Bill Willingham's Fables: Character Analysis

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The classic fairy tale princess is demure, innocent, and pure. She represents order in a world of chaos. Her main role, then, is to sit back and let the prince save her. In his book Fables, Bill Willingham turns the idea of a chaste female lead on its head. His reinterpreted princesses are brazen, independent, malicious, and often sexual. Indeed, these traits effectively turn the princesses of Fables into princes. By completely transforming the characteristics that constitute the classic princess, Willingham brings his female characters—particularly Snow White and Rose Red—into the twenty-first century. Thus, contemporary literature serves a reflection of the ideals and beliefs of the time period it is written in. With a few exceptions, Grimm fairy tales tend to follow the same tried-and-true formula. As a reflection of the nineteenth-century societal norms, princesses were created to represent the ideal woman. Thus, Snow White can easily agree with the dwarves conditions of servitude in order to stay at their home. After all, the ideal woman at the time was a homemaker; the confines of her house were a sanctuary.…show more content…
Indeed, Snow White and Rose Red bear little resemblance to the Grimm versions. Snow White is not simply a homemaker who waits for her prince to come save her. Instead, she runs the Fable community and instates herself in her missing sister’s investigation. On the other hand, Rose Red embodies the flaws Grimm princesses are not allowed to have. Taken together, Willingham presents the two sisters not as the princesses of the Fables community, but the princes. Thus, as exemplified by their changing roles, literature mirrors the era it is written in. The Grimm version highlighted the importance of modest and naïve princesses, while Willingham’s Fables emphasizes independence and attitude in his modern
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