Rapunzel: Themes & Analysis Video

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  • 0:04 Background
  • 0:44 Forbidden Fruit
  • 2:01 Jealousy
  • 2:32 Freedom
  • 3:21 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.

In ''Rapunzel'' as told by the Brothers Grimm, Rapunzel's parents give her to a witch in exchange for salad. There must be a lesson in this somewhere. Let's examine the morals and themes of this fairy tale.


Have you ever wanted something you couldn't have, which only made you want it more? In Rapunzel by the Brothers Grimm, nearly all of the characters are motivated by some desire that seems elusive to them. Rapunzel's mother wants the witch's rampion for her salad. Rapunzel's father wants his wife to be happy. The witch wants a child that she can control and hold onto. Rapunzel wants freedom. The Prince wants Rapunzel. Through their mistakes, the reader can learn about the dangers of forbidden fruit and possessiveness. Let's examine the morals and themes of this story.

Forbidden Fruit

Just like Adam and Eve were drawn to the apple in the Garden of Eden from the Bible, Rapunzel's mother is drawn to the rampion, which is a leafy vegetable for salads. Her desire for this vegetable becomes obsessive because she can't have it. She begins to feel like she will die if she doesn't have some of the vegetable on the other side of the witch's wall. Once her husband brings her some, she must have more. Her insatiable appetite for something that does not belong to her leads to her downfall as she is forced to give up her daughter when the witch catches her husband stealing.

The Prince and Rapunzel have similar feelings about one another. After the Prince hears Rapunzel singing, he 'wished to go in to her, and sought to find a door in the tower, but there was none.' He goes home and starts obsessing about her voice until finally he is able to figure out a way to see her. He immediately asks her to marry him. She responds, 'I would willingly go with you, but I do not know how I shall get out.' Thus begins their obsession with running away together, which ultimately leads to blindness, banishment, and separation.


Another theme that is explored is jealousy. Jealousy is a negative emotion that stems from insecurity. The results are often destructive as the fear and possessiveness that often accompany jealousy can destroy a relationship. When the witch learns that Rapunzel has been entertaining a guest, she becomes so jealous that she screams, 'O wicked child…what is this I hear! I thought I had hidden you from all the world, and you have betrayed me!'

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