“Beauty is often rewarded in fairy tales, but at times it is also a source of danger.” Discuss.

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Beauty is a source of danger in such iconic fairytales as "Snow White" and "Cinderella." Both tales highlight the psychological truth that beauty in a woman can raise envy in other women. In "Snow White," the protagonist's life is endangered because her evil stepmother tries to kill her. In "Cinderella," Cinderella's well-being is threatened by her demotion to servant status. In each story, patriarchy triumphs as a high-status male rescues the beautiful woman in question, showing that beauty is rewarded.

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Several iconic fairy tales show the pitfalls of beauty. In the Grimm brothers version of "Snow White," largely the story we know, Snow White's great beauty puts her life in danger. As she grows up, her beauty becomes greater than that of her evil stepmother, the queen. When the queen discovers that Snow White is more beautiful than she is, she has a huntsman take Snow White to the woods to kill her. When that fails, the stepmother tries to kill her herself.

In "Cinderella," Cinderella's great beauty is a contrast to that of her two ugly stepsisters. As a result, she is degraded to the role of servant. Her degradation puts her in implicit danger of overwork, ill health, and lack of access to the resources she needs to stay alive, such as good food or adequate clothing. The dangers of too much isolation, which would mean her circumstances could never change, becomes apparent when she is deprived of her chance to go to the ball.

Both stories highlight the psychological truth that an attractive woman can raise the envy of other women.

Both stories, however, reflecting patriarchal society, show that a beautiful woman can triumph—but only if she finds male protection. The stories set up a social hierarchy in which some women have power over other women, but men have the final power. The ugly stepsisters and their mother, for example, can't stop the powerful prince from finding and wedding Cinderella. Both tales also show the evil women in question being punished. Cinderella's envious nemeses witness her ascend to marriage to a prince. Snow White's stepmother, who tried to kill her, is forced by the prince to wear red hot shoes and dance until she dies.

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