Signifance Of The Beast In Fairytales

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Fairytales during the turn of the 19th century offer collections of stories that are rich in virtue, allowing the reader to learn an appreciable lesson. Moreover, fairytales derive their appeal through the creation of enigmas which are embodied by the characters of their tales. The combination of innocence and bewilderment is strengthened by the clever use of apologues—a fable with animals as characters (“Apologues”). These elements in children’s literature are illustrated in “Little Red Cap”, “Iron Hans”, and “Beauty and the Beast,” whereby the motif of a beast is depicted as a rite of passage. The significance of the beast in all three fairytales is that upon the characters’ interaction with the beast, within a forest, the characters are able to surpass the threshold of childhood and reap the rewards. The anthropomorphic tale—whereby animals personify human attributes— of “Little Red Cap” tells a story of a maiden who encounters a Wolf during a trip to her grandmother’s house through the forest (“Anthropomorphic”). “However, Little Red Cap did not know what a wicked sort of an animal he was and was not afraid of him” (The Brothers Grimm 102). The naivety of Little Red Cap is consequently exploited when the Wolf convinces the maiden to detour her path to her grandmother’s. In doing so, the Wolf “satisfied his desires” (104) by gobbling both Little Red Cap and her grandmother. In juxtaposition to being rescued by a huntsman, Little Red Cap demonstrates a newfound sense of rationalization when “another wolf spoke to her and tried to entice her to leave the path, but this time Little Red Cap was on her guard” (104). Followed by a moment of vulnerability upon her experience with the beast, Little Red Cap illustrates the entrance into the forest as a child and the departure as an adult. The departure from the forest as an adult upon meeting the beast, as a
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