Grimm's Fairy Tales (Selected)

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

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Grimm's Fairy Tales (Selected) | Character Analysis


Briar Rose

Briar Rose is beautiful, kind, and loved by all. Unfortunately, she is also the victim of a spell placed on her by one of the Wise Women. Her century-long slumber removes her from the action in the rest of the story, but the Grimms suggest that Briar Rose's beauty and goodness are so compelling that everyone else in the castle also falls asleep. Meanwhile, protective briars grow around the castle, parting only to allow the prince to enter the castle and break the spell by waking Briar Rose with a kiss


Cinderella is meek, patient, and long-suffering. She never complains about the work her stepmother makes her do. Yet Cinderella seems to know what's owed to her: she summons the pluck to ask if she may attend the royal ball, and when she's actually given the chance, she speedily makes her way to the festivities.

Frog King

The Frog Prince is doubly unfortunate. First, he's been turned from a handsome prince into a frog. Second, the princess who can change him back is repulsed by his frog form. But he doggedly pursues her until, in disgust, she throws him against a wall, triggering his transformation back to human princedom.


Gretel persuades the old woman to crawl inside her own oven, and then locks her in to die. Once they're free, the children bravely return to the old woman's house and collect enough of her treasure to ensure they'll be comfortable for the rest of their lives.


Hansel is resourceful. He comes up with an ingenious way to get back home the first time they're abandoned by their parents. When imprisoned by the old woman, he manages to keep himself alive by tricking the old woman into thinking he's too skinny to eat.

Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood is a child, and she behaves like one. She doesn't mean to disobey her mother when she strays off the wooded path; she simply gets distracted. She's so innocent that she believes the wolf is her grandmother even though that's manifestly not the case.


Like many fairy-tale characters, Rapunzel is something of a blank slate. Her long, long hair is her main attribute—and an important one, since climbing up her braid is the only way people can reach her. Perhaps because she's so isolated, Rapunzel is dangerously trusting. She lets the prince into her chamber, though she's never heard his voice; she also tells her captor about him, which brings her great misfortune.

Snow White

Like her name, Snow White is pure and innocent. Once she's lying unconscious in her coffin, she's as coldly beautiful and distant as a snowy landscape. Though the dwarfs give her a comfortable home, Snow White is so isolated from the rest of the world that she is easily tricked by her wicked stepmother. She's attracted to pretty objects and unable to resist taking them even when she knows that doing so may kill her.

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