One of the elements of a story that impacts a plot’s wholeness and meaning is how the characters are crafted by the author. The characters of Ella Enchanted all possess distinct personalities that together contribute to the success of the storyline and the triumph of the themes purposely illustrated by Levine. Here are the main characters of Ella Enchanted:
Ella of Frell
Ella is an outspoken, strong-willed girl who unfortunately is given the gift of obedience by the fairy Lucinda. This spells doom for the life of Ella as she is obligated to obey anything that she is told to do, even to the point of endangering her own life.
Like Cinderella in the original fairy tale, she loses her mom at a young age and is left by her father at the mercy of her evil stepmother and stepsisters. Unlike the tale, however, Ella refuses to succumb to fate’s ill treatment of her–instead, she struggles to fight her injustices by her wit, intelligence, and determination. This image of Ella depicts a stark contrast (and a role model) to women who are on the verge of accepting their sad destinies by illustrating that good will, perseverance, and a strong sense of self (as seen in how she broke free from the curse by digging deep down to her real character) indeed win in the end. We also see that Ella’s ability to sacrifice her happiness for the sake of her loved ones makes her character shine through.
The prince in this novel is portrayed not as a dashing debonair with a flat personality. Prince Charmont, an heir to the throne left by his ill-fated father, is a picture of a young leader about to take on the helm of a kingdom at a relatively young age. Unlike the fairy tale prince, Charmont falls in love with Ella not because of her beauty alone. Her humor, wit, and genuine personality deeply touch the prince. Judging from this alone, the prince can be viewed as someone whose character runs deeper than the good looks every other girl in the kingdom is admiring. His initial hesitation to make decisions for the kingdom show that he, too, fears the unknown–just like any normal person would–making him human and realistic.
Dame Olga, Hattie, Olive
Dame Olga, Ella’s evil stepmother, and Hattie and Olive, her stepsisters, are the external antagonists in the life of our main character. While Ella’s father is away for business, the three conspire to make Ella’s life miserable by utilizing their knowledge of Ella’s curse to put her in constant danger.
Their personalities closely resemble their versions in the fairy tale–rich, trivial, money-driven, and prestige addicts. They are too caught up with worrying about their looks and reputation to let anything–or anyone–get in the way of their goals. Faithful to their fairy tale versions, these three personalities' role in the life of Ella was consistent from start to end.
Although their characters may seem flat, we can glean from a closer examination that these characters actually exist in real life–those that prioritize prestige and power above all else are rampant in society nowadays. The existence of these three characters does not just provide villains for the story, but allows the reader to contemplate on what sorts of evils plague the real world.
Not just your common fairy tale, Ella Enchanted illustrates themes and characteristics that are worthy of emulation–especially those that radiate from Ella. The characters of Ella Enchanted and how their personalities mixed to create the simple yet meaningful plot all contribute to making this novel one of the most well-loved adaptations of our favorite traditional fairy tales.