Enchanted – A Stereotypical Analysis
Fairytales are liked by all for they give hope that everyone’s wishes are fulfilled, that dreams do come true and that there are happily ever afters. But what happens when these stereotypical tales become a reality? What happens when type-cast characters witness the real world? The movie – Enchanted is a story of an evil Queen Marissa who reigned the magical kingdom named Andalasia. Selfish and cruel, she lived in fear that one day her step-son would marry and she would lose her throne forever. And so, she did all in her power to prevent the prince from ever meeting the one special lady with whom he would share true love’s kiss.
In the fantasy world of Andalasia, Giselle is a Princess who is chosen by Prince Edward to be married. The fact is that Prince Charming is attracted to Giselle because of her physical appearance and not for her beauty radiating from within. He falls in love with her after listening to her singing in her melodious voice. Thus, traditional womanly virtues of kindness and pureness play little or no part in enchanting the Prince. This creates an impression that impressionable girls should focus on external beauty rather than inner beauty.
In addition, Giselle dreams of her Prince Charming with his sparkling blue eyes and perfect lips but does not seek her true love herself. She happens to fall off a tree and into his arms. It is love at first sight. Although Giselle knew who her true love would be, she made no attempt to search for him instead the Prince sought to find his bride to complete his love song. This puts forth the idea that women should await their Prince Charming and hope that their secret dream will come true.
Apart from the stereotypical characters of Princess Giselle and Prince Edward, there are two other type-cast characters in Andalasia namely, Queen Marissa and the Butler Nathaniel.
Queen Marissa is devotedly concerned about her own happiness which is her throne. She could go to any extreme and uses her magical power, that of becoming a dragon to save her crown. She also possesses the magical power of disguising herself as a nanny. Similar to the tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, she makes use of poisoned apples to kill Giselle. When the Butler Nathaniel fails to poison the princess twice, she tricks Giselle into taking a bite of the third and last poisoned apple herself. Queen Marissa is the stereotypical step-mother both in fantasy as well as in reality.
Nathaniel, the Butler is always trying to impress his highness, Queen Marissa. He does what he is asked to do, as well as anything he thinks will benefit the Queen. He voluntarily chooses to jump into the magical wishing well to find Giselle and Edward in the real world being fully aware that if he succeeds in the Queen’s assigned task of poisoning Giselle and bringing Edward back to Andalasia, he would become the Queen’s favourite.
Moreover, in Andalasia the animals, birds and insects can talk, even sing. Pip, the Chipmunk is Giselle’s best friend who sees to the nitty-gritty’s on her wedding day. When he is locked outside the castle gates, he scales the walls of the palace to catch a glimpse of Giselle. He is the one who watches Queen Marissa (disguised as a nanny) push Giselle deep into the magical wishing well. He beckons Prince Edward to save Giselle and accompanies the Prince on his journey down the well to the real world to look for Giselle.
In the real world New York, three new characters are introduced. Michael is a divorce lawyer who is planning to get engaged to Nancy. He is rational and thinks fairytale love and romance is a myth. Hence, when he encounters Giselle he concludes that she is a highly confused woman. He does not believe her love story initially and tries his best to send her away as her presence leads to a series of setbacks in his life – firstly, an argument with Nancy when she finds Michael helping Giselle with the shower; next, Giselle makes a dress for herself out of his favourite curtains; lastly, she begins to cry in his office when she witnesses a divorce leading to Michael being called unprofessional for manipulating the deal. However, Giselle’s innocence and genuine nature brings Michael to like her. Eventually, she solves the problems she created – she arranges for a heart made of exquisite flowers with live doves along with tickets to a ball from Michael to Nancy; her chance meeting with the couple who sought for divorce helped them realize that they need not sacrifice all the good times for a few bad times. Giselle brings about a considerable change in Michael’s character and towards the end, he realizes that he’s in love with her not for being beautiful outside but for the beautiful qualities she possesses inside.
His daughter Morgan likes Giselle from the moment she first meets her. In the beginning, she constantly tries to convince her father Michael to let Giselle stay with them. She is not inclined a take a liking to her going-to-be step-mother Nancy as she has preconceived notions about step-mothers. Giselle convinces Morgan that there are kind and wonderful step-mothers. Unaware of Edward’s step-mother’s evilness, she even suggests her as an example of a lovely step-mother. Morgan is in tears when Giselle has to leave with her Prince Charming and is happy when Giselle becomes her step-mother.
Nancy is a total romantic. She believes in fairytales and love stories. Ultimately, when Michael and Giselle fall in love with each other, she sits near the shoe Giselle left behind and symbolically awaits her Prince Charming. Edward approaches her and helps her wear the shoe. It’s the perfect fit. They go to the fantasy world of Andalasia and get married. Nancy’s tiny foot symbolizes weakness, meekness, helplessness, limitation and dependence. She is a character who had no control over her own life; she had no expectations and no dreams. She completely depended on being married to a wealthy, powerful and handsome Prince.
In the real world, Pip the Chipmunk discovers that he has lost his voice. However, his never-say-die attitude helps him to get the best out of any situation. He even gets the better of Nathaniel and ruins all his plans to kill Giselle. He continues to help Prince Edward as well as Giselle and tries his best to communicate through sign language. Even in the end, he tries to save Michael from falling off the tower. His friendship with Giselle is remarkable and a marvel. Pip breaks all stereotypes as despite his tiny size, he still manages to be the strong and determined one. He is a true hero.
Initially, Nathaniel devises plans to poison Giselle and kill her. He tries his best to keep Prince Edward from meeting Giselle. However, in the climax there is a radical change of character as Nathaniel reveals the truth of Queen Marissa to everyone. He even holds the powerful sword against Queen Marissa to prevent her from causing further damage. Thus, he breaks the stereotype
Prince Edward finds it difficult to deal with situations and circumstances in the real world. Giselle introduces him to new concepts such as a date and a ball. But, he agrees to it just to make her happy. When Giselle bites into the poisoned apple and faints at the ball, he plays the role of a knight in shining armour and rescues her from the hands of his step-mother. When his kiss does not bring Giselle to life, he is unhappy but is ready to do anything to save her life and hence makes Michael kiss her. When Michael and Giselle finally realize their love for each other, he helps Nancy wear the shoe Giselle forgot at the ball. It being the perfect fit, he and Nancy get married in Andalasia. This indicates that Prince Edward was content with life as Prince of the magical kingdom of Andalasia. He is attracted to Nancy because of her beauty which he considers desirable.
Indeed, the real world and the animated world collide.