Rapunzel Character Analysis

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In this source, Alfred and Mary Elizabeth David, philologists at the Institute for Central European Folklife Research, interpret the literary and rhetorical impact of the Grimm’s Children’s and Household Tales. They aim to examine the collection in a new light “upon the hundredth anniversary of the death of Jacob Grimm” (180). Throughout the source, David asserts that the Grimm Brothers’ view of nature prejudiced their revisions of the oral folktales. As an introduction into his argument, David clears a misconception that all of the fairy tales were originally derived from oral recollections of German peasants. The German Romanticism movement of the early 1800s swayed the Brothers to incorporate elements of nature into the motifs and morals …show more content…
While the fundamental plot events remain the same in both the first and seventh editions, there are several stylistic and content changes that I find worthy of analysis. These include the influence of Christianity in the addition of moral motifs (and the removal of immoral content) and the juxtaposition of good and evil through florid descriptions. Between the first and seventh editions, there are several examples that show how criticism from a largely Christian audience could have affected the Grimm Brothers’ edits of Rapunzel. First, the phrase that Rapunzel’s mother “came to be with child” was changed to “the good Lord would fulfill her wish [of having a child]”. Rapunzel’s sexual tryst with the Prince was covered up with innocent turns of phrase. For example, the phrase "Why it is that my clothes..no longer fit me?" was replaced by the more chaste, "Why is it that you [Frau Gothel] are more difficult to pull up than the young prince?". This imbues Rapunzel with a more childlike sense of naivete. Instead of stating that Rapunzel and the Prince lived in joy during their time together in the tower, the seventh edition states that “they loved each other dearly, like man and wife”, almost to excuse the premarital pregnancy. Even more interesting is that when the witch discovers that Rapunzel has been meeting with the prince, she calls Rapunzel a “godless …show more content…
As part of a novel that discusses the origins of classical fairy tales, this excerpt of Chapter Four examines the contributions of the Grimm Brothers. Zipes discusses who the Grimm Brothers are largely by listing and detailing major life events and potential influences, primarily those political and economic. The Grimm Brothers grew up in an affluent family, and while they received a rigorous education, they "were distinctly fond of country life" (62), an opinion they maintained for the rest of their lives. Upon their father 's tragic death, the Brothers suddenly found themselves in economic distress and were forced to rely on distant family members for financial support. They attended a "prestigious" (62) high school, but were often treated poorly because of their socioeconomic status; however, they maintained their industrious natures and persevered. During their time at University, they were mentored by Professor Savigny, who taught the Brothers that a country 's laws are derived from the "customs and language of...[that country’s] people" (63). This inspired the Grimm Brothers to become students of "ancient German literature and folklore" (63), later pursuing careers as librarians and philologists. However, it was not until 1810 that, when requested by colleague Clemens

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