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Mythological Strategies In “Sleeping Beauty”

Most people have a general knowledge of what mythology is, such as Greek and Roman gods and goddesses. However when applied to literature, it takes on an entirely different meaning. Archetypes and symbols are methods commonly used by authors to unify their stories without blatantly stating the theme of the work. They drop subtle hints that lead into the universal meaning that the work revolves around to engage the reader and force them to think in a new way. In his short story “Sleeping Beauty”, Walt Disney uses archetypes and symbols to demonstrate the expectations in modern society and the happy ending that many people today strive after. In “Sleeping Beauty” almost every character represents an archetype. The Queen represents a loving mother because she tried her hardest to protect her daughter from the curse, believing that if she did this, her daughter could escape it. She had only the best intentions for her daughter, however she could not avoid the inevitable. And when the Princess did prick her finger, the Queen was “so heart-broken that she died.” The Witch, whom the Queen forgot to invite to the birth, easily corresponds to the evil villain archetype. She arrives unwanted and uninvited at the christening and immediately casts a spell on the child. This barging in and intentionally harming an innocent child conforms directly to the behavior of a villain and causes an instantaneous feeling of hatred of the Witch. Then there is the caring grandmother, embodied by the good fairy. Once she finds out about the spell the Witch cast upon the Princess, she quickly counters it to lessen the danger the Princess may happen upon. The good fairy tries her best to calm the Queen, but to no avail. In the end, a respect for the fairy h... ... middle of paper ... ...ses this strategy to reach into the ideas that motivate people in their everyday lives and brings them out into the open. This adds to the overall style of the work, which imitates many of his other works such as “Cinderella”, “Snow White” and “The Little Mermaid.” All of these works allow people to realize their inner hopes of that happy ending, because it has the ideal plot and characters, which they can easily identify because they remain the same throughout each piece of literature. These archetypes eventually permeate the culture and become socially accepted by people around the world. Works Cited Disney, Walt. "Original Tale: Sleeping Beauty." Disney Storybook. Frank Pilhofer, 05 Dec. 2006. Web. 04 Jan. 2012. . Meyer, Michael. The Bedford Introduction to Literature. New York: St. Martin's, 1987. Print.

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