Few people can grow up within today's society without knowing the tale of Snow White. From the Grimm Brothers to Disney, it has been told and retold to children throughout the ages. However, what is often overlooked are the true meanings within the story. Fairytales typically have underlying messages that can be found written between the lines, generally in terms of the key themes. Snow White discusses the themes of envy and beauty, and shows how humans' obsessions can lead to their own downfall as well as the harm of others. When focusing on the relationship between Snow White and her step-mother the Queen, it is evident that the combination of these two themes results in a power struggle in which beauty is seen as a commodity and is the basis for the step-mother?s envy towards Snow White.
From the very beginning of the tale it is obvious that the Queen is obsessed with beauty, ?the King took another wife, a beautiful woman, but proud and overbearing, and she could not bear to be surpassed in beauty by anyone??(Grimm and Grimm 166). Further evidence of her narcissism is her daily ritual in which she consults her magic mirror on who is the most beautiful person in the kingdom. As she repeatedly expects the answer to be in her favor, she is outraged when it appears that Snow White has surpassed her. This information drives the Queen to hate Snow White and soon she orders her death. By looking at beauty as a commodity through which power can be gained, this action can be interpreted as a means for the Queen to preserve her power through beauty. The fact that Snow White was beautiful may not have been reason enough alone to kill her, but the fear that Snow White could use her beauty in orde...
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...intertwined as main themes within the story. The Queen?s fixation with her own beauty, and then her envy over Snow White?s, was the main component in causing her death. As she attempted numerous times to murder Snow White, she was in effect writing her own death sentence, because her obsession drove her beyond rational thinking to the point where her triumph over Snow White was more important than her own life.
Grimm, Jacob, Wilhelm Grimm, Edgar Lucas, Lucy Crane, Marian Edwardes,
and Fritz Kredel. Grimms' Fairy Tales. Illustrated junior library. New York: Grosset &
Haase, Donald, ed. The Reception of Grimms' Fairy Tales : Responses,
Reactions, Revisions. Detroit : Wayne State University Press, 1993.
Sale, Roger. Fairy Tales and After: From Snow white to E. B. White.
Harvard University Press, 1979.
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