There are quite a few major plot points that have been altered in Cinderella. For one, in the original, Cinderella goes to three different balls on three different nights, instead of just one night. She sees the prince and dances with him three different times. On the third night, the prince is smart and devises a plan. He puts pitch on the grand staircase so one of Cinderella’s shoes will get stuck. In the movie, Cinderella’s glass slipper falls off because she is in a hurry to leave. As mentioned earlier, we see the prince take a lot of initiative in the original, as he purposely gets one of her slippers in order for him to set out and look for her.
In the Grimm tale, when the prince sets out to look for his bride, the stepsisters do some pretty drastic things. The mother encourages the eldest daughter to cut off her big toe so the shoe can fit. She squeezes it on, as her foot is gushing blood. Again, as mentioned before, the little bird warns the prince that the girl is lying. When he returns to the house, the mother urges the second daughter to cut off part of her heel. Again, the daughter listens and squeezes her foot in, gushing blood as the eldest’s had. The little bird warns the prince and so he returns to the house for a third time to see if there is another daughter. Cinderella is not locked in a room to avoid being found, she is simply summoned by her father to come and try on the shoe.
The ending of the Grimm tale is quite brutal compared to the movie. When Cinderella and the prince have their wedding to get married, the stepmother and stepsisters are invited. They arrive at the church, but before the sisters could enter, two birds pecked out one eye from each of them. On the way out after the wedding ceremony, the birds pecked out their other eye. This was their punishment for being so brutal. In the movie, they are not punished. The fact that Cinderella gets the dream prince and life is punishment enough for them.
One can see why Disney wouldn’t include this ending, or cutting off parts of their foot. It is a movie geared towards kids and this is not appropriate material at a young age. However, by taking out some of these parts, they are altering the morals of the story. Is Disney saying that even when you are mean or do something bad, nothing will happen to you? Nothing happened to the stepsisters, despite all their cruelty. Or perhaps the main message Disney is trying to portray is no matter how bad your life is, good things will happen to those that deserve it.
Birds pecking out the eyes of the stepsisters at Cinderella’s wedding, as depicted in the Grimm Brother’s tale: