Sleeping Beauty History and Literary Analysis

This essay sample essay on Sleeping Beauty Essay offers an extensive list of facts and arguments related to it. The essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion are provided below.

Sleeping Beauty Literature Review

The story of Sleeping Beauty has evolved over time and has been changed slightly throughout the different versions. It has changed in order to fit social norms for the time and context has been altered to appeal to the current audiences. The three main versions of Sleeping Beauty are the Charles Perrault in 1697, which was adapted from the original fairy tale Sun, Moon, and Talia by Giambattistas Basile in 1634.

Perraults version was a tale of rape, adultery and cannibalism.

The Brothers Grimm interpretation, from 1812 that made the story more tame and the Walt Disney version from 1959 that was drawn mainly from the St. Petersburg Ballet version of 1890 and the Grimm Brothers version, obviously this version was cleaned up a lot from the predecessors in order to appeal to a younger and more moralistic audience.

Most Fairytales hold a kind of formulae that can be seen in Vladimir Propp’s morphology of the folk tale. His theory suggests that most stories just use the same formulae however in different contexts.

Sleeping beauty is a typical example of how mostly all of the characteristics used in storytelling are used in this narrative. Such characteristics used in Sleeping Beauty are the character types. The hero, the villain, the donor, the dispatcher, the helper, the princess and the father or in this case the parents.

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The fairy godmothers play a huge part in the storyline of sleeping beauty, you could say they act as the donors who provide an object with magical properties, such as the sword given to prince charming that defeats the villain.

When Was The Original Sleeping Beauty Written

They are also the dispatchers and the helpers who send the hero in the right direction to save the princess. Although these don’t seem like the main characters in the story, they hold together the narrative and fill in the gaps that link the events in the story, also without the fairy godmothers we would be missing out on our fix of magic that is needed in any good fairytale. Propp’s theory suggests that these character types are found in every story or film but are just rearranged for different effects.

In Shrek, typical fairytale themes are implemented, however the traditional ideas and social norms found in fairytales are swapped around. ‘Shrek upstages Prince Charming and Princess Fiona saves Shrek from Robin Hood and his merry men’. Women are not necessarily depicted as being an inferior sex nowadays as they were back when the initial story was wrote. Sleeping Beauty came from a time when the lesson was that women should wait quietly for the man who would give them their role in society, Not such the case in modern twists on fairytales. However Propp’s strict order of characters and events is restrictive.

The format he suggests may change the way in which text is received, for example if the main character dies, the audience is left unhappy because there has not been a happy ending. It is the typical story line in most children’s fairly tales, where there is a vulnerable female in need of rescue by her Prince Charming. We see this again, and again in stories such as Snow White, Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. All of these stories have reoccurring patterns in them such as the evil villain, a spell that needs to be broken, a hero prince who needs to rescue a damsel in distress, all of these elements leading up to a happy ending.

Propp’s actions as functions of narratives can also be seen throughout the different stories, they are used to progress the narrative. The preparation, complication, transference, struggle, return and the recognition. Firstly The kingdom is preparing for the new born of the king and queen, whilst this gives the villain an incentive to complicate things and upset the palace, In great joy brings great upset this is common at the beginning of most stories, something bad must happen in order to be fixed.

Sleeping beauty is then transferred to a safe house in the woods in the Disney version and we meet the prince who is gifted a magical sword by the fairy godmothers, and therefore transferred into the hero. After Sleeping beauty pricks her finger and falls into the deep sleep, the struggle is then on to revive her. The prolonged period of time that varies between the stories depends on the hero, whom overcomes the evil villain with the help of the good fairies.

The penultimate sequence in which the hero defeats the villain transformed into the dragon, to me resembles the legend of Saint George and the Dragon. The prince then finds the princess and gives her the kiss of life and she is awoken. He then returns with the princess and gets recognised as a hero when they get married. However this is not the end in the Charles Perrault version as the prince’s mother is not happy with the marriage, and tries to eat the princess and the newly married couples children, eventually she throws herself into a vat of vipers and dies.

There are quite vast differences in the plots of Perrault’s version and the Grimm brother’s adaptation. Most of the beginning part of the Perrault version is the same as the brothers Grimm adaptation, it is the second part that is altered. Perrault was also one of the last interpreters of the tale to avoid waking Beauty with a kiss. Most of the versions written and produced since then have used the kiss to awaken the sleeping princess. Instead she was awoken when she was ready to give birth to her baby that had been unwillingly forced upon her whilst she was asleep. The overall conceit of Aurora “awakening” to a man’s kiss suggests that her maturity may indeed be a sexual one. ’ It is thought that the story was changed in this way to ‘appeal to the opulent court and aristocracy of Louis XIV of France’. In the Charles Perrault version, the prince’s mother who is an ogre attempts to eat sleeping beauties children, which sounds like more of a horror story than a fairy-tale. The Brothers Grimm version left out this part of the story all together as did Walt Disney’s version because this is far too gruesome for a make-believe story.

Also, another variation is that in Perrault’s adaptation the princess is asleep for 100 years and her prince comes to her after hearing about the legend of her generations later. In the Disney movie and the brothers Grimm adaptations, the princess is only asleep long enough for the prince to defeat the villain and give her the kiss of life. Maybe this was altered from the original because of the idea of never seeing your loved ones again was too traumatic for a modern audience and especially children.

The good fairies puts the residents of the kingdom under a temporary sleep whilst sleeping beauty is under the spell to lower social panic. Charles Perrault’s version also includes more than 3 fairies bestowing gifts on the young princess, and the villain in the story being an aged fairy that everyone thought was dead. The story of Sleeping Beauty focuses mainly on the seemingly idealistic views that ‘true love conquers all’ and that ‘home is where the heart is’. Sleeping beauty and fairytales in general give people a hope and fantastical view on life and appeal to a modern audience because they allow for a type of escapism.

For those that have been in love can relate to the stories. Dream like scenarios where all is not real but the situations are similar to those that happen in real life. 1280 words


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Sleeping Beauty History and Literary Analysis. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

Sleeping Beauty History and Literary Analysis
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