27 Mar Did We Even Care to Understand Why She Became WICKED?

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Juan Says: Fairytales never grow old. It has always been an appealing story to both kids and the kids at heart. The 2015 retelling of a childhood favorite has got us asking why evil exists. It’s not enough for one to be evil, Disney now questions why and in doing so, we discover that evil people aren’t born, they are made. And despite us being adults, we couldn’t help but relate it to our daily lives and gives us a deeper understanding of the evil around us. Through it we learn that no matter what happens, we have a choice and we can always choose to be better.

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In this adaptation of the famous Cinderella story, the main antagonist is still the “Wicked Stepmother,” some adaptations regard her as evil, but this time around she is called cruel. Lady Tremaine, as she is called in this movie played by Kate Blanchett, may have abused Cinderella in this movie, but it clearly points out that her actions, thereby who she has become is not a result of being born cruel. In fact, as the story states, her cruelty was born out of her own life tragedies. Lady Tremaine explained to Cinderella that she had a husband once that she loved most, they had two daughters together. But when her husband died she was left a single mother to two daughters that she needed to provide for – food, shelter, clothing – the works, in a world that didn’t provide much support of single mothers! In her limited capacity, she was left with no choice but to marry again out of economic necessity.

Sadly, this is also a story of many women, some their first marriages, others their second. Now we ask, what’s love got to do with it? NOTHING. Women in this situation think that love has no place when you have a family of 10 to feed, when you feel that you have no future in this cruel world, and that the only means of escape was to marry somebody you don’t love in the hopes that this could be the answer to their financial problems. Ginawang bangko asawa ampotah!

“Why are you so cruel?” a baffled Cinderella, after years of abuse, asks her stepmother.

“Because you are young, and innocent, and good,” Lady Tremaine replies. She pauses. “And I …”

Upon the death of Cinderella’s father, all hell broke lose in the heart of her stepmother. Jealousy, hatred for who Cinderella was becoming took the better of Lady Tremaine. The once oppressed became the oppressor.

This is not to justify the actions of Lady Tremaine or any of those who are in a similar situation as hers. But it is to pave the way for understanding that people make wrong choices. People do hold on to a double-edged sword when desperation is the only thing that makes them survive. It is not enough to just understand what is evil, but it is to explain why it became evil. Lady Tremaine was not born cruel. Her actions DO NOT merely show that her character is cruel, but that the world she lives in is cruel.

Cinderella’s being young, innocent, good isn’t exactly helping Lady Temaine’s battling her insecurities. Cinderella’s redemption was to be saved by “one true love,” and a handsome prince at that, while Lady Temaine’s was a forced marriage out of need not of love. Truth be told, Cinderella being Cinderella amplifies it. Love is sooooo overated!

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As movie director Kenneth Branagh explained of the stepmother’s trailing justification of her own cruelty: “What you do feel is a great passionate woman who seems to have made a different choice when faced with these kinds of challenges, these moments of heartbreak which we saw Ella face. She makes a different choice in the face of those things.” He added: “It’s a great mirror.”

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