In Russian and foreign fairy tales, all characters are deliberately divided into exclusively positive and negative ones. After all, it is easier for a small listener to understand the difference between good and evil, good and bad deeds.
Positive heroes of Russian folk tales
The most popular Russian fairytale hero is Ivanushka the Fool, however, this image does not always personify exclusively positive features. In the fairy tale "Ivan the Peasant Son and the Miracle Yudo" the image of the Russian Ivan is presented most beautifully and unambiguously. The hard-working hero fights with a sword and bare hands, cunning and ingenuity with the monsters that have flooded the Russian land. He is kind and handsome, bold and courageous, strong and clever, undoubtedly, this is the most positive image of the Russian fairy tale.
Another Ivan in "The Tale of Vasilisa the Golden Scythe" also saves all the people and their loved ones from the terrible snake that captured the Russian beauties and his own sister. Ivan Gorokh is a strong and formidable hero, ready to deal with any evil, defend his native land and defend his sister's honor. But in the fairy tale "Ivan Tsarevich and the Gray Wolf" the wolf acts as a more positive character, Ivan Tsarevich was only lucky to meet such a faithful and devoted friend. The same tendency can be observed in the fairy tales "The Little Humpbacked Horse", "By the Pike's Command" and many others.
Russian people for the most part believed that "the humpbacked grave would fix it," therefore, the transformation of the hero from a negative character into a positive one is not typical for Russian fairy tales.
The most positive female characters in Russian fairy tales are Vasilisa the Beautiful and the Wise. The Russian beauty is, first of all, distinguished by intelligence and kindness, she helps her chosen one to defeat evil with cunning and ingenuity, to get a magic object or directs him with wise advice. Oddly enough, in some fairy tales even Baba Yaga can be positive, which supplies the traveler with parting words, ancient knowledge and provides material assistance in the form of magical objects: a scarf, a comb, a ball of thread or a mirror.
Positive heroes of foreign fairy tales
The heroes of European fairy tales are fundamentally different from Russian ones, they are physically weak, intelligence and cunning are not sung in them as in Russian folklore. In the first place are such qualities as kindness, humility, love and hard work. Snow White and Cinderella are downtrodden beauties, born for love and luxury, but, by the will of evil people, they are obliged to play the role of maids. They do not make any effort to change their fate, they are submissive to it and are freed from the shackles only by chance. Moreover, the main idea of such tales is the idea that only virtue and diligence are necessary for the triumph of justice, and God or good fairies will generously reward the heroine for all hardships.
Pinocchio is an Italian writer’s tale about the transformation of a stupid, naughty and, at times, cruel wooden doll into a kind and caring boy. Pinocchio or Pinocchio are some of the most positive children's characters.
Warrior heroes are rarely represented in foreign fairy tales; Cipollino is considered one of the few such characters, although this is more an image of a revolutionary fighting dictators against the bourgeoisie and slavery. Another positive hero, the medieval revolutionary Robin Hood, also stands apart. The collective image of the noble robber-warrior is romanticized and spiritualized. He fights against evil in the face of cruel feudal lords, against lawlessness and injustice.
Eastern fairy tales in their ideas are closer to Russian ones, for example, Aladdin is an analogue of Ivan the Fool or Emelya. Eastern characters, like Russians, are often helped by cunning, dexterity and resourcefulness; the most popular hero is the "Baghdad thief," a criminal who managed to outwit dozens of moneybags and was never caught. In almost every Arabian tale, there is also a guiding hand - as in the Russian tradition, this is a woman. The clever and cunning wife of Ali Baba, Sakine, Scheherazade, like the Vasilises in Russian fairy tales, personify such ingenuity and ingenuity that is inherent only in women.