The story of “Snow White” depicts what a beautiful girl has to endure from her evil stepmother, whose vanity and cruelty know no boundaries, is there more to the story though? The Brothers Grimm give us clues here and there, about how they both have similarities. Little by little, Snow White’s character can be seen changing from the pure character at the beginning of the story, to someone that if you look close resembles the evil Queen by the end of the story. Snow White’s and the evil stepmother both share some common traits such as vanity, envy, and at times no remorse among others; in which Snow White can be compared to the Queen.
From the beginning of the story there is an element that is absent from the fairy tale; the father figure. There is envy for his approval and since the King is absent they both want this, to be acknowledged, to be better than the other, a fight between woman and woman, mother and daughter or maybe he will come back to whoever wins. According to one author, “What is at stake for the two female characters is, in sum, the love, affection, or approval of the father” (Tatar, “Intro: Snow White” 76).
They both long for his approval, but the Queen being a plotter and schemer had more opportunities in trying to kill her. The approval of the King is important so the Queen wants to get rid of Snow White and she wants to have her killed at any cost. She wants to consume her, this way she feels like Snow White is in her, which should make her the fairest of them all. In her mind she wins the approval of the absent father, something they both want although the queen never succeeds. Snow White is a beautiful girl, with a perfect life. This comes to an abrupt end when her evil stepmother comes in the picture.
The queen is envious of Snow White’s beauty and orders a huntsman to kill her. After the huntsman lets her go, she runs away and finds a little cottage. A normal person would not dare go in a stranger’s house, but after going through the ordeal of almost dying at the hands of someone who one would think is there to protect her. From this, her judgment has changed and she ventures inside the cottage being careless and thinking it is okay to break in a house, eats someone’s food in their home, and use their stuff (Brothers Grimm, “Snow White” 84).
Her id is let loose and she is only thinking of immediate gratification by eating and resting, but none of this belongs to her. The Queen is a plotter, a good one. After she finds out that the huntsman doesn’t kill Snow White she sets up an evil plan to try and kill her herself. One author states that the queen is a schemer, a woman of almost endless creativity (Gilbert and Grubar 291). Her creativity increased as she knew she couldn’t trust anyone to kill Snow White. She had to do it herself.
After dressing up as an old peddler, the Queen goes and knocked on the door where Snow White was staying, and fools her into letting her in by showing her a staylace, a distinctively female device to murder her; she lets her in and almost dies from staylace that the Queen tied to tight. Snow White goes from being careless to becoming a vain person. After the queen finds out that Snow White is alive, she dresses like another old woman, goes to the cottage, and tries to kill Snow White again (Brothers Grimm, “Snow White”86).
This time the Queen brings Snow White a poisonous comb, something that might seem harmless, but it is in fact a representation of many things women do nowadays in general to look pretty. The dwarfs had warned Snow White that the queen might come get her, but her vanity got in the way and she liked what the old peddler was giving her. The comb can represent women desire to look better, and she almost died because of her vanity, pursuing exterior beauty. Lastly is the worst aspect of her mirroring self to the queen.
Her transformed self is different and even in the night of her wedding, the night where she is supposed to have complete happiness she lets her cruelty get the best of her, “when the wicked queen entered she was recognized right away by Snow White and iron slippers had already been heated up over a fire of coals” (Brothers Grimm, “Snow White”89). Even though the queen tried killing Snow White in various occasions, a compassionate and pure being as was Snow White at the beginning of the story would not kill someone; her new self has rancor in her heart and allows the killing of the queen by dancing until she dropped dead.
As it turns out, they both have some similar traits, but the similarities between these two characters are not seen at first glance. The Brothers Grimm give us details here and there though. The hatred the queen feels for Snow White is more evident as seen by the times she tried to kill her. Snow White on the other hand had a little transformation in which she was becoming the queen by the end. She was selfish and careless by intruding in the cottage. She was vain in various occasions and almost died because of her vanity as well. She also didn’t care and plotted to let the queen die, instead of showing remorse, for this Snow White and the queen can be seen as one in the same.
Tatar, Maria. “Introduction: Snow White. ” The Classic Fairy Tales. Ed. Maria Tatar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1999. 74-80. Print Grimm. “Snow White. ” The Classic Fairy Tales. Ed. Maria Tatar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1999. 83-90. Print. Gilbert and Grubar. “Snow White and Her Wicked Stepmother. ” The Classic Fairy Tales. Ed. Maria Tatar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1999. 291-297. Print.