Rapunzel and Frau Gothel

rapunzel Mar 03, 2021

Rapunzel is named after a radish, that her mother craved when pregnant and her father stole from a neighbour's walled garden.

Frau Gothel, who owns the garden where the rapunzel grows, demands that she gets to raise the child, as recompense.

This leads to a really powerful symbol, one of the most potent in fairy tales. She takes Rapunzel to a tower that has a high window but no door. The only way in, for anyone, is to ascend Rapunzel’s long blond hair. 

Both Frau Gothel and the Prince who passes by, take this route.

Just as in Sleeping Beauty, her consciousness changes as the result of ascending a tower, so in this story, the movement from ground level up to Rapunzel’s head. This is one of the key shifts.

Change only comes when it is the Prince who ascends, rather than the old crone.

But the change is one neither Rapunzel nor the Prince look for. She loses her gold hair. He loses his eyes. We learn later that she has become pregnant.

Just as the 100 years sleep in Sleeping Beauty is a potent symbol of a change in consciousness, so the loss of the gold hair (from our heroine) and the loss of eyes on thorns, by the Prince, is key.

The Prince only regains his sight, and Rapunzel her love, when he has travelled for a very long time, blind.

And it is interesting to note, that blindness in Greek myths were a sign of wisdom, the sight having turned inwards.