Fairy Tales 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Enchanted Castle

The Enchanted Castle is a classic tale of forbidden love caused by magic and mysticism. The story is about a prince who forgets his quest for knowledge when he encounters a mysterious mute veiled woman in an enchanted castle. The mute veiled woman is an interesting addition to the fairy tale. In most fairy tales, the women are judged by their looks, or in some remote cases their wit and personality. However, in this case, the man is not able to neither see nor talk to the woman even after they share a bed- a very intimate act. Nonetheless, the man is intrigued and before he can determine whether he wishes to pursue this woman he must- can you guess it? See her face to see if she is pretty enough to merit his affections. However, his selfishness and superficial tendencies backfire when he realizes after viewing the queens face (and subsequently falling in love) that she is under a curse. This curse is an example of the magical aspect in this typical of a fairy tale. In addition, there is also a connection with nature. When the prince was unable to muster the will to kill the hare (or "nature") he was rewarded. The hare led him to the castle where he would meet his true love. Therefore his interaction with and kindness towards nature catalyzed his marriage.

Also, there is a "fairy godfather" type character in the figure. The hobbit helped the prince discover the true reason behind his unusual drowsiness, as to save the innocent innkeeper. In addition, the hobbit saved the tokens left behind by the queen which ultimately caused the prince to win the jousting match and get the queen as his prize. This helper character is also characteristic of classic fairy tales. The objectification of women as prizes to be won is another quality of some fairy tales. In most fairy tales women are the object, they are to be wooed and married off. Women who are not married are unaccepted in society. Therefore the fact that the queen is a prize to be won as well as a maiden waiting to be saved, speaks to the vulnerability and overall helplessness of most women in fairy tales- especially so if the women are not beautiful.

Finally the ever present theme of love conquers all. The idea that love has the power to overcome any obstacle including magic and evil curses. When the prince won the jousting match he was able to meet his true "love" (a woman he had only met twice before) and marry her.


  1. So do the dwarfs in Snow White count as a fairy godmother character? It seems from your description that the hobbit is more in the vein of the friendly helper than the magical.

    Other than that, it seems to be a standard patriarchal fairy tale where the women need saving and the men aren't complete until they find true love. So much pressure!

    -Matt P.

  2. It's interesting that the woman's face and identity are kept a secret until after the two share a bed. At first, it seems that this story might be different in that beauty is not always the first thing a man notices in a woman. In a sense I guess it is, but then he does desire to see her face in order to determine whether or not he wants to truly be with her. It definitely resembles many fairy tales we have read about princes and their quest to find love through overcoming several obstacles.