“Beauty and Splendor”: The Ascribed Role of Princesses in Fairy Tales
Fairy tales have long been known as stories told to entertain children. Throughout the years, these stories have been passed along from one generation to the next as a method of teaching historical and moral lessons. However, we often do not give adequate attention to the stereotypes created with the common motifs in these tales. More often than not, fairy tales are based upon royalty and young women in fairy tales are obligated to become the ascribed role of princess. It is known that because of precedence,princesses must be adored and this is simply because of their outstanding appearance. By examining the fairy tales of “Sleeping Beauty in the Wood”, Perrault’s version of “Cinderella”, and “Pretty Goldilocks”, it will be evident that the stories revolve around one-dimensional, narcissistic individuals, otherwise known as Princesses.In “Sleeping Beauty in the Wood” the princess is first introduced as a child who
“had all the perfections imaginable”. (Perrault, Sleeping 66) As well, after fairies had been summoned to serve her, each one gave her a gift: to be the most beautiful person in the world, have the wit of an angel, as well as wonderful grace in everything that she did. The author creates the portrait of a shallow character which has been blessed with cursory traits. It is important to note that the princess was not born with such characterisitcs, but
the fairies, looking out for her best interest and serving her, use their supernatural powers so that she might possess these apparently essential qualities. The complete story depends on and focuses around Sleeping Beauty’s appearance. Although she has had misfortune and been pricked by a spindle and doomed to sleep for one hundred years, it is said that “her swooning had not dimmed her complexion: her cheeks were carnation and her lips were coral.” (Perrault, Sleeping 68) Again, the story is carried on the fact that the princess must live up to the expectations of being beautiful. The author feels it is important to let the reader know the status of her looks to ensure that she is till looking her best despite being under a spell. As the story progresses, the princess is subjected to mistreatment by the wicked Queen-Mother, yet in the end the beautiful looking princess prevails while the
ugly Queen-Mother is defeated. It is suggested that the unfortunate looking
Queen-Mother gets what she deserves by committing suicide and throwing herself into the cauldron of vipers and serpents. It is assumed that Sleeping Beauty’s demeanor helped her to survive only to receive her King. The princess’ husband is only upset for a moment before being comforted by: “his beautiful wife and children” who soon made him happy again. (Perrault, Sleeping 77) Again, beauty can overcome everything whether it is misfortune or grief.
Another example of the role of princesses and the...