When Does Cinderella Take Place in History? (and Where)

When Does Cinderella Take Place in History?

Cinderella is one of the most popular Disney princesses and is the blueprint for every single one that followed in the path. It is a classic fairytale, down to the way it is set a long time ago. This begs to question of when does this beloved story take place in history?

The story of Cinderella stretches over a time in the late nineteenth century and is most likely set somewhere in rural France.

This beloved story has a rich history and origins stemming from different cultural backgrounds, which makes her more interesting than a typical Disney retelling of a classic story. If you want to learn more about the background of this classic story keep reading. 

When does Cinderella take place in history?

Looking at children, Cinderella, her step-sisters, and her father at the start of the film, the style correspond to 1860s fashion, which is fairly consistent, but it does change slightly with the characters’ ages.

Looking at child Cinderella, her step-sisters, and her father at the start of the film, the style corresponds to 1860s fashion, which is fairly consistent, but it does change slightly with the characters’ ages.

If we presume Cinderella is 10 at the outset, this suggests that the tale takes place between 1869 and 1870. The stepmother, on the other hand, seems to be from the future, with poofier sleeves and shorter tops, as they did in the 1890s.

Clothing choices were the most critical element in deciding the time period in which the story takes place.

Drizella and Anastasia wear bustled gowns, while Cinderella’s gown was most likely worn with a crinoline. We can assume the film’s main plot takes place in the 1870s-1880s, while the prologue, in which we see Cinderella’s father meeting Lady Tremaine, takes place in the 1850s-1860s.

Cinderella’s dress may have been from a different time span since the Fairy Godmother was “behind the times.” In addition, the majority of the men wear military-style jackets as formal wear, giving the setting a Victorian feel.

When does Cinderella 2015 take place in history?

When Does Cinderella Take Place in History?

Just like the original animated movie, the 2015 live-action adaptation is set at the same time period, sometime in the 1880s. The clothing choices and architectural styles are a bit less consistent, however, the movie closely follows the original animated movie which is why it would make sense to conclude the both are taking place during the same time. 

Where does Cinderella take place?

When it comes to the question of where does the story takes place, it is actually a quite complicated question. The earlier European versions of the fairytale take place in different places depending on where the writer was from. 

The Brothers Grimm version is most likely set somewhere in Germany or a Scandinavian country since it makes the most sense with the context of the story.

 Charles Perrault’s version named Cendrillon takes place somewhere in France. This adaptation was transferred to the 2015 live-action adaptation as well.  

The protagonist of the movie, Elle is shown to speak French with her mother on a number of occasions which is why this explanation makes the most sense. The architectural styles are shown in the movie and the way the ballroom is set are further signs that the story is taking place in France since it is consistent with French architectural styles from the time period of the story.

When it comes to the 1950’s animated movie released by Disney, the answer is not as clear. Most people assume the story takes place in France. 

The architecture and the clothing would point to a central European country of the time period. However, there are very few clues that point to the place where the story takes place since all of them could work for different countries.

One moment in the animated movie that further complicates this is the fact that opening scene of the movie. In that scene, Cinderella is woken up by the sound of a tower clock going off. Many people have pointed out that, once we actually get a lock at the clock, it looks a lot like Big Ben which is why people believe the story could also be set in London.  

However, this is contradicted almost immediately once we get introduced to Cinderella’s stepmother, Lady Tremaine. As we can guess from her name, her family is French and it would make sense if the story was set in France.

What is Cinderella based on?

When Does Cinderella Take Place in History?

When talking about the origin of this iconic Disney story, most people’s minds will directly go to the tale by The Brothers Grimm named Aschenputtel, which in English translates to Cinderella.

Although their arguably grimmer version of the story is most popular and is often titled the original story, the premise of the story is actually over two millennia old.

The first known tale about a Cinderella-like figure dates from the sixth century BC in Greece. A Greek courtesan named Rhodopis has one of her shoes stolen by an eagle, which flies it all the way across the Mediterranean and drops it in the lap of an Egyptian king, who then sets of to find the owner and eventually marries her and lifts her from the lower status.

Another Cinderella-like story comes from the ninth-century Chinese fairy tale Ye Xian, in which a young girl named Ye Xian is given one wish by some mysterious fishbone, which she uses to make a gown in the hopes of finding a husband, is another of the earliest known Cinderella tales.

A monarch inherits the shoe (which this time has a gold fish-scale pattern) and sets out on a quest to find a woman with tiny feet who can wear it. The king is convinced to marry Ye Xian because of her beauty, and the cruel stepmother is crushed by stones in her cave house.

The most popular version comes from the aforementioned European version, however, when you look into it deeper, you’ll realize that The Brothers Grimm version of the story is not the first one.

The originally Italian story was given a French twist sixty years after it was written and with that modification, it became the story we know today. 

The originally Italian story was given a French twist sixty years after it was written and with that modification, it became the story we know today.  Charles Perrault, the French writer credited with inventing the fairy tale, cast Cinderella in the shape she would take for the next 400 years in Cendrillon. The glass slipper, the squash, and the fairy godmother were all introduced by him. This is the version that Disney turned into an animated film.

Another popular version that bears a striking resemblance to the most famous version, is the aforementioned Italian short stories in the 17th century in the form of a story called Cenerentola. Cenerentola has all of the features of a modern-day fairy tale — the evil stepmother and stepsisters, the spell, and the lost slipper — but it’s darker and more magical.

In the novel, a woman named Zezolla flees the king’s desire to marry her at two separate celebrations until he finally catches her at the third and prevents her from fleeing. Cenerentola is a tale about forced marriage and six evil stepsisters, rather than a story about requited love.

  • Hrvoje Milakovic is co-owner of Fiction Horizon and a big cinephile. Apart from that, he likes to read comics, play games and collect action figures. He has been featured on LifeWire, Yahoo and IMDb, to name a few.