Hansel and Gretel: characters

Hansel and Gretel: characters


  • Hansel: Typically he is considered the older, more dependable sibling.
  • He is characterised as resourceful, quick-witted, and brave, continuously devising plans to overcome obstacles and safeguard his sister.
  • His decisions, however, are sometimes driven by desperation and hunger, making him susceptible to danger.
  • The balance between Hansel’s childlike vulnerability and his determination to protect and provide for Gretel should also be remembered.


  • Gretel: Often characterised as the younger, naive and innocent sibling, compared to Hansel.
  • Her initial reliance on Hansel changes as she evolves into a brave and resourceful girl.
  • She shows her capability to take decisive action when needed, as demonstrated by pushing the witch into the oven.
  • While studying, it’s important to understand Gretel’s character evolution from being scared and passive to becoming assertive and courageous.

The Father

  • The Father: Initially presented as a weak figure, easily influenced by the stepmother to abandon his children.
  • He suffers from guilt and regret after leaving his children alone in the forest.
  • His character introduces the themes of poverty, desperation, and family ties.

The Witch and Stepmother

  • The Stepmother/Witch: She is seen as the villain who convinces the father to leave Hansel and Gretel.
  • She epitomises evil, greed, and manipulation in the story.
  • As the witch, she lures children with her gingerbread house with the intention of eating them.
  • To understand her character fully, consider how her malice and deceit can be emphasised on stage.

The Gingerbread House

  • The Gingerbread House: While not a traditional character, it acts as a symbol in the story.
  • This ‘character’ signifies temptation, danger hidden behind sweetness, and the illusion of safety.
  • Keep in mind how this ‘character’s’ symbolic nature can be portrayed on stage during a performance.