Although she is a human character whose movements should inspire fear, the witch is, in her very concept, a caricature out of a fairy tale. Her grotesque features and limping gait are inherited from an outdated style of theatrical acting that was already outdated at the time of the film. In fact, as David Johnson points out, she even breaks the fourth wall when, on several occasions, she stares at the spectator to address him in the purest Shakespearean style.

No wonder, then, that she is inspired, not by one actress, but by several actresses… and especially actors! Joe Grant also waited for a 1999 Michael Lyons interview to reveal that his then-deceased across-the-street neighbor, who picked up persimmons with her basket had inspired him to design the character.