The ugly duckling
The main character of the story that bears the title after him. When it hatched it was very ugly and everyone was afraid of it. For this reason, he became aware of this fact. His mother loved him a lot, but the environment made him very aware that he was different. Days and seasons passed and the duck was sad because he was lonely and no one wanted to hang out with him. He was scared, too, and he felt rejected, unloved, and misunderstood. Unfortunately, this is the fate of all those who deviate from the standards and established norms of beauty. Everyone is different and those who stand out sometimes have to pay the price of isolation.
When the little duck saw the swans, he was amazed by their beauty. He wasn't envious of it, he just wanted to get a little more understanding from humans and animals so he could fit in. He could not even dream that one day he would be one of them. When he turned into a beautiful swan he was happy, but he did not become conceited. He finally made his dream come true. Like swans, the ugly duckling was finally accepted and was happy for the rest of his life.
The main character of the fairy tale is judged by his appearance and manners:
"and what a queer looking object one of them is" - they condemn him. Before he sees the world through the eyes of a beautiful swan, the ugly duckling has to gain faith in himself. He first jumped the hedge and, at his peril and risk, set off around the world. This is how the folk tale became related to the heroes: after all, incredible happiness is only at the end of the road. Along the way, not only his character is tested, but also his ability to observe and compare. In the poultry house, in the swamp, in the hut, he learns what the meaning of life is.
In the poultry house, he needed to swim well, not to miss the eel's head and keep his legs apart (notice the ironic hint of mothers who teach their children to keep their feet together). In the swamp, he needed to fly to young ladies-geese. In the hut, he needed to lay eggs, spin, and bend his back. At the same time, everyone was sure that their poultry, swamp, and hut is the center of the world: "We and the world, for they believed themselves to be half the world, and the better half too". And the little duckling quickly understood that everyone speaks differently because they see only theirs. Then he started complaining: "You don't understand me". And the third is a feat of self-sacrifice for the sake of beauty: after all, a duck is ready to die of happiness with beautiful birds. And for that, his reward was in insight. Andersen points out that the external is inseparable from the internal. If you look at the world through the prism of limited ideas, then everything new looks ugly. Those who think it is disgusting only see it poorly. The duck is not ugly - worldviews are absurd.
Here's what's important: the duck will transform as soon as those who are "acceptable" to the society see it. Only among swans will the little duck see his reflection for the first time. And he will look at himself differently: not through the eyes of ordinary-looking ducks, but through the eyes of beautiful swans. At the end of the story, the hero will win in the form of a confession: "The new one is the most beautiful of all; he is so young and pretty". And the hero himself exclaims: "I never dreamed of such happiness as this, while I was an ugly duckling."
She loved her ducklings no matter what. She was very caring and defended the ugly duckling when other ducks insulted him. She had been trying to protect him since the day he was born. Even when she saw that her offspring were different, she did not reject him. Still, she worried about how the environment would react to him. Her problem was not that she had a different child, but that her child would have to suffer through life because it didn't look as expected. She tried to help him in his struggles through life but still failed to fully protect him. They separated and she had to continue with her life without the little duckling.
Environment / Society
The environment / society in which the little duck grew up can be defined as a character, because it mostly acts collectively and has some special characteristics. The environment or society is prone to condemning and harassing anything that is different, especially if it is ugly. It is vicious and evil because they try to preserve the form as it is, and reject everything that changes the form. Society treats the duckling as if it is wrong to be what he is. Instead of making it easier for him, it makes his condition even more difficult. Not only are they rude to the duckling, but they are also violent. They separated him from his mother and sentenced him to live in solitude and loneliness. The environment accepted the ugly duckling only when it became a beautiful swan. Thus, we can say that the environment / society is the only villain in this story.