(Un)Happy Endings of Andersen’s Tales: a Semiotic Approach

Aiste Vitkune


This paper focuses on the exploration of the phenomenon of unhappy endings in the famous tales of Hans Christian Andersen. The tradition of using happy and unhappy endings in fairy tales and other literary works is presented, highlighting the tendencies and general influences in literature. The era of Romanticism transformed unhappy endings of stories into happy ones and changed the way a child was regarded in general. However, not all of Andersen's tales, even though created in the spirit of Romanticism, have a traditional happy ending. Five of Andersen's tales were analysed in this study, by applying a semiotic approach revealing the ambiguity of the endings of H. C. Andersen's fairy tales and identifying the significant role of binary oppositions in the interpretation of the narratives’ endings.



H. C. Andersen, fairy tales, happy ending, binary opposition, semiotic approach.

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