The blurred lines between Disney and Shakespeare

images (1)Everyone has seen a Disney film and everyone knows a Disney story, it is the foundation of our childhood and our childhood memories. However, as we get older there are many elements which begin to make more sense  and for me when i watch a Disney film now i begin to see aspects of a world which begins to resemble our own world, but a fantasy version that we long for in our everyday reality. The  little mermaid, which was released in 1989 and is based on the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale of the same name and now a popular Disney film is an example of the blurred lines of reality and fantasy. The concept of fantasy merging with reality is evident within this particular animated film. It portrays two very different realities coexisting together, as shown when the mythical figure of the mermaid (Ariel) crosses from her world into that of the human world, and later on in the film is granted a soul, meaning the imaginary meets the real.

There are also suggestive parallels between Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Disney’s The Little Mermaid. The Little Mermaid encourages identifying the similarities in not only the theme but also the characters and settings between the two, starting with the distinction of naming its heroine Ariel. In The Tempest, Ariel is a magical spirit, an almost fantasy like character, which coincides with the Ariel in The Little Mermaid which is portrayed as a mythical creature, that of a mermaid. Both the settings are based on either an island or the ocean, both of which can be seen as an escapism from ‘reality’. The idea behind both stories is fantasy, illusion, manipulation, power and magic, which works well when identifying the idea behind Shakespeare’s world. He uses the contradictory worlds of illusion and reality to depict the idea that not everything is as what it seems, which is misleading to the characters of the play and is a reflection on realities current society.

Truth versus reality is made abundant through the illusions of Prospero and the reality of the island which he merges, such as in The Little Mermaid. A world has been created of illusion, and mixed in with these illusions is also the ‘real’; the characters find it hard drawing a line between the aspects of reality alongside that of the illusionary. The creation of these imaginations and placing the fantasy in the world of the reality could suggest that too much reality cannot be tolerated.

 

 

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