Religious Symbolism in Grimm's Rapunzel Essay

Religious Symbolism in Grimm's Rapunzel Essay

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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.

 

The relation between "Rapunzel" and the story of Christianity is apparent immediately as a result of the setting. The witch's garden is described as "a beautiful garden full of the finest vegetables and flowers," depicting perfectly the Garden of Eden from Genesis. Now, with the scene in place, the Grimm brothers begin further correlation between the two stories.

 

The witch, indicative of the serpent, tempts the mother and father with her rampion so that she might steal their child. In the story of creation, the serpent has the same idea in mind for Adam and Eve. The serpent knows that if man sins against God, he is unable to enter heaven and therefore must face the alternative, a life of eternal suffering in hell. In eating the forbidden fruit, the parents are cursing their child, humanity, to a life apart from God. But, just as with Adam and Eve, the parents must also endure earthly hardships, characterized by childbirth. In Genesis 3:17, Eve is cursed to bear children through intense pain; consequently, Rapunzel was born. ...


... middle of paper ...


...shown through Rapunzel's response.

 

The witch learns of Rapunzel's interaction with the Prince and places her in the desert, and when the Prince climbs the tower to seek Rapunzel, he finds the witch waiting there for him. At this point, the witch's assumption and belief that she has won coincides perfectly with Satan's arrogance in believing that by killing Christ, he would forever have dominion over man. To the witch's dismay, the Prince hurls himself from the tower, putting out his eyes on the thorns below. This is symbolic of Christ's conscious sacrifice for humanity on the hills over Nazareth. The Prince wanders blindly through the desert, and, after several years, is reunited with his beloved Rapunzel. Ultimately, the story's happy ending is a realization of God's promise that through Jesus Christ, we are forgiven and find everlasting life.

 

 

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