Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Month of Rapunzel: Guest Post: Rapunzel Character Analysis

Deb has been so gracious to share how much she loves the character of Rapunzel and she also has some great retelling recommendations to share. 

I love fairy tales, in case you haven’t noticed. One of my favorite fairy tales is Rapunzel, but I’ve never quite been able to pinpoint the reason why. Is it because I love mentally disturbed characters? Is it because I love the romanticized imagery that accompanies it? Do I just enjoy watching characters suffer? Honestly, I don’t know. Rapunzel is just one of those classic cautionary tales with a pinch of magic that never leaves you once it’s embedded in your mind.
Today we’re going to analyze the characters, and see what we can make of them.

Rapunzel’s Parents

Rapunzel’s Parents don’t seem like the smartest blubs in the box. Her mother is so ridiculously self-centered and obsessed with lettuce, and her father is going around making deals with witches without consulting his wife. Doesn’t sound like the strongest relationship if you ask me. At least the husband’s heart is (probably) in the right place, but neither seems too distressed to lose their only child who they struggled for years to bring into existence.
And then *Poof* they’re out of the picture forevermore.

The Witch

I have always been so intrigued by the Witch. Why does she want a child? One might speculate all they want about this, but we can’t ever know for sure. Yet, as the story progresses, I don’t believe she has malicious intentions towards Rapunzel. I think she genuinely loves Rapunzel, and is simply over-protective to an extreme. Being the most feared being in the entire world has probably made it hard to develop close relationships with anybody, so then she doesn’t know how to treat Rapunzel with the affection she wants to communicate.


I’m not a huge fan of this Prince character. Rapunzel has never seen another human being before, and so is terrified. He takes advantage of her and manipulates an innocent, brainwashed young girl. He unhealthily obsesses over her, and eventually convinces her to marry him. He just seems like an arrogant, pompous jerk who likes taking advantage of anybody who doesn’t know any better.


I have mixed feelings about Rapunzel as a character. She definitely inherited her brains from her parents, but at the same time it’s hard to deduce how much of it is her own dim-wittedness and how much is a result of being brainwashed her entire life by Gothel, who no doubt would tell her that the world is evil. She is so innocent (knowing nothing of the consequences of her encounters with the prince until 9 unpleasant months later) that I can’t help but pity her.
I guess you can say that they all lived Happily Ever After in the end, but I have a feeling these characters will be needing a LOT of counseling.

Rapunzel Recommendations


Disney’s Tangled is a very, very light interpretation of Rapunzel, but it is an excellent film nonetheless. It does a good job exploring the relationship between Rapunzel and Gothel, and portraying Rapunzel’s naiveté, all the while with a gorgeous soundtrack.


This book is more of a study of the mental cases of the main characters than a lighthearted story. It closely examines the characters, and gives them all interesting histories.


Cress is just awesome. It manages to capture the magic and seriousness of the story, while seamlessly incorporating the two stories from the previous books, Scarlet and Cinder. There are so many little Rapunzel Easter eggs buried deep in the story. It also spends a lot of time focused on the relationship between Cress (Rapunzel) and Thorne (The Prince).

Into the Woods

This is one of the most brilliantly crafted masterpieces to ever come into existence. It is a musical that examines the themes of growing up and making choices with the backdrop of several fairy tales, geniusly woven together, and Rapunzel’s story is at the forefront. And if that hasn’t convinced you: Christmas 2014. Meryl Streep. Disney. You can’ thank me later!

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