"she was the child of his desire and the Countess hated her"
'Snow White', 'Hansel and Gretel' and 'Cinderella' are good examples. There are various theories behind the existence of the character. In the past, a significant number of women died in childbirth, making it highly likely that another woman would raise the child. It has been suggested that a stepmother may resent the constant reminder of her predecessor - whom her husband would otherwise still be married to - and deliberately favours her own children more. She is also shown to be jealous of the youth and beauty of a stepdaughter who is blossoming into womanhood, no doubt reminding her father of the way her natural mother once looked.