Who is the fairest of them all? ” One of the most famous quotes from a fairytale is that of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. When we hear it we think of an evil queen, a beautiful princess, seven unique dwarves and a handsomely brave prince. We remember sing-song melodies and the sweetness of true love. The captivating film created by Walt Disney portrays an innocent girl battling a Jealous step mother and prevailing, saved by her true love; but is this the hole story?
Has this tale of a gullible girl always been so light and cheery? There is an original version of this story, Eccentricities, written by the famed Brothers Grimm, in which there is much less innocence and love. The fable we know was once laced with dark and disturbing elements. Although the main plot has stayed the same, there are lurid differences between the two versions. Walt Disney’s is about kindness love, and happy endings, while Grime’s is about Jealousy, lust, and revenge.
There are three main parts of the story that these different underlining themes are cost present; the number of times the queen attempts to kill Snow White, the meeting of Snow White and the prince, and the eventual death of the queen. From the very beginning, Snow White, who was destined to be the fairest, was loathed by the queen. In both stories, the queen tries desperately to be rid of Snow for her own vanities sake, but the number of times she attempts this varies between the two tales. In Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, the queen sends out her huntsmen to dispatch of Snow when she is about 14 years old.
He is told to bring jack her heart, but he sees her innocence as she pleads for him to spare her and he cannot bring himself to kill her, so he lets her go, bringing back the heart of a beast instead of the princess. After the queen speaks to her mirror again, she finds that she is not yet the fairest, that Snow still is. She disguises herself with magic and designs a poisonous apple that will kill Snow. She goes to the house of the dwarves and easily persuades young Snow to eat the poison apple, causing her to fall into a death-like slumber.
Although very similar to the Disney version, the Grime’s tale has he queen trying again and again to kill her, concocting new and strange ways to end Snow White. After the huntsman fails her, she dresses up as a bodice merchant. She knocks on the door of the cottage, selling string to the 12 year old Snow, then ties it for her. She ties the string so tight and so fast that Snow is unable to breathe, then the queen leaves her there to suffocate to death. This, however, does not succeed, for the dwarves get back in time to save dear Snow by loosening the string.
Again the queen devises a scheme, this time using a magical comb. When she comes to the or again Snow is cautious, but still lets her in. The comb then poisons the girl as it is placed in her hair and the queen leaves thinking she has won. Yet again, the dwarves come to her rescue. On the fourth and final attempt, the queen ‘kills’ Snow with the poison apple, and as the dwarves are unable to figure out how to help her, they mourn and place her in a glass coffin for her ageless beauty to be seen forever. The queens relentless will to slay Snow shows how far Jealousy and vanity can go.
The queen is undeniably evil, but premeditating her murder 4 times id quite obsessive and wicked. It is then the princes’ turn to enter the story. In a way, the prince saves Snow White in both stories, but the way he does is vastly different in one than the other, one involves love and a kiss, the other involves only her beauty and his egregious attraction to her. In the well-known movie, the prince comes across Snow singing by a well at the castle. When he Joins in she is scared at first, but then she falls for his charming nature and declaration of love.
Even though they don’t see each other again before she is put to sleep, he keeps looking for her. When he finally finds her, laying in her glass coffin, he professes his love again and out of sorrow, he kisses her. His honest kiss breaks the spell upon her and she stirs from her slumber. Then they ride off into the sunset to live happily ever after together. In Grime’s, the prince and Snow White never meet before she is asleep. After the dwarves realize she doesn’t age, they put her in a glass coffin with her name carved into the side and guard her day and night.
A long time passes, then one day the prince comes across them and as he sees her, he falls in love with her beauty. He decides he can never again be without her in his sight so he begs the dwarves to give her to him. After denying him a few times they feel sorry for him and allow him to have her. His servants then come to carry the coffin back to the castle. As they are walking, the coffin Jolts and the piece of magical apple that was lodged in Snows throat comes loose. She awakens and the prince announces he wishes to marry her. She being a gullible young girl agrees and they leave for the castle.
Even though both beginnings of love are because of her tatty, the idea of a grown man wanting the supposed corpse of a young girl is simply unpleasant to think about. In the end, no matter how innocent the story, the evil queen dies. Accepting the fact that it must happen, the two ways she dies are night and day as far as innocence and darkness. In Disney’s movie, the queen gives Snow the apple and watches her fall. As she leaves the cottage cackling, she sees all of the dwarves galloping toward her atop deer. She runs through the forest and climbs a pile of rocks.
Once she reaches the top she tries to push a large boulder down onto the climbing dwarves, UT as she pushes it, a lightning bolt hits the ledge behind her and she falls to her death. No one here is to blame, the dwarves didn’t kill her, nor did snow white or the prince. Her death is Justified by her evil deeds and how she was trying to again hurt someone. This keeps the innocence of all the characters but eliminates the danger of the story. In the original version, the queen doesn’t die for some time after snow is asleep. When the prince finds Snow, he proposes and they begin to plan a wedding.
They invite the queen, but do not tell her who the new queen is going to be. When she consults her mirror once again “Looking -glass upon the wall, Who is fairest of us all? ” it proclaims, “O Queen, although you are of beauty rare, The young bride is a thousand times more fair” Angry and distraught, she goes to the wedding only to find that the new queen who is fairer than her, is none other than Snow White. When she arrives, they are ready for her. They prepared iron shoes, heating them over hot coals until they glowed red. As revenge for the attempts on her life, Snow has the queen dance in the blistering hot shoes until she dies.
The innocence of sweet Snow is no more, she Just brutally murdered her step mother. Then of course they live happily ever after. We have all of these wistful fairytale, full of kindness, love, and happy endings, but many of them are not entirely what they seem. Snow White and Eccentricities are perfect examples of this contrast of old and new ideas of fantasy. Disney took an old favorite and gave it childlike innocence and a lightness that makes the audience feel positive and cheerful. He took away that darkness and the disturbing factors of jealousy, lust and revengeful murder.
The Brothers Grimm, on the other hand, had a sort of realism to their tales. Not everything was happy and perfect, people in their stories are twisted and grotesque. Without these somber stories written by the Brothers Grimm and many others, we wouldn’t have many of the fairytale we have today. Out of these dreary fables, we have had numerous lively and fanciful movies and theatrical productions, all with a different a telling of the same old story, each story having a slightly dark past Just like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Eccentricities.