Hansel and Gretel: structure

Hansel and Gretel: Structure

Overall Structure

  • The play consists of a linear narrative structure – the story progresses forward in time.
  • The structuring of the play allows for the effective buildup of tension, contributes to the plot development, character growth and elicits emotion from the audience.

Key Moments in the Narrative

  • The play opens on a scene of ABANDONMENT where Hansel and Gretel’s parents decide to leave them in the forest due to starvation. This is a key moment providing the inciting incident for the plot.
  • After the initial abandonment, there are a series of ADVENTURES AND TRIALS, where Hansel and Gretel face various fairytale creatures and dangerous situations. This forms a sequence of episodic encounters.
  • The MIDPOINT of the story sees Hansel and Gretel discovering the witch’s house made of candy. This introduces the primary antagonist of the play – the witch. It also offers false hope to the characters, as it seems like a solution to their hunger.
  • The CLIMAX is the confrontation with the witch. In this scene, thematics of bravery and cleverness are used to overcome their adversary, with Gretel pushing the witch into the oven.
  • The play ends with a RESOLUTION where the children return home to their remorseful father. The mother is absent, having mysteriously died. This gives finale to the primary conflict and ends their ordeal.

Key Scenes

  • The initial abandonment: This is the catalyst for the entire narrative, everything that follows stems from this moment.
  • Discovery of the Candy House: This moment of relief and hope quickly turns into danger as they meet the antagonist of the play - the witch.
  • The death of the witch: Gretel’s bravery shines through in this scene, and it ties up the conflict with the witch.
  • The Final Reunion: The children’s reunion with their father offers a satisfying conclusion to the narrative, even though they have lost their mother.

Remember, when discussing the structure, you should mention how it affects the audience’s understanding and reactions, and how it contributes to the development of the play’s themes and character arcs.