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A Summary and Analysis of the Sleeping Beauty Fairy Tale

The meaning of a curious fairy story

‘Sleeping Beauty’ is, depending on which version of the story you read, called Sleeping Beauty, Talia, Little Briar Rose, Rosamond, or Aurora. This is because, like many other classic fairy tales, the tale of Sleeping Beauty exists in numerous versions, each of which is subtly – or, in some cases, quite strikingly – different from the others. In the Italian version published in the Pentamerone, an Italian collection of fairy tales published in 1634, the heroine is named Talia. Charles Perrault, in his version published later in the century, calls her the Sleeping Beauty. The Brothers Grimm call her Dornröschen or ‘Little Briar Rose’, which is sometimes adapted as ‘Rosamond’. In the Disney film, the adult heroine is named Aurora. For the purposes of clarity here, we’re going to call her ‘Sleeping Beauty’ or ‘the princess’.

Nevertheless, the overall plot of these different versions of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ remains broadly the same, so it might not prove entirely impossible to offer a short plot summary. A king is protective of his beautiful daughter, the princess. An evil fairy curses the princess, pronouncing that she will die when she is pricked by a spindle. However, a good fairy manages to intervene so that the prophecy is softened: the princess will not die if she is pricked with a spindle, but she will fall unconscious for a hundred years. The king bans flax and spinning equipment from his palace, so as to protect his daughter from such a fate.  Read the rest of this entry

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