Snow White’ One of the Most Popular Fairytales

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

The story of Snow White has been one of the most popular fairytales amongst children for hundreds of years since being published by the Grimm Brothers in 1812. However, while most people understand the obvious themes beauty and jealousy, many overlook the deeper message hidden in the story. Through deeper examination of the film Snow White and the Huntsman, it becomes evident that the queen’s true motive for her hatred towards Snow White is not simply out of jealousy and envy but is instead rooted in a struggle for power between an aging queen Ravenna and a young and beautiful Snow White. Through this obsession for power, the Queen becomes so obsessed with defeating Snow White and maintaining power than she eventually causes her own downfall. The struggle for power through beauty is also displayed in The Dead Tsarevna and the Seven Heroes, as the stepmother’s narcissism and envy of Tsarevna causes a power struggle in which beauty is the basis for the stepmother’s actions towards Tsarevna. While in both instances, the audience is initially lead to believe that beauty is the root of power for women, the true meaning of the story is that by seeking power through beauty, the evil queen renders herself powerless, as she is so engulfed in her own obsession with beauty that she is incapable of accomplishing anything.

In the film Snow White and the Huntsman, the queen is stated to have a spell which grants her immortality. Under this spell, Ravenna is essentially invincible, as the spell can only be undone by “the fairest blood”. Throughout the entirety of the film the queen’s narcissism is on full display. Initially shown by her repeatedly asking the mirror who is the fairest, the queen is depicted to not be asking out of curiosity, but rather out of narcissism, as she is well aware of what the mirror will say and wishes to continuously hear reminders of her own beauty. In conjunction with her narcissism, the queen reveals that she is fully aware that her power is rooted in her beauty, and she uses this beauty to rise to power by seducing multiple kings. The queen declares “men use us, they ruin us and when they are finished with us they toss us to the dogs like scraps.’ However, due to her spell, she is able to remain eternally beautiful, and therefore will never be “ruined by men”. Through this revelation, the queen’s daily ritual of being reminded of her beauty can be viewed as not solely as an evil power-hungry act, but as emotional protection as well.

However, about 20 minutes into the film, the Queen is informed by her magic mirror that she is no longer the fairest in the land, as Snow White has now surpassed her beauty. During her conversation with the mirror, the warren is informed that “She (Snow White) is the reason your powers are weaning”. This revelation from the mirror sends the queen into a fit of extreme rage, which is exemplified when the queen responds, “I should have killed her when she was a child”. While Ravenna does feel envy towards Snow White due to her extreme beauty, the element of beauty alone is not the queen’s motive for her attempted murder of Snow White. Upon further analysis, the viewer is able uncover that she fears the potential danger that Snow White symbolizes. This fear, when combined with Ravenna’s obsession with beauty, sets the stage for her own downfall. When the Mirror tells Ravenna that if she killed the Snow White, her power would be unstoppable, Ravenna orders Eric the Huntsman to bring Snow White to her, so that she may be killed, and the queen’s power would be restored. The queen becomes solely focused on destroying Snow White, which cripples her ability to do anything else, essentially rendering her powerless. Ravenna initially intends to murder Snow White by instructing Eric the Huntsman to murder her. However, when Eric encounters Snow White, he becomes so enchantedly her beauty that he betrays Ravenna and does not follow through with his promise of murdering the princess. Through this initial attempt to regain her full power, the Queen’s fading power is actually put on full display.

After failing her first attempt at murdering Snow White, Ravenna uses her powers to make herself appear to be Prince William and convinces Snow White to eat a poisoned apple. When the real William and Finn return and find her body, they bring her back to Duke Hammonds castle, where William kisses Snow White, who he believes is dead, and brings her back to life. Through this sequence of events, Ravenna’s losing battle with Snow White becomes solidified. By kissing the corpse of Snow White, William displays that even after death Snow White is still more beautiful than the queen. While Ravenna is able to seduce multiple kings, she must actively do so. However, Snow White’s beauty is so powerful that she is able to gain power effortlessly. Thus, reiterating the theme that no matter how she tries, Ravenna will never be able to suppress Snow White’s beauty. This attempted murder on Snow White also allows her to obtain an army, as when she is awoken at Duke Hammond’s castle, she is able to rally his army and set them out on a mission to enact revenge on Ravenna for murdering her father. This will intern set the stage for Ravenna’s demise, as with an army behind her, Snow White is able to storm the castle and battle Ravenna alone.

As the film progresses, Ravenna becomes so engulfed in her mission to exterminate Snow White that she loses the ability to think logically and in turn begins to desire the death of Snow White more than her desire to remain alive. During her battle with Snow White, Ravenna exclaims “I will never stop. Never”. This declaration not only solidifies Ravenna’s unhealthy power obsession, but also fully seals her fate, as she has made an enemy with the only person in the world who is capable of killing her. Instead of accepting that she was no longer the most beautiful, the queens desire for power lead her to make irrational decisions. These decisions, which she believed would save her and strengthen her power, cause her to fight and be killed by Snow White. Throughout the film, the Queens motives shift drastically. While initially intending to murder Snow White simply out of spite and fear, the queen dives too deep in her mission and loses sight of her true motives. Unbeknownst to her, this act which began as a way to protect herself, eventually leads the queen to value the death of Snow White over her own life and power. In the end, the queen renders herself powerless in a failed attempt to strengthen her power.

In The Dead Tsarevna and the Seven Heroes, the theme of power and is destructive tendencies are demonstrated as well. When the evil Stepmother is informed that she has lost her status of the fairest of them all, she becomes irate and begins plotting the demise of Tsarevna. The Stepmother is incapable of accepting the second fairest of them all, and fears that she will lose power if Tsarevna is allowed to remain alive. The Stepmother’s motives in this tale differ slightly from those of Ravenna. While the Tsarevna is still capable of taking power from the Stepmother, the reader must note that she is not a threat to the Stepmother’s life in the way that Snow White is to Ravenna. However, pride and vanity do play a role, and the queen’s true motive lies more in the fact that beauty equates to power for the women of her time. By not being the most beautiful woman, the queen is now also not the most powerful woman either.

In her initial attempt to murder Tsarevna, the Stepmother instructs a maid take Tsarevna to the forest and kill her. However, the maid does not follow her orders and spares the life of Tsareva due to her goddess like beauty. By refusing her order, the maid infuriates the Stepmother, as she has demonstrated that Tsarevna is more enchanting and beautiful, and even the Stepmother’s beauty and power are quickly becoming useless against that of the Tsarevna. While the Stepmother is attempting to kill Tsarevna in order to preserve her own power, this result is the exact opposite, and the Stepmother’s slipping power is exemplified. By obsessing over beauty and power, the Stepmother causes her to become powerless.

In her second attempt to kill the Tsarevna, the evil queen disguises herself as an elderly woman and offers Tsarevna a poisoned apple. The evil queen uses her powers to become the thing she fears most; ugly and old. It is through this plan of action that the queen begins to lose even more power, as she is essentially, although only temporarily, becoming powerless when she disguises herself. The queen believes that she has succeeded in killing Tsarevna, and returns to her castle. However, Tsarevna’s fiancée, Tsarevich Elisei looks tirelessly for her. Eventually conversing with the moon, sun and wind in order to find her, Tsarevich Elisei is able to find the body of Tsarevna, suspended inside of a cave in a glass coffin, and resurrects her. When the Stepmother consults the mirror after Tsarevna has been resurrected and is informed that she is alive, she shatters her magic mirror in a fit of rage. By destroying her mirror, the queen is also destroying her main source of validation. Without the mirror to remind her of her beauty and power, the queen no longer has her main means of validating her power. Without this mirror, the queen will undoubtedly lose her power, as she no longer has any way to solidify her status of the fairest in the land. However, before the reader is allowed to learn the effects of shattering her mirror, Tsarevna returns to the kingdom. With her return, Tsarevna brings the ultimate downfall of her Stepmother, as stated on page 228, “At the sight of her stepdaughter, the woman fell down dead from anguish to the floor.” While Tsarevna does not intentionally kill the queen, her gaining power and beauty are the driving factors. Through these factors, the Stepmother is rendered completely powerless, as one cannot achieve anything from their grave. To fully demonstrate the Stepmother’s complete loss of power, the reader is informed that “They buried her and then the people hurried to the wedding where Tsarevich Elisei’s marriage to his bride was solemnized. Since the beginning of the world, no one has ever seen such a feast.” on page 228. Through this stark contrast to the reaction to the disappearance of Tsarevna, the reader is able to appreciate the full power shift. Through their hasty burial of the queen, and extravagant wedding celebration immediately after, the people of the kingdom illustrate the total power shift from the Stepmother to the Tsarevna.

Through my analysis and examination of the many themes of Snow White and the Huntsman, as well as the Tale of The Dead Tsarevna and the Seven Heroes, I believe the authors intended to create a message for a mature audience. Through their message of power and its’ destructiveness, I believe the authors intend to inform those in power, whether that be the Tzar of Russia in 1812 or the current political power figures, that power requires many checks and balances. By displaying how a single tyrannical leader eventually is destroyed by their own actions, the author is able to subtly warn those in power that their fate will be similar to that of the evil queen if they do not keep their egos in check and allow the flow of power to occur naturally, and instead of trying to hoard it all to themselves. Additionally, I believe the intended message for those not in governmental power is to avoid being overly consumed in a certain task, such as spending so much time trying to further one’s career that they pull away from or harm their loved ones in the process. By displaying the catastrophic failure of the queen, the author is able to show those from all backgrounds that while ambition is positive, those who use evil to obtain a higher status will eventually meet a premature and less than favorable demise.

While the initial interpretation of Snow White and the Huntsman, as well as the Tale of The Dead Tsarevna and the Seven Heroes would lead the audience to believe that the evil queen was fueled by themes beauty and jealousy, through further examination, a deeper message showing the destructive consequences that comes as a result of power accumulation are revealed. Through her obsession with gaining and maintaining her own power, the queen becomes responsible for her own death. Due to her own clouded judgment, the Queen becomes unable to see the destruction she is causing and in turn causes herself to lose everything that she is striving to keep.


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