Giovanni Franesco Straparola‘s Fairy Tale, The Pig King, A Case in Consequentialism

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A Case in Consequentialism Fairy tales today are commonly viewed as fantastical stories - often with magical characters or elements - aimed to entertain children. Moreover, they frequently contain lessons or principles to be instilled in youths, promoting the morality of future generations. The values associated with a certain fairy tale can be identified quite easily these days, especially with the more prominent and well-known stories. For instance, the modern version of Beauty and the Beast schools readers to look past the exterior of others, for true beauty is measured by one's character. However, contemporary fairy tales have often been subject to censorship and revision from their origins in order to facilitate their presentation of these ideals. Oftentimes, the essence of these ideas in the original works is not so clear-cut. In Giovanni Franesco Straparola‘s “The Pig King”, though a happy ending is eventually reached, the path taken is one filled with wrong turns. "The Pig King" begins by introducing King Galeotto of Anglia and his queen Ersilia. Though the two are described as wise and fair rulers, the hapless couple has been unable to conceive a child up to this point in their reign. Everything changes when three fairies each cast a spell on the queen, giving her the opportunity to be with child, but not without a caveat. When the birth of their child arrives, the king and queen are shocked to see that their son is in the form of a pig. Despite their initial grief and shame, the two raise their son lovingly. As the young prince grows, so do his desires to marry a beautiful maiden he has spotted in the city. The matrimony between pig and reluctant girl is arranged after promises of riches and royalty from th... ... middle of paper ... ...h peace at the end of the tale, many unnecessary struggles and burdens were cast upon them in spite of their rectitude. The magical elements and happy ending in Straparola's "The Pig King" veil a story that revolves around violence, misery, and a very bratty pig for the better part of the story. And even when peace and prosperity is reached, it comes as a result of the prince and Meldina's dubious actions. While the ends are justified by the means in this story, the depravity is quite atypical from even the most tasteless villains in modern fairy tales. Nevertheless, this type of behavior is undoubtedly present in the real world, and can be seen in many renowned and celebrated historical figures. Perhaps, once its impropriety for children is overlooked, "The Pig King" does reflect society in that ruthlessness and dishonesty can indeed lead to success.

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