Hansel and Gretel: form

Hansel and Gretel: form

Genre and Narrative

  • “Hansel and Gretel” is a classic fairy tale, typically presented as a play in the genre of children’s theatre.
  • The story unfolds as a linear narrative, following the events in chronological order from the children’s abandonment in the forest to their final triumph over the witch.


  • The setting often shifts between the real world and the fantastical; the impoverished home of the children and the dreamlike candy house. This contrasts the harsh reality of their poverty with the illusion of abundance and safety.

Character Development and Dialogue

  • Dialogue is employed to develop character, advance plotline, and express emotions and motives. Monologues are rare, as the form largely relies on the exchange between characters to propel the narrative.

Use of Physical Theatre and Sound

  • Physical theatre may also be incorporated, especially in scenes involving the witch, to intensify the fantastical and perilous elements within the tale.
  • Music and songs may be used to heighten emotions, add drama, and aid in the portrayal of characters. This ties in with the traditions of pantomime and melodrama.

Symbolism and Moral Messages

  • Symbolism is a critical part of the form; the breadcrumb trail, for instance, represents hope and the children’s way back home. The candy house, on the other hand, symbolises a trap or deception.
  • The story is traditionally presented with clear moral messages, such as warnings against trusting strangers or venturing into dangerous places unguarded.

Drama and Humour

  • The form regularly uses heightened drama, and despite its dark themes, often incorporates elements of humour to entertain and engage the audience, especially the younger viewers.