Rapunzel

Rapunzel - Wikipedia

The tale of Rapunzel, initially written by Friedrich Schulz in 1790 is a German fairy tale that was later published in 1812 by the Grimm Brothers. The Rapunzel fairy tale was included in a collection called “Children’s and Household Tales” (Brothers Grim, 1812). More recently, in 2010 Byron Howard, Nathan Greno, and Roy Conli created the movie “Tangled” which is based on the Grimm Brothers version of Rapunzel. The tale’s societal context is one of the powerful and powerless and has had a primary audience of adolescent girls for some years. 

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The story of Rapunzel by the Grimm Brothers (1812) begins with a typical opening, “There were once a man and a woman who had long in vain wished for a child.” One day the woman gazed into the garden and began to long for the beautiful greenery called Rapunzel.  So, she sent her husband to the forbidden garden, and as he climbed over the wall, conflict emerged.  The man found the angry enchantress standing before him. The man explained himself and the enchantress allowed the man to take as much of the greenery as he wished. However, execution of deception ascended when the enchantress wanted something in return; the couple’s child. In fear for his life, the man agreed and therefore, the enchantress cared for the child as her own, naming her Rapunzel.

Rapunzel grew into a beautiful child; however, at the age of twelve, the enchantress locked her in a tower with no staircase or door, only a window at the top of the tower.  So, the enchantress would call “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!” Rapunzel would then let down the braids of her hair, and the enchantress would climb to her. 

Rapunzel by Barbara Rogasky, Trina Schart Hyman |, Hardcover | Barnes &  Noble®

After being locked in the tower for a year or two, the king’s son happened to ride by on his horse and witnessed the enchantress calling to Rapunzel.  Rapunzel let down her braid, and the enchantress climbed up. 

The next day the prince went to the tower and cried, Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!” and so he climbed to the top of the tower. After the initial fear, the prince then asked Rapunzel to marry him, and she agreed, however, she did not know how to leave the tower.  Therefore, Rapunzel and the prince would have wait to marry. 

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Some time had passed, and the enchantress became wise of the schemes.  In the enchantress’s anger, she clutched Rapunzel’s hair and cut; then she cast Rapunzel into the desert where she would live in misery.

When the prince became aware of this, he was beside himself.  In his despair, he jumped from the tower but escaped with his life, but the thorns he fell in left him blind.  With the prince’s final act of deception, he wondered the forest for years, weeping over the loss of his wife.

Finally, he found himself in the desert where Rapunzel had given birth to twins, a boy, and a girl.  When the couple reins united, Rapunzel wept, and her tears wetted his eyes, and the prince could see again.  From there, a formulaic closure of marriage and prosperity befalls; the prince leads her and their children to his kingdom where they lived happily ever after. 

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