Sleeping Beauty: Enchanted Sleep or Repressed Sexual Prison

Powerful Essays
Once upon a time, a charming and super naturally beautiful princess, graced with all the virtues that any noble woman should possess, fell into an enchanted 100 year long sleep. While all versions of the classic Sleeping Beauty tale depict a sleeping princess, and involve some sort of suspended animation, little (or no) information is given on the sleep itself. Throughout this essay, we will explore the symbolism behind the cursed princess’s enchanted slumber. Through comparisons, both sexualized and with an undertone of religious morality, the sleep takes on several different forms; however, it ultimately seems to bare an undeniable similarity to the start of menstruation, and the princess’s sexual maturity into womanhood. Beyond any doubt, her awakening from the cursed sleep is also a sexual awakening, where the once innocent princess makes her life as one man’s wife. The Grimm Brother’s Little Brier Rose, Charles Perrault’s Sleeping Beauty in the Wood, and Giamattista Basile’s Sun, Moon and Talia are three versions of this classic tale, all of which share the basic plot. Wise beings (wise women in the first, fairies in the second, and finally wise men in the latter), one of which foretelling an impending sleep (of variant lengths in these tales), a spindle, the ageless sleep in which the princess finds repose, a royal awakener, and ultimately a happily ever after. Beyond the glittering surface of these seemingly happy and innocent tales, lays the story of sexual desire and a fantastical fulfillment. However, before the princess can relieve herself of all the pent up desire, we must begin from the place of the start of all sexual desire, menstruation itself. All three adaptations portray an elder woman spinning in a tower, which in many cases is previously unknown or forbidden to the young princess. We may picture the tower itself, strong and masculine, proudly standing above all the other rooms in the elaborate palace, but we often fail to wonder why the

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