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Some of the most important morals taught in fairy tales and similar stories can come from the antagonists of the story. In the story of Cinderella, the antagonists are her mean stepmother and stepsisters, who exhibit many negative characteristics like greed, pompousness, and meanness. The interesting thing is that many of the villains in fables and stories possess magical powers and/or do heinous acts. In contrast, the villains of the story Cinderella are normal, albeit bad-charactered, people. This makes the story, and the situations in the story, more relatable, in a way, to kids. Here are some of the lessons that can be learned by examining these characters.

Having a lot of money can’t replace a good personality

All the money or fashionable clothes in the world can’t serve as a substitute for a good heart. Similarly, you can’t hide a bad personality in riches. The stepsisters and stepmother have everything they could want in material possessions, but that doesn’t mean they have everything they could want in general. They are missing things that can’t be bought with money…good personalities and true love. The stepsisters mistakenly think they can use their expensive clothes and jewelry to attract the Prince at the ball, when, really, these are just outward appearances when the inside matters most. And no one is attracted to someone whose personality is rotten.

True beauty is on the inside

From a quick outside perspective, one might think the stepsisters, with their fancy dresses and well-styled hair, are more beautiful than Cinderella, who was stuck wearing a patched dress made out of rags. However, knowing the story and the girls’ personalities, Cinderella is by far more beautiful than her stepsisters. One can look past even the most ragged clothes and outward appearance as long as that person has a good personality.

Being mean gets you nothing in the end

This is easily relatable to everyday life. Lots of times kids may see that it seems like those who have bad personalities get everything they want. And often these people are the ones who appreciate things the least. But often, in the end, it all balances out and, as the saying goes, they “get what’s coming to them.” The stepsisters may have seemed to have it good in the beginning, but their dreams of getting the Prince didn’t materialize, and in the end, it was Cinderella, not the stepsisters, that lived happily ever after.