Mary has taught elementary school for six years and has a master's degree in education.
A Fairy Tale
Did you know that ''Rapunzel'' is a fairy tale, which is a type of traditional literature? That means it probably started off being told by word of mouth instead of being written down, and it has been changed and retold many times by now.
Fairy tales often have a good and an evil character, magical elements, royal characters, and characters who are impoverished (very poor). It's the type of story that usually begins with, ''Once upon a time ...'' The German fairy tale ''Rapunzel'' was famously published by the Grimm Brothers in 1812, although the story was most likely based on an Italian story from the early 1600s that drew on similar tales.
The Basic Story
Once upon a time there was a very poor couple who were expecting their first child. The mother had a craving for an herb called ''rapunzel,'' but they couldn't afford to buy any.
So the husband, desperate to help his wife, stole some from their next-door neighbor - who happened to be an evil witch, Dame Gothel. The witch caught him and let him go, but only if he promised to give her the baby when it was born.
The baby turned out to be the beautiful Rapunzel, named for the herb her mother craved. The witch locked Rapunzel in a tall tower with no stairs, and she visited the girl by climbing her long hair to the top of the tower.
One day a prince was riding through the forest and heard Rapunzel's beautiful voice. He figured out how to visit her by calling, ''Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair,'' and they fell in love.
The witch discovered what had been going on, cut Rapunzel's hair, and tricked the prince by letting the hair down herself. He was quite surprised to find a witch in the tower instead of Rapunzel, and he jumped out of the tower in despair.
He was blinded by thorns, and wandered the forest looking for Rapunzel. He eventually heard her lovely voice again, and they were reunited. Her tears brought his sight back, and they lived - you guessed it! - happily ever after.
Because versions of ''Rapunzel'' have been told and retold by many people of many different countries and cultures, there are some variations that occur in different renditions (interpretations) of the story. For instance, sometimes the story includes Rapunzel's hair growing back when she is reunited with the prince or the witch herself becoming locked in Rapunzel's tower.
Different versions also have her mother craving different foods while pregnant - either a rampion (a vegetable) or parsley-like herb.
Pop Culture Impact
''Rapunzel'' continues to evolve, including with the newest version - Tangled - released by Disney in 2010. In this version, Rapunzel is actually a princess whose hair has magical healing powers that keep the witch, Mother Gothel, looking young and beautiful. This movie version is most noticeably different from the earlier written versions because Rapunzel is more independent, smarter, and more heroic than in the earlier versions.
''Rapunzel'' is a fairy tale about a beautiful young girl who is kept in a tower by an evil witch. The story has many common elements of the fairy tale genre and has been told with many different renditions, which is common of traditional literature. The story of ''Rapunzel'' has been around since at least the 1600s, and it looks like it's not going away anytime soon!
To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account
Register to view this lesson
Unlock Your Education
See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com
Become a Study.com member and start learning now.Become a Member
Already a member? Log InBack