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Rapunzel Characters

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  • 0:04 Damsel in Distress
  • 0:41 Rapunzel's Parents
  • 1:38 The Witch
  • 3:00 Rapunzel and the Prince
  • 4:15 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

A beautiful girl is taken from her parents and locked away in a tower until a handsome prince saves her. In this lesson, we will analyze the characters from ''Rapunzel'' as told by the Brothers Grimm.

Damsel in Distress

This generation of women is rarely satisfied playing the damsel in distress, but this archetype is typical of fairy tales. A fairy tale is a fantasy that involves royalty, magic, an evil character, and a happy ending. In Rapunzel by the Brothers Grimm, a witch takes the beautiful Rapunzel, our 'damsel in distress,' away from her flawed parents and places her in a tower in the middle of the wood. The King's son happens by the tower and is enchanted by her beautiful voice. Rapunzel and the King's son try to figure out a way to be together, but their plans are nearly thwarted by the evil witch. Let's learn more about the characters in this story.

Rapunzel's Parents

The story begins with Rapunzel's parents. This couple very badly wants a child, but has not been able to have one. They live next to a beautiful garden surrounded by a wall that belongs to a witch. Rapunzel's mother, a high-maintenance drama queen, admires the rampion, which is a leafy green vegetable used to make salads. She tells her husband, 'I shall die unless I can have some of that rampion to eat that grows in the garden at the back of our house.' Really? She's going to die? There's nothing in the story that indicates that she's actually starving; rather, she's using that dramatic nature of hers.

Her husband, Rapunzel's father, a doting husband, loves his wife so much that he's willing to risk his life to keep his wife from dying from not having the salad she wants. He climbs the wall and steals some rampion. They share a wonderful salad, but is that enough for her? Of course not! After tasting it, she wants more and claims she cannot rest until her husband provides. However, when he is caught by the witch, he's so dumbfounded that he agrees to give his future child to the witch.

The Witch

The witch, the evil villain of the story, is angry, manipulative, selfish, jealous, and probably lonely. She has this plentiful garden, but instead of sharing, she builds a wall to keep others out. She shows some compassion when the thief explains his reasons but is cunning in her response. The witch says, 'If it is all as you say, you may have as much rampion as you like, on one condition - the child that will come into the world must be given to me. It shall go well with the child, and I will care for it like a mother.'

The witch names the child Rapunzel after the rampion and takes her away. There is no indication that the witch treats the beautiful girl badly until she's 12 years old. Many parents secretly wish they could lock their daughters away from the boys, but this lady actually does it. With no way in or out except to use the girl's hair as a ladder, the witch is able to keep Rapunzel for herself - for a while.

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