The story “The Little Mermaid” is a famous narrative written by Hans Christian Andersen, a Danish author of the 19th century, (2/4/1805- 4/81875), which recounts the life of a young mermaid, who, falling in love with a prince, wants to have a human body to be with him.
Throughout the story, Andersen explores themes such as physical beauty versus inner beauty, communication, sacrifice, resignation, the difficulty of adjusting to new surroundings, and unrequited love.
Over the years, “The Little Mermaid” has been adapted in different formats, Disney’s animated version, released in 1989, is the one that popularized the tale.
Deal with the Witch
In the original tale, the Little Mermaid makes a deal with the Sea Witch, who cuts out her tongue in exchange for giving her a human form. This is torture for the poor mermaid, since she doesn’t know how to use her new legs and walks painfully.
It is important to understand the story that the witch creates a time line, that is, that she must marry the prince within a certain period of time. The alternative offered by the witch is to kill the prince, otherwise, the witch will turn the mermaid into sea foam..
In the original story, the prince falls in love with another woman and the mermaid must decide whether or not to kill the prince to save herself. But she choses to jump into the sea and, as the witch predicted, she turns into foam, but thanks to the intervention of the spirit of the air, the little mermaid achieves immortality.
A love story
Andersen was inspired to write the tale after hearing various legends and myths about mermaids. His goal was to write a narrative that combined fantasy elements with her personal story.
Actually the story reflects the true story of Hans Christian Andersen, when he finds out that his lover and love of his life married a woman.
The passionate correspondence from Anderson to Edvard Collins shows his despair: “I long for you, yes, this moment I long for you as if you were a lovely girl… I have never wanted to spank anyone as much as you… but I have not loved anyone as much for myself as you… My feelings for you are those of a woman, the femininity of my nature and our friendship must remain a mystery.”
Anderson in the story “The Mermaid” shows us that she doesn’t just want a particular person, she wants to belong, she wants to come out of the depths and find acceptance without having to give up her voice, even if she has to wait 300 years to do so.
As we know the little mermaid is mute, because it is a way that Anderson has of expressing the prohibition of speaking freely about his love, the change of his tail of peace for human legs is to show his willingness to adapt to a forbidden love.
In the true story, the little mermaid, like Anderson, suffers their fate, their beloved ends up marrying another and both feel that they have lost the love of their lives.
I don’t think Anderson would disagree with the happy ending of the Disney version, where the little mermaid marries her beloved prince, because that was the ending he would have wanted for his own life.
Cesar Leo Marcus was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Doctor (PhD) in International Logistics and Foreign Trade, and Master (MBA) in Economic Sociology, he was professor of both chairs at the Universities of Madrid (Spain) and Cordoba (Argentina).
A journalist, he publishes in newspapers in California, Miami, and New York. He is a writer, he published twelve books, and a literary editor, director of Windmills Editions. He currently resides in California.