The Little Mermaid is the main character from the fairy tale by H.C. Andersen with the same title.
She is a powerful female character with an extreme and cruel destiny.
However her life can also be understood as a common condition for everyone who tries to become who they really are – regardless of failure or success.
The fairy tale The Little Mermaid by H.C. Andersen is a story about desire and ambition, love and transformation.
It’s about the longing to be with the one you love and think you belong to and whom you think belongs to you. As well as the urge to change, to conquer your own self and fulfil your desires and become the person you really are. You might fail. What happens then and what do you do?
Probably, the character The Little Mermaid is best known as the very delicate and sweet woman, though also sad and kind of vague, sitting on a rock in Copenhagen Harbour at Langelinie. Here she has become the famous sculptural icon for Copenhagen and Denmark.
Another famous incarnation of this particular lady figure is Ariel in the Disney-version of the Little Mermaid (1989). For both children and grownups, this popular animated film has overtaken the original story. Many people remember the film much better than the fairy tale.
Well, people are not to blame. The ending is so much nicer in the Disney version. Here, Ariel gets her prince. But actually The Little Mermaid isn’t that lucky. She trades her voice for legs. She loses her voice in order to be human. But trying to make the Prince love her as a woman and marry her, she fails.
What is most important though is that the fairy tale and the character The Little Mermaid is so much more than the neat sculpture in Copenhagen and the Disney version with a Happy End.
It is about female desire and what women have to struggle with in becoming woman – in being woman – in order to act on their desires for life, love and sex.
The Little Mermaid represents a female experience in a society where women’s desire and opportunity for acting out that desire is amputated – as she herself in her body – as described by H.C. Andersen in the fairy tale was amputated.
However, the fairy tale is also about a very essential and common condition (for men as well): the struggle to become who we really are.
Like in Moby Dick, we are bound to fight the White Whale or like The Old Man on the Ocean, to wrestle with the Big Fish. Life demands that we want it and go for it.
In this struggle The Little Mermaid is not just delicate and sweet. She is brave, ambitious and way out of line. Along with her endless, unconditional love for the Prince, I believe she has also moments of rage, hate, anger, lust and most of all an incredible will power and integrity.
On this web site I present work that explores the fate and the character of the Mermaid in different set ups.
That I do to mirror what I believe is a common condition for many people: Trying to become who you really are and at the same time to fit in where you think you belong. Or need to belong.
In different ways my interpretations intend to reflect life from different angles. Like a diamond reflecting the light.
In the fairy tale the Mermaid loses her voice and is doomed to silence. Here, she has taken her voice back. I hope she will be heard.