Essays on literary works - 2023
What is the main content of Andersen's fairy tales
Andersen Hans Christian
First of all, in faith in the all-conquering active force of good, in an effort to show the most essential, the most real in a person in love with the beauty of nature. In the first collection, these qualities were revealed most fully, almost all of his fairy tales became the most beloved and readable works. The activity of goodness, the ability to sacrifice even one's life in the name of its affirmation form the plot and characters in "Road Buddy", "Wild Swans", "The Little Mermaid", "The Steadfast Tin Soldier". One of Andersen's best, most poetic and kind fairy tales is The Little Mermaid. The writer addressed the theme of the unrequited love of a mermaid for a person more than once in early poetic tales (“Mermaid from Samse Island”, etc.), he touched on the same topic in the essay “Shadow Paintings”.
Nevertheless, Andersen created a completely independent work, where the author’s thought about the beauty of the human soul, about the good that wins in the world, is revealed not only with the help of intense plot development, as in the first tales of the collection, but also thanks to convincing psychologism that reveals poetry. The Little Mermaid herself and depicts a person as the embodiment of nobility, kindness and beauty. That is why the cherished dream of the Little Mermaid is not only to fall in love with the prince, but also to get a human soul. This path is difficult. The greatest test falls on her fate when the mermaid sisters bring her the news that only by killing the prince, she will be able to return to the sea to the mermaids again, otherwise she will die with the first rays of the sun. The Little Mermaid wins here too: she cannot kill her lover. Interpreting the folk legend, Andersen wrote that what he changed in her: for him, “the immortal soul of a mermaid does not depend on someone else’s being, on human love. This definition is unfair! Since there is an element of chance in this ... I let the mermaid go the natural, best way.
This is the way of development of spiritual forces. The lessons of kindness are more complex here than in previous fairy tales. Andersen placed before the "Mermaid" the appeal "For adults", arguing that his fairy tales are expanding the audience. Andersen's fairy tales reveal the true in a person, his essence. The writer often uses the word "real". And this is no coincidence. His soldier from the Flint is a real soldier, i.e. determined and courageous person. In The Princess and the Pea, the princess is also real, she is so sensitive that she finds a pea under all the feather beds, but the most important thing about her is that she, like a real person, is able to overcome the most difficult trials.
The moral courage of the Little Mermaid is also the way to her real essence, to the "real" in her. Thumbelina cannot refuse her real - poetic - content, no matter how hard it is for her. Renunciation of oneself, even if dreams come true, is impossible for Andersen's hero in "Galoshes of Happiness". The hero finds himself in the Middle Ages he loves, but everything there seems bad to him. He perceives the return to his time as a mercy.
The guard in this very tale is jealous of the lieutenant, but, having become a lieutenant for a while, he dreams of being a poor guard again. This theme reaches its greatest strength in The King's New Dress, where a person is replaced. The king does not lead the country, but only changes clothes, although exquisite costumes cannot hide his real essence. It is characteristic that a child from the crowd debunks the deceit: the truth is in simple, natural people, romantics believe. Andersen also shows what happens if a person loses at least one quality of a true, "real" personality. This happens as usual with the rich and noble. Here the great storyteller finds capacious images and expressive actions of characters that unambiguously affirm the unacceptability of evil. Andersen's evil is not terrible, but most often it is infinitely funny, absurd.
The task of the writer is to make it completely impossible for the reader to choose the position of the ridiculed, since it is clearly meaningless, and because of this, morally ugly. In "The Swineherd" the author's idea is revealed in the plot, in the actions of the characters.The main idea of the fairy tale is in the comparison of the true and the disfigured, "fake", created by circumstances. The pompous princess rejects the true: a beautiful living rose and a living nightingale, while admiring banal things. Wanting to get "fake", made things, the princess behaves like a "fake" princess: she falls so low that she kisses the swineherd. Nevertheless, the great storyteller does not oppose polar phenomena in this tale, but compares different versions of the “fake”.
This second "fake" is the prince himself. Although, at first glance, this is not felt, it is precisely the absence in the tale of a real heroic principle, exalted above the low and petty-bourgeois, that creates a mild irony. We constantly see the author's smile, which transforms a tragic situation into a comic one. Already the beginning of the tale reveals the conditions of the problem. “There was once a poor prince,” we read in the first paragraph, “he had a kingdom, very small, but big enough to get married, and he wanted to get married.” He wanted to marry because he was ambitious, he wanted to improve things with the help of a rich dowry of the Kaiser's daughter.
The chest became an obstacle to the wedding, and the merchant's son in itself is worthless. The complex idea of punishment for arrogance or overestimation of one's capabilities is revealed in the Garden of Eden: the royal son, having countless books, read them all and considered himself a know-it-all with a strong will, condemned Adam and Eve because, through their fault, humanity lost grace. However, once in the Garden of Eden, he himself could not resist the temptation.
Social issues, of course, are present in Andersen's fairy tales, and in part they are quite significant, as in the fairy tale about Big and Little Klaus. It is no coincidence that the author at the very beginning explains that one Klaus was called Big, since he had four horses, and the second - Small, since he had only one horse! In the folklore version used by Andersen, the brothers differed in that one was the eldest, and the second was the youngest. The writer sharpens the social aspect of the work. It is not kings and princesses who defeat the common people, but an ordinary soldier outwitted the king and queen with their courtiers in the Flint, poor Thumbelina refuses to join her life with a rich mole, etc.
But the real democracy of Andersen is most clearly seen in the system of visual means. Its kings and princesses behave like ordinary people. In The Princess and the Pea, the king goes to open the gate, and the queen makes the bed. In Flint, the queen, the king and all the courtiers go to the city to look for the crosses that mark the gates of the house where the soldier lives. In The Swineherd, the king personally hires a poor prince to herd pigs, and the same king walks around the house in trampled shoes. The princess in The Wild Swans, in order to save her brothers, does the work of a peasant woman: she makes thread from nettles and weaves shirts.
The reduction of the rulers of this world to the level of ordinary philistines or peasants indicates that the very idea of royal power has lost its greatness and a special halo that accompanies really glorified power in Andersen's fairy tales. His king can be ridiculous in his impotence, as, for example, the king-father in "The Road Buddy", repulsive in his swagger, like the main character in "The King's New Clothes".