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In fiction, stepmothers are often portrayed as being wicked and evil.[2] The character of the wicked stepmother features heavily in fairy tales; the most famous examples are Cinderella, Snow White, and Hansel and Gretel.

Stepdaughters are her most common victim, and then stepdaughter/stepson pairs, but stepsons also are victims as in The Juniper Tree[3] — sometime, as in East of the Sun and West of the Moon, because he refused to marry his stepsister as she wished,[4] or, indeed, they may make their step-daughters-in-law their victims, as in The Boys with the Golden Stars.

In some fairy tales, such as Giambattista Basile's La Gatta Cennerentola or the Danish Green Knight, the stepmother wins the marriage by ingratiating herself with the stepdaughter, and once she obtains it, becomes cruel.

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