Analysis of Archetypes Essay

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Analysis of Archetypes

Once there was a woman who told a story. However, she had more than just an entertaining tale to tell. She chose common images that everyone would understand, and she wrapped her story around them, and in this way she was able to teach the people . . .

The traditions of storytelling have long been used as a means to impart wisdom and life lessons to others. One of the most effective ways in which this is done is through the use of archetypes. While it is possible to look at these images in a general way, one may also focus an analysis on a single tale. In this way it is possible to explore the particular images used and their significance in a given situation, (often a coming of age rite of passage). One
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She attempts to control Rapunzel and keep her from reaching maturity, and thus independence. The moment Rapunzel reaches the age of puberty, (at age 12), the witch confines her to a tower in the forest. The forest is a symbol of transformation, a place where Rapunzel must discover her growing maturity. The tower may be similar to the idea of the attic: a metaphor for the mind and some part of her life yet to be explored, as well as being a phallic symbol. It has no doors or stairs, only a single high window.

The window is her only entryway to begin her rite of passage, but at this point in her life she has no means to access it on her own. Once another few years have passed, (placing Rapunzel’s age now at that of a young woman), the prince is introduced. He is a symbol of a possible reward for Rapunzel should she successfully complete her journey, a vague ideal represented in royalty for which to strive. However, he is also just a young man who must complete his own rite of passage before he and Rapunzel may be united.

The fact that he is first drawn to her voice rather than her appearance seems to suggest an attraction more to who she is rather than anything physical. Her “voice” may be symbolic of Rapunzel’s thoughts and personality. However, the first time the prince finds Rapunzel, he is obviously unprepared to proceed into this facet of his life. He searches for a door through which to reach her but is
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