Olaf and the Pilgrim's Progress

I will freely admit, this is a bit of a stretch...but I do find some literary similarities between Olaf and Christian, the main character in The Pilgrim's Progress. Olaf has a main goal just like Christian--Olaf's goal is to experience summer, while Christian's goal is to experience Heaven. Throughout the courses of both their stories, Olaf and Christian suffer some struggles and even some defeats, but neither ever lose sight of their ultimate goal, and they don't let anything stop them from pressing on. See below:

Character Arc Comparison Table


Christian (the Pilgrim)

Begins life as a not-quite-animate snowman, first created by Elsa as a little girl Begins in the City of Destruction, going on a pilgrimage to the Celestial City (Heaven)
Meets Anna and Kristoff in the forest where they are fruitlessly searching for Elsa Briefly trapped in the Slough of Despond with heavy burdens, tempted to live in the Village of Morality
Dreams of experiencing summer, and helps Anna and Kristoff stay focused on their goal with his optimism Goes through the Wicket Gate to the Holy Way with his new companions, learns from the Interpreter (the Holy Spirit)
  Loses his burdens at the Cross, gains new clothes and a sealed scroll to give him entrance to the Celestial City
Accidentally startles Elsa into remembering what happened after his creation, triggering her painful memories Struggles up Difficulty Hill, sleeps, loses his scroll for a bit
  Gets rest, new armor, and a chance for recuperation at Palace Beautiful
  Goes through the Valley of Humiliation and the Valley of the Shadow of Death
  Detoured a bit at Vanity Fair, witnesses a fellow pilgrim be martyred
Finds Anna where Hans has left her to die, helps her survive the cold of Elsa's accidental attack by stoking the fire for her Is imprisoned in Doubting Castle, fights Giant Despair
  Climbs the Delectable Mountains, rests in the Country of Beulah for a little while
  Crosses the Dark River (death)
Finally gets to experience summer (though he needs a permanent snow cloud to do it) Presents the scroll at the gate of the Celestial City, gains entrance

A Little Deeper Analysis

Though not every point of The Pilgrim's Progress matches up with Olaf's character arc in Frozen, it's worth remembering that Olaf is a minor character and thus does not get nearly as much development or screen time as he would if he were the hero of the story. I find Olaf's journey to be a somewhat reduced and simplified version of Christian's, more approachable for kids and more befitting a minor character's role. But both characters' story arcs are about tests of faith, and overcoming spiritual obstacles.

Of course, The Pilgrim's Progress is an overtly Christian allegory, while Frozen is not necessarily Christian, but the message of allowing your end goal to inspire you to greater courage and compassion is there in both literary works. And because of the endurance and faith both characters show during their stories, they both get to experience their goals realized at last!