your highness I did not see you. And for that I know I must die" (Ever After). Her demeanor went from enraged to submissive. While behaving in this manner she is wearing her typical...
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