Donkeyskin's Cinderella Literary Analysis
These elements contribute to conveying the woman vs woman conflict discussed earlier that appears while discussing the beauty or evil roles aspect of oppressive fairy tales. The version of Cinderella written by Charles Perrault, Donkeyskin, is a salient example that uses the death of the Queen pushed the story with her strange request given to the husband about the next person he marries. In the event that the King wanted to wed again, the other woman must be “more beautiful, more accomplished…” than herself. As the months go by, the King decides that his daughter fits the characteristics that his deceased wife gave him. With the request, he doesn’t have any qualms performing his incestual desire to marry his daughter. During the Cinderella section in Maria Tatar’s book, The Classic Fairy Tales, she discusses this tendency to write women into the evil role in fairy tales, even if they’re absent. With the case of Donkeyskin, the “wicked” woman is dead. Although, the Queen in this tale isn’t a common antagonist because she died in the first scene, her request reflects onto her daughter. The seemingly harmless request in the Queen’s eyes crumbles into a sickening desire that ends up passed off as nothing extreme and all is forgiven at the end. The absence of the Donkeyskin’s mother created this involuntary conflict between the two, separating them into the beauty role and the evil role. Even though, the Queen’s request didn’t have initial wickedness in it, her deed is perceived as worse than the incestual desire attempted by the King. Similar to the Sleeping Beauty example, it demonstrates that power struggle with men and women showing who receive forgiveness at the end. In addition, this power struggle is shown how Donkeyskin carries herself through this story. Unlike Talia, Donkeyskin’s purpose doesn’t revolve around breeding and she has a small amount of agency.