A Psychoanalytic Interpretation of Rapunzel Essay

A Psychoanalytic Interpretation of Rapunzel Essay

Length: 1098 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

A Psychoanalytic Interpretation of Rapunzel  


   The familiar story of Rapunzel, as told by the brothers Jacob Ludwig Carl and Wilhelm Carl Grimm, takes on new meaning with a psychoanalytic interpretation. It is a complex tale about desire, achievement, and loss. The trio of husband, wife, and witch function as the ego, id, and superego respectively to govern behavior regarding a beautiful object of desire, especially when a prince discovers this object.

The story begins in a rural house where a man and woman live without children, near a walled garden tended by a frightening witch. The first line of the story tells us that they yearn for a child. It is clear that there exists in this house an almost tangible feeling of desire to produce offspring. The Freudian concept of the libido or the life force explains this desire as a product of the unconscious id(Guerin 129). To show further the prevalence of the id in this house, which in itself is a symbol of the human mind, the wife covets a vegetable, rampion, which she sees in the neighboring garden from her tiny window to the outside. "I shall die unless I can have some of that rampion to eat."(Grimm 514) The wife comes to represent this selfish element of the mind, and this is her primary function in the story. When she speaks, both times she is only asking for something that she wants. She has no name, as she does not function as a full character.

Her husband must take on the role of mediator to weigh her selfish desires against laws and morals that condemn stealing. This role represents the ego, which regulates the selfish id and the strict moral superego to reach a decision (Guerin 130). He decides that his wife's urgent need for the rampion outweighs the moral ...


... middle of paper ...


...from the ground. These roots may very well be radishes, or rampion, which is his wife's namesake.

In the end, the witch's social control balances out the desire of the prince for a wife. The man and woman, ego and id, living in a small house, the mind, bargain with the witch, the superego, who is outside of the house and represents laws and rules. They produce a child who becomes a commodity, and the rest of the story tells of the struggle between superego and id to settle the ownership of this prize.

Works Cited

Grimm, Jacob Ludwig Carl and Wilhelm Carl. "Rapunzel." Stories. Ed. Eric S. Rabkin. New York: HarperCollins College Publishers, 1995. 514-517.

Guerin, Wilfred L., Earle Labor, Lee Morgan, Jeanne C. Reesman, and John R. Willingham. A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. 125-156.

 

 

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Psychoanalytic Criticism Of Oedipus The King Essay

- The Psychoanalytic criticism is a literary criticism that is used to interpret texts and their deeper meaning of psychology. Sigmund Freud is the founder of this literary criticism and it has been put into practice since its conception. It is used to psychologically analyze a certain author or a certain character in a work. Its purpose is to understand a work by treating the chosen character as a case study and to look for certain psychological tendencies in the actions or thoughts of the characters....   [tags: Sigmund Freud, Psychology, Psychoanalytic theory]

Strong Essays
992 words (2.8 pages)

The Formalistic Approach to Hay's Rapunzel Essay

- The Formalistic Approach to Hay's Rapunzel Prayer has been always a symbol of faith, and even in modern poetry it is still used as a desperate cry to the One in Heaven. One of the great examples of this desperate cry would be Sara Henderson Hay's "Rapunzel".After reading her modern version, familiarity with Grimm's fairy tale "Rapunzel" will reveal a completely new interpretation. Sara Hay chooses Rapunzel's prayer to be in the sonnet structure. Sonnet, being a part of a lyric genre, represents the most personal and direct speaking manner....   [tags: Hay Rapunzel Essays]

Strong Essays
834 words (2.4 pages)

Significant Images in the Grimms’ Version of Rapunzel” Essay example

- Significant Images in the Grimms’ Version of “Rapunzel” “…the witch took her to the middle of the forest and shut her up in a tower that had neither stairs nor door, but only a little window at the very top.” (p. 74) A feeling of suspense is instilled just by reading this single line in “Rapunzel” by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Elements evoking emotion in a story, such as suspense, increase the degree of entertainment thereby enhancing quality and enjoyment factors. This story is both superficially entertaining and subconsciously intriguing....   [tags: Grimm Rapunzel Essays]

Strong Essays
1120 words (3.2 pages)

A Feminist View Of Rapunzel Essay

- A Feminist’s View of “Rapunzel” The Grimm Brothers’ “Rapunzel” encourages women to subscribe to domestic roles. Through the tales of various female characters, “Rapunzel” teaches women to embrace their domesticity even at the risk and disadvantage of such a single-faceted lifestyle. The first female character is Rapunzel’s biological mother, who embodies the domestic women by relying on her husband and never leaving her house. Her husband encounters the enchantress in her own garden, who, though supernatural, cannot expand beyond the domestic realm....   [tags: Fairy tale, Brothers Grimm, Rapunzel]

Strong Essays
1244 words (3.6 pages)

Interpretation And Interpretation Of Interpretation Essay

- Much like the underneath of your childhood bed, dreams are chaotic and need to be cleaned out. If not those peanut butter sandwiches forgotten under the mattress of the unconscious tend to mold quickly. Soon those repressions that were forgotten start to stink and cause the dreamer agitation in their waking hours. Freud believed heavily in the use of interpretation to unpack dream’s latent content and often spoke of interpretation playing a key role in his understandings of psychoanalysis. However some would argue against the use of interpretation, Such as Sontag in her essay ‘Against Interpretation’....   [tags: Sigmund Freud, Psychoanalysis, Unconscious mind]

Strong Essays
1157 words (3.3 pages)

The Structure and Underlining Meanings of Rapunzel by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

- The Structure and Underlining Meanings of Rapunzel by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm The story of Rapunzel, by the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, has the same basic structure as all other fairy tales born from the oral tradition; what is commonly referred to as the opening, main part and ending, is the foundation of the tale. It is around this clearly defined three-part structure of the plot, that invisible layers of meaning exist – often very different for each reader. Between the clever design of the plot – which allows several stories to surface within a seeming individual tale – and multiple layers underneath the literal action, exists a limitless journey of personal exploration....   [tags: Grimm Brothers Fairytales Rapunzel Essays]

Strong Essays
1407 words (4 pages)

Religious Symbolism in Grimm's Rapunzel Essay

- Religious Symbolism in Grimm's Rapunzel   A fairy tale is seemingly a moral fiction, intended mainly for children. A lesson in critical analysis, however, strips this guise and reveals the naked truth beneath; fairy tales are actually vicious, logical and sexual stories wearing a mask of deceptively easy language and an apparent moral. Two 19th Century writers, the Grimm brothers, were masters at writing these exaggerated stories, bewitching young readers with their prose while padding their stories with allusion and reference: an example of which is "Rapunzel." Grimm's "Rapunzel" is packed with religious symbolism, which lends a new insight to the meaning of this classic story....   [tags: Grimm Rapunzel Essays]

Strong Essays
723 words (2.1 pages)

The Disturbing Tone of Rapunzel Essay

- The Disturbing Tone of Rapunzel The story of "Rapunzel" has been passed throughout generations in the form of a fairy tale. Typical fairy tales come to a resolution ending ‘happily ever after’. It seems that there is always a villain, always a hero, and some sort of a moral or lesson to be grasped from each story (Rhetoric 102K/L class discussion/lecture, January 18, 2001). Most of the traditional fairy tales involve a ‘damsel in distress’, in which she is happily rescued by a true love....   [tags: Grimm Rapunzel Essays]

Strong Essays
772 words (2.2 pages)

Essay about Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm’s Rapunzel

- The Consequence of Desire in Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm’s Rapunzel Historical scholars, patriots, and entertainers of an accidental nature: all have been used to describe Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the two German brothers who, in the 19th century, dedicated much of their lives to the collection and publication of folk-tales in an attempt to help define the cultural identity of their country. The entertainment value of this collection was probably not considered at the time of its origination, especially by the collectors themselves, whose main motivation was a sense of “nationalism and Romanticism” (Hallett, xvii)....   [tags: Brothers Grimm Rapunzel Essays]

Strong Essays
2966 words (8.5 pages)

Rapunzel Essay

- Rapunzel I have always enjoyed this fairytale, about a young woman with exceptionally long hair who is kept prisoner in a tall tower by a sorceress. The Grim Bothers and Zelinky's version is very different from each other. Zelinsky retells the story in another way. He brings the story alive and I was able to experience in a whole new way. One thing for readers to remember is that many fairytales were originally for adults, so that is the why they may not always seem quite age appropriate. Zelinky's version relates that Rapunzel reveals that she has had a visitor in the tower when she asks the sorceress to help her with her dress for, "it is growing so tight around my waist, it does not wa...   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
577 words (1.6 pages)