Heroes And Heroines

1040 words 5 pages
Heroes and Heroines: A study of Gender Roles in Historical Folklore Historically, fairy tales and other folklore have followed relatively strict gender role profiles. The heroes or heroines of the story all tend to be handsome or beautiful, compassionate and kind, which always wins out. Meanwhile the villains and antagonists are almost directly opposite in physicality, are ugly or brooding in nature, which shows a clear contrast between themselves and the hero or heroine, and an ever-impending conclusive loss at the end of the narrative. In the examination of folklore, one can see that common aspects of gender roles can be found in almost every fairy tale ever created. The Brothers Grimm are well known for their collection of fairy tales …show more content…

Ultimately the dove asks her to help one last time by acquiring a small plain ring from the house of an old woman with an extensive collection of rings in her home in the woods. The servant girl complies and is able to get the ring from the old woman, who puts up a rather big fight, before returning to the great tree. After leaning against the tree, it changes into a Prince who explains to her that he had been trapped by the old woman. “You have delivered me from the power of the old woman, who is a wicked
D'Amico 3 witch.” The gender roles are clearly defined here, although switched. The Prince in this story is the helpless individual in need of saving and the Heroine is the one who, although unknowingly, sweeps in to save the day from the evil witch. Once again, as with almost every tale in folklore, the couple lives happily every after and the witch is beaten. Although gender roles in folklore and culture can potentially switch, with both males and females fulfilling the roles of Heroes and Heroines, almost every story tends to follow the same gender role guidelines. The (sometimes) handsome prince/ male saves the helpless female from the evil witch or enchantress, where they live happily ever after. Published in 1812, these stories by the Brother's Grimm were influenced by the culture of the time period, which is what mostly defined the gender


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