Today is Day 8 of our #CelebrateCress party…don’t forget about our awesome prize pack!
CRESS COMES OUT TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!
So let’s discuss the history of Rapunzel-–the inspiration behind the main heroine of Cress.
Studying fairytales and their history can be quite fascinating. Like most pieces of literature, they are a mirror of the culture they came from. Watching the transformation of fairytales over time is interesting way to look at how culture and society has changed throughout the years.
According to this ancient legend from the 3rd Century, Barbara was the daughter of wealthy pagan. To protect her from the outside world, her father locked her in a tower. Secretly Barbara had converted to Christianity, and, when she refused to recant her beliefs, she was killed. She is now the patron saint of anyone in danger of sudden death.
The earliest printed version of Rapunzel can be linked back to Petrosinella. In 1634, it was published by an Italian of the name Giambattista Basile. Petrosinella is an Italian word for “little parsley”. In this tale, the young maiden with long hair is held captive by an ogress. When the couple escape from the tower, the ogress is devoured by a wolf.
This tale was based on Petrosinella. The title is still interpreted as “little parsley”. The writer, Mademoiselle de la Force, was wealthy and made changes in her 1697 adaptation. In her version, Petrosinella is raised by a fairy. She and the visiting Prince are punished by the fairy after finding out Petrosinella is pregnant (with twins). Ultimately, they are freed by the fairy’s forgiveness.
The Grimm brothers did not realize that there had been earlier published versions of this story. What they recorded is believed to be a retelling of Perisnette translated to German by J. C. F. Schulz. The Grimms believed Rapunzel was another oral tale like their other collected works. In this version, Rapunzel is a name for a type of plant (most likely a lettuce)…which could have been Rampion.
This tale followed Persinette very closely, except we do not know the fate of the fairy. After its popularity with children, the Grimm bothers made some adjustments to their later publications.
In this version, all sexual innuendoes were removed and ultimately the fairy was morphed into a sorceress. This tale is also more flowery than the 1812 version.
A parallel of the two texts can be found here.
In this section we will look at modern works of the tale of Rapunzel. These are important, as they reflect modern ideas and could cause younger generations to forget the original tale.
Barbie as Rapunzel
This is the first time, to my knowledge, that Rapunzel was portrayed as an “artist” (It was a magical paintbrush). It is her magical paintbrush that lets her escape, and also the first time Rapunzel escapes (to my knowledge). Her sidekick is a purple dragon and the man of her dreams is still a prince. Of course it is a Barbie film, so she sings – a lot. In this adaptation there is a bunch of magic, talking animals, and Barbie saves the Prince. Oh, and her golden hair reaches just about to her ankles, so no climbing. She is kept locked in a tower by an evil witch and punished when she meets the handsome boy.
Like the Barbie version, Rapunzel is an artist with an adorable reptilian sidekick (much smaller than the dragon). Instead of a prince, we have a very handsome, charming, cocky, and funny rouge – no prince. This Rapunzel only has ordinary paintbrushes, but that is ok since her hair is magical from the potion from a flower her sick mother drank (some similarities still). She escapes from the tower with the handsome thief to fulfill her greatest dream: to see the floating lights. This Rapunzel is actually a princess, and she saves her love with a tear, which was in the early versions. Mother Gothel lost all her youth and turned to dust, so the basic frame work of the fairytale is there. Once again, Rapunzel saved the man. (Here is an interesting post comparing Tangled to the original tale.)
What is your favorite retelling of Rapunzel? What parts of the Rapunzel tale are you expecting to find in Cress?
Other Tales Similar to Rapunzel:
Modern Rapunzel tales: