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Sleeping Beauty

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by

Lori Cornelius

on 2 October 2017

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Transcript of Sleeping Beauty

Let me give you some perspective....
The 100 years sleep is central in most of the versions.
Rape, adultery, sexual rivalry, and attempted cannibalism make the plot of Basile's "Sun, Moon, and Talia" a little less than "child friendly."
But, Perrault added his own touch!
Giambattista Basile was an Italian solider, public official, writer, and poet in the late 1500's and early 1600s. His short-story collection was one of the earliest such collections based on folktales and served as an important source for later fairy-tale writers, such as Charles Perrault in France and the Brothers Grimm in Germany. In "The Story of Stories" a prince and his wife are entertained for five days by 10 women who tell them 50 stories, among which are the familiar tales of Puss in Boots, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and his sleeping beauty story, entitled "Sun, Moon, and Talia."
Themes changed or diminished:
consensual sex
male coming-of-age
subdued sexual rivalry
In Grimms' version, the story constricts even more
Kiss "awakens" beauty
sex missing
cannibalism missing
Grimm
Disney
Sleeping Beauty
Basile's "Sleeping Beauty" reflects a sophisticated story
with complications of the plot and a specific tone that
differs from those that follow it.
Photo credits: 'horizon' by pierreyves @ flickr
Perrault's version
And of course he included his signature "moral" at the end:

"A brave, rich, handsome husband is a prize well worth waiting for; but no modern woman would think it was worth waiting for a hundred years. The tale of the Sleeping Beauty shows how long engagements make for happy marriages, but young girls these days want so much to be married I do not have the heart to press the moral."

Perrault says he's not going to press the moral, but he really already has!
Of course, the Grimm Brothers are trying to make their version more child-friendly, and it is. However, another version made the story directly for children.
Disney's version would likely have thrilled the Grimm Brothers, as they loved to focus on the Christian elements that fairy tales could offer. Notice how in this film clip, the concept of Hell versus righteousness is portrayed. There are clear connections to the killing of the dragon (a reference to the Bible book of "Revelation") and you'll note Prince Phillip's shield bears a Christian symbol.
Notably, Disney also incorporated the pagan (non-Christian) mythology of killing the dragon in the exact spot that the prince's sword hits, the only vulnerable place being the throat or underbelly. That the dragon is slain by a blessed sword helps, too.
The End
Full transcript