Dark Origins of Disney Fairy Tales
1. Dark Origins of Disney Fairy Tales
It s every little girl s dream to have a life like the Disney princesses . Young children grow up hearing the happily ever after fairy tales, and start to believe in the existence of a Utopian world full of happiness. Disney has been going steady for ages, telling little children stories based on old fairy tales, albeit loosely so. The real versions of the Disney fairy tales are a little different from the Disney movies, and even the tales that we commonly hear. Let us take a look at the Top 10 Dark Origins of Disney Fairy tales.
In the original story, Hans Christian Anderson s The Snow Queen, the lady with the power of ice is the Snow Queen, who is nothing like Frozen s Elsa. The Queen abducts a little boy and enslaves him with her power, promising to only free him if he solves a puzzle and spell the word eternity . A little girl, with an innocent heart full of love and purity, comes and saves the boy with the power of true love, as her tears melt the splinters of an evil mirror lodged in his heart, and the boy s tears dislodge the pieces in his eyes. So it is a romantic love story, not a tale of sibling love, and the queen is evil.
3. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
The original tale of one of the beloved Disney princesses, Snow White, has not been changed much from the original tale by the Brothers Grimm, except, it is not the princess heart but her liver and lungs that the Evil Queen wants, to be served for dinner. In the end, the Queen is forced to dance to death, wearing hot iron shoes. The third fact, in ascending order of shock element, is that she isn t awakened by a kiss, but by the jostling of the prince s horse on which he carries her to the castle. What s shocking is the possible reason why the prince might take home am apparently dead girl.
4. Sleeping Beauty
Though the movie resembles the Grimm Brother s Briar Rose, Disney credits Charles Perrault s version where the prince s part ogre mother wants Sleeping Beauty and her children, cooked and served as dinner, and falls in a pit with deadly creatures which she builds to avenge being served animal meat instead of her desired meal. In an earlier version, i.e. Giambattista Basile s Sun, Moon, and Talia, Sleeping Beauty wakes up when the flax is removed on her finger being sucked by one of her twins, whom she conceives and births after being raped during her 100 years of cursed sleep.
Cinderella s origin lies in a variety of similar stories, like the story of Rhodopis, Giambattista Basile s Cenerentola, Charles Perrault s Cendrillon, and many folklores, with only variations regarding the presence of the Godmother or magic, or the shoe material. Brothers Grimm s Aschenputtel is helped by doves sent by her mother from heaven; the step sisters cut off their toes or heels to fit into the shoes. In the end, the doves peck their eyes out. One tale suggests that Cinderella kills her first step mother, while another says she escapes her incestuous father and meets the prince in a new land.
6. Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast is very directly inspired from the tale written by Jeanne Marie Leprince de Beaumont, which is a simplified and archetypical version of the story by Gabrielle Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve where the prince is turned to a beast by an evil fairy who fails to seduce him. But, as with most fairy tales, this tale has many versions. One suggests the Beast can t take the girl as she is pure, and forces her to get her hands chopped off, by threatening to take her father. In other gruesome variants, she cuts off her hands to make herself sexually less attractive to her brother or father.
The origin of Disney Tangled i.e. Rapunzel has been toned down over the ages for children. Brothers Grimm s Rapunzel, the captive of a witch, held in a tall tower, gets pregnant after she invites a prince to her tower. When she innocently remarks that her clothes feel tight around her belly, the angry witch chops off her hair and sends her off to a far off place where soon she begs to feed her children, while the prince, who is lured with the cut off locks, is thrown off the tower and is blinded by thorny bushes. But, after wandering around, living off grass and leaves, he finally finds his family.
8. The Princess and the Frog
The Princess and the Frog is a popular Disney movie, based, very loosely, on Brothers Grimm s The Frog Prince. To be fair, its storyline does tally with the modern versions of the original tale. While the modern variants all fixate on the good hearted princess kissing the frog, the original tale says that the princess, disgusted by the frog that tricks her into making a deal, throws the frog prince against the wall and breaks his spell, with some earlier versions suggesting that the frog just tries to spend a night on the princess pillow. An even more violent version says she has to cut off the frog s head.
9. The Little Mermaid
The original story of the Little Mermaid, by Hans Christian Anderson, ends with the prince marrying another princess, while the heart broken Mermaid, who silently endures the agony of walking on swords for the prince, contemplates the his murder, but ends up committing suicide by jumping into the ocean, only to become the foam of the sea eternally. A newer, slightly less grim version narrates how she becomes the daughter of the air , waiting for 300 years to reach heaven. But in none of the versions does she get to marry the prince, as a human, because her fate has death written in it.
10. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Disney s film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, has its origin in the story by Victor Hugo. Even in the movie, the hunchback, Quasimodo, does not get his happily ever after with his love interest, Esmerelda, who settles with the Captain of the Guard Phoebus, as she is not romantically interested in Quasimodo, but he gets accepted, despite his deformities, as he defeats Frollo. But, in Hugo s tale, Frollo frames Esmerelda for an attack on Phoebus, and sentences her to death, an act out of contempt and jealousy. Quasimodo mourns by her grave, and starves himself to death, lying there.
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