We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Rapunzel?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Rapunzel is the character and the title of a story collected by the Brothers Grimm for their 1812 work Children’s and Household Tales. It is a classic fairytale of what is believed to be German origin, though there are some other European folks tales that bear some resemblance to Rapunzel. Like many fairytales, it features plenty of excitement and some cautionary notes.

The basic plot of this story is that a childless couple finally is blessed by the wife becoming pregnant. During her pregnancy the wife craves lettuce (rampion, cabbage or sometimes a Rapunzel-plant) growing in the next-door neighbor’s garden. Unfortunately the next-door neighbor is a witch who catches the husband on his nightly run to obtain this food for his wife, and only agrees to let him go if he will promise to surrender his child after it is born.

The baby is given over to the witch who calls the girl Rapunzel. When the girl is in her early teens, the witch becomes incredibly jealous of her attention and locks her up in a tower. The only way the witch can gain access to this tower is by asking Rapunzel to lower her thick golden hair down to use as a ladder.

Enter the prince, who hears the witch, and calls to Rapunzel to let down her hair. The two fall in love. The witch unfortunately discovers this, and cuts Rapunzel’s hair off, setting a trap for the prince. Thinking he’s joining his fair love, the prince instead is dismayed by the witch, and leaps down from the high tower, blinding himself on thorn bushes below.

In some versions, Rapunzel has been exiled to the forest and bears two children. She eventually is able to find her prince and rescue him. Her kiss or sometimes her tears heal him completely and the two live together happily in the prince’s kingdom.

There are quite a few elements to interpret in this fairy tale. Pregnancy cravings may be viewed as a potentially dangerous thing, though there’s some suggestion that German folk medicine and wisdom supported making sure pregnant women got whatever they desired. There is also the classic element of the prince needing to win his fair lady, but in this case an interesting turn of events takes place. It’s Rapunzel who saves the prince, and not the other way around.

People are often surprised by how vicious, violent, and explicit many fairytales are, and this one is no exception. Rapunzel conceives a child out of wedlock, and the prince’s fate is truly horrible. There’s some anxiety expressed in how you control teenagers and also a common theme of having to abandon children, which may be connected to high infant mortality rates. Cleaned up versions of the story are often available in children’s books, but reading the original version, at least as presented by the Grimms, can really make you aware of the complexity of fairy tales from long ago.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By calabama71 — On Jan 13, 2011

@wesley91: The movie “Tangled” came out in 2010. It is an animated musical film that was produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. It is based mainly on Rapunzel by the Brothers Grimm. They were originally going to name the movie “Rapunzel” but changed it to Tangled right before it was released.

By wesley91 — On Jan 11, 2011

Hasn't there been a movie released about Rapunzel?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.