Once Upon A Mattress Analysis

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The Princess and The Pea
By: Lily MacNeil-Kitscher and Madolyn Hodges

“A princess is a delicate and dainty thing” sings the prince’s over-protective mother in the story “Once Upon a Mattress,” a version of the fairytale Princess and the Pea. The Princess and the Pea is a story about a prince who is looking to marry, but he will only marry the most sensitive woman that he can find, because only the most sensitive woman is a true princess.

This story has been adapted by many authors and filmmakers. Hans Christian Anderson was the first author, his story was originally published May 8, 1835. His story was quite short and simple. One film adaption of his story is “Once Upon a Mattress,” which was directed by Kathleen Marshall. In “Once Upon a Mattress” The true princess does not seem very dainty or royal, but she is the only one who passes the queen’s unpassable tests. She was a true princess.

There are many themes to be found throughout both versions of Princess and The Pea. In Anderson’s version the main themes are
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The tests that are given to princesses who are to possibly be the prince’s bride are tests of authenticity. The test of sensitivity is given because people who are of true royalty, who are the highest class, would not have worked a day in their life; they would be extraordinarily dainty and fragile. Another more modern interpretation of why the prince would want a wife so fragile is that the story contains sadomasochist elements. This story also could be interpreted to have pieces relating to the edepol complex. The mother/queen in the story, especially in Once Upon a Mattress, does not want her son to marry. She is determined to keep her son and her crown to herself. There has not been much symbolism linked to the pea itself, aside from that it represents that a true princess is so delicate that she would feel something as small as a pea placed under many mattresses and feather

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