The original story of Snow White was told by the Grimm brothers in 1857 and was supposedly based on a woman named Margarete von Waldeck (1533 – 1554) who bore some similarities to the character of Snow White. For instance, she was supposedly incredibly beautiful, she had a difficult relationship with her stepmother, she grew up in a mining town where the children who worked in the mines were called ‘dwarfs’ and also, she died as a result of poisoning.
Walt Disney, clearly inspired by the Grimm brothers’ tale, took it and made it into a much more family friendly story. There are a few differences between the Grimm brothers’ version of Snow White and Disney’s which I shall list below;
In the fairy tale, Snow White’s mother wishes for a child with “lips as red as blood, hair as dark as the window frame, and skin as white as snow”. This does not occur in the film, as Disney’s Snow White is shown with only her stepmother, the Queen, and there is no scene of her biological mother.
In the fairy tale, Snow White accepts three gifts from the witch (a girdle, a poisoned comb, and the apple), but is rescued from the first two gifts by the dwarfs. In the film, Snow White is only offered the apple from the Queen.
In the fairy tale, when Snow White is offered the apple, she is unwilling to eat it and only accepts after the witch takes a bite of the apple that is not poisoned. In the film, she bites the apple after being told that the apple is magical and that one bite will make all of her dreams come true.
- In the fairy tale, Snow White is not awakened by the prince’s kiss. Instead, the prince buys the coffin and Snow White’s body from the dwarfs and has it carried with him towards his castle. During the journey, a piece of apple in Snow White’s throat becomes dislodged and she awakens.
- In the film, we see the Queen plummet to her death but in the fairy tale, Snow White faces her stepmother one final time after eating the poisoned apple. The stepmother attends the wedding of Snow White and the prince, but she is stopped from causing further harm by being forced to wear hot iron shoes to her death.