An Analysis Of Grimm Brother's Rapunzel

1388 Words6 Pages
The Grimm Brother’s “Rapunzel” is arguably the best-known version of the classic story after the Disney version. As fairytales go, Rapunzel does not stray too far from the stereotypical representations of female characters, featuring the good mother, the misrepresented evil witch of a stepmother and the passive princess. Placed into their boxes, and never allowed to change the course of their storyline, these women are denied any form of activity or satisfaction unless their male counterpart allows it to be so. Through the investigation of the Grimm Brother’s “Rapunzel”, a well as looking at how these characters are represented in different versions of the tale, it is clear that the patriarchal and sexist ideologies of the times these stories…show more content…
Though they are represented as opposites, the witch and Rapunzel’s mother share the yearning for motherhood (Fisher and Silber 128). In other versions of “Rapunzel” the witch figure has varied representations, appearing sometimes as an ugly ogre that literally embodies her evil character, occasionally as a fairy, or even in several renditions as a nun (Getty 48). Though the magical representation of a fairy, ogre or witch seems to fit the evil nature of the witch’s actions, the interesting approach is that of the witch figure as a nun. Getty suggests that this could be based on a more realistic story, as the plant the mother craves, which is often translated as parsley, would only be grown in a few places, such as convents, due to its price (48). To get the plant Rapunzel’s parents would have encountered a nun, who would perhaps have seen the mother as a sinning, pregnant women and agree to raise the child in the convent in return for the plant (Getty 48). Parsley, interestingly, is a plant associated with abortion or assisting in initiating labour, which asks a much deeper question about the nature of the cravings that Rapunzel’s mother experienced (Warner). The nun and convent represent an oppressive figure and a place from which Rapunzel would not have been allowed to leave, to protect her from the sexual lures found outside the walls,…show more content…
Though in the Grimm Brother’s “Rapunzel” we see a somewhat justified reason for the witch’s actions, as Rapunzel was voluntarily traded into her care by her parents, she is still the evil character and appears to have very little control over her actions in the story as the “wicked stepmother” character never does (Williams 262). Rapunzel in her physical contrast is just as restrained in action, as the beautiful princess is bound to be, for she cannot “think, act, initiate…or question” (Dworkin 42). Though it can be argued that Rapunzel is one of the few who actually try to escape her imprisonment in several editions of the tale, she inevitably is still the innocent figure who waits for her prince to save her. There are a few instances of Rapunzel being active in some versions of the tale, escaping with the prince, learning magic from the witch, using magical items to delay the witch while she escapes or enlisting the help of the male figure to kill the witch (Getty 39-40). That being said, in the Grimm Brother’s version, and in many of the others, she is still only spurred into action by the prince and the end goal remains to be marriage. In the Grimm Brother’s tale the prince wants to take her away, and here Rapunzel is temporarily spurred into action, asking the prince to bring silks to build a rope to escape the
Open Document