Fairytale heroes are mostly person with a soft character. Sometimes they are girls in troubles, girls in need of rescue from an evil stepmother or witch or girl who seek for a husband.
Perrault’s Griselda is a soft, gentle female character that gets abused by her jealous husband throughout the whole story. She accepted marrying him without protesting it because she thought she was lucky to be picked as his wife. Her absolute obedience was rewarded in the end, and she got her power back when her husband started talking to her with respect.
Even though Perrault wanted to show Griselda’s story as a parody, the Grimm brothers stabilized her obedient and humble character through the story about Cinderella and other fairytale female characters. Cinderella didn’t want to listen to her stepmother and stood up for herself by going to the ball and so she showed her obedience to the higher moral authority instead of the human authority. These fairy tales can teach the readers that obedience is the most important characteristic, but Perrault didn’t want to show Griselda as someone who we should follow. Instead, he wanted to describe her as a role model of virtue and patience that shouldn’t be taken for granted.
It’s clear that Griselda is a person that can put up with her husband’s cruelty. Her husband is dominant in their marriage and, despite everything he had done, in the end, he is just a humble prince who feels sorry for his actions.
In the end, it’s impossible to tell if Perrault’s intention was to point out to women with what they shouldn’t put up in a marriage or to show them how to defend themselves against jealous husbands.
Time: once upon a time
Place: the source of river Po in Italy, palace, forest
Theme: testing Griselda’s kindness and patience
Moral: jealousy can make a man so desperate that he commits cruel actions, but kindness and patience will win in the end.
Once upon a time a girl named Griselda lived near the river Po in Italy. In the forest, Griselda lived a humble life with her father. They fed on the milk from their flock and made clothes out of fleece. Just because it was a modest life doesn’t mean it was an unhappy one.
Further away from the forest lived a young prince who later one became Griselda’s husband. He didn’t trust women and thought the worse about them. He thought all women were hypocrites and overfilled with pride and though he will never be able to find the right woman for him. The prince would often feel melancholic, and it would lead him into depressing states of jealousy which was the main cause of the problems between Griselda and him.
The prince ruled wisely, and the people loved him. His biggest pleasure was hunting. Even though he found it cruel, he preferred it over getting to know women. As it always is, his servants urged him to find a wife that will rule as fair as he does. He was flattered by their suggestions, but he stated he would only marry a girl free of vain and pride. The prince believed a love relationship could only succeed if one person is dominant. He also told them that if they find a woman that won’t know how to express her will that he’ll marry her.
The prince kept on going hunting without even thinking that in the nearby forest lived his future wife. While the other hunters were looking for a prey, he wondered off and stumbled upon a small cottage. He didn’t know if it was faith or coincidence, but right there he met Griselda. Deep down he felt excited, and he decided to hide so she wouldn’t spot him immediately. As soon as he made a step, Griselda heard him and turned to him. She was a beautiful young woman, and when the prince saw how shy she was, he knew she was an innocent person. The prince started a conversation with her. He told her that he was lost and she told him she had never seen anyone passing by those areas. Griselda showed him the right way, and he was very grateful.
While Griselda was showing him the way, he enjoyed the surroundings and tried to memorize every detail so he could come back to the place where he saw her for the first time. Their time was running out, and he got sad. To see Griselda as soon as possible he organized another hunting trip.
Afterward the prince told his servants that the time to meet his future wife was very close. They were immensely happy and couldn’t wait to meet the new ruler. Weeding preparations began. The city workers got busy and soon everything was ready for the ceremony.
The prince came, and the people started shouting. He headed for the woods and the people thought that love didn’t win again and that he was going hunting. He went to Griselda’s house, and he declared his love for her. She was surprised and didn’t even think about turning down a prince. He ordered for her to get the prettiest jewels and appropriate dress for the weeding. They went to the church by a carriage.
After they said their wows the celebration continued in the castle.
Many came from different countries to congratulate them, and Griselda was already acting like a real princess. Even though she guarded sheep not so long ago, the royal title suited her as if she was a princess her whole life.
Soon her troubles began. The jealous prince decided to take away all the jewelry and dresses out of her room so she wouldn’t be able to enjoy them anymore but she didn’t mind. She was actually to give everything up as long as it made the prince happy. Griselda though that if she suffered a lot, she would be rewarded for her sacrifice by happiness. She was very grateful to the prince for giving her a better life, and she looked at his actions as some new upbringing.
Soon they got a little girl, but the prince was still testing Griselda’s love. The newborn baby presented them with an incredible happiness, but the prince was getting ready to do something vicious. He took the child away from Griselda’s hands by saying she needed to be raised by someone who will install in her all the virtues a true princess has. It was his was of testing her love for him again. He told her that someone would come and pick up the child.
The prince went hunting, and Griselda had enough courage to put up with her child being taken away from her. She couldn’t hold back the tears but she thought to bow down to her husband was the right choice. Two days after he told her that their child was dead, but it wasn’t true. The baby was alive in a nearby convent in which the nuns took care of her. Instead of hating her husband, Griselda started comforting him.
Many years passed by and the girl grew up - she was as beautiful as her mother and as proud as her father. When a young man saw her, he immediately fell in love with her. When the prince found out about it, he quickly found a new way to test their love and Griselda’s patience.
He told Griselda she had to leave the palace and go live in the cottage again because his people asked him to marry a younger woman. Griselda obeyed and, despite everything, she felt an incredible love for him.
After some time she received a letter from a prince asking her for a favor. He wanted her to take care of the future princess and his future wife. Griselda accepted, but when she met the young girl, she felt an incredible mother love for her, without knowing it was her long lost daughter. She asked the prince to treat her gently because she wasn’t used to life’s cruelty.
Soon the weeding was supposed to be held and luckily it didn’t happen because the prince decided to come clean. He told everyone that the young girl was his daughter which will be married to a young prince and that Griselda was coming back to the palace. He also promised to make up for everything he had done in the past.
The people were excited to hear the truth and Griselda couldn’t believe everything that was happening. She hugged her daughter, and the prince told them to keep their love outbursts for later because they have a weeding on their hands.
The prince finally had the courage to overcome his cruelty, and he admitted the truth he had been hiding for years. Everyone was happy and satisfied, and the people couldn’t stop talking about Griselda’s kindness and patience.
Characters: Griselda, Griselda’s father, young princess, the prince, young princess’s fiancé
Griselda was a beautiful, kind, lovely, humble, patient and honest young girl that marrying the prince became royalty. She managed her new role well, as she promised, but she always bowed down to her husband and fulfilled every one of his wishes and demands. He was cruel to her and tested her love until he realized he had a woman ready to do anything for him.
She was very happy when he picked her to be his wife, but she wasn’t allowed to wish for anything. She swore to serve him and didn’t think for a second his jealousy was ruining their life. Even when she had to give up her newborn child, she didn’t doubt his cruel intention, and she believed he did everything with a reason. The story has a happy ending when Griselda has a chance to live happily with her family.
Prince was cruel but a wise ruler. He felt melancholic now and then so he would come up with plans to prove that Griselda wasn’t completely honest with him as she pretended to be. Thinking all women were evil and hypocrites he proved to himself that he was wrong and the only person he was hurting was again himself.
He wanted to tell Griselda the truth several times, but the evil took over. He got more and crueler and put her through hell until one day he decided to come forward and show everyone how kind and patient his wife was. The people forgave him because he decided, to tell the truth. The people admired Griselda, and that was his final goal.
Charles Perrault Biography
Charles Perrault (1628. - 1703.) was born in Paris to a wealthy family as the seventh child. His father was very strict and imposed a particular kind of education upon him, so he decided to study law. When he finished school, he got a job in the public service.
Many consider him to be the founder of the most popular genre between children, and those are the fairytales. He took his inspiration out of folks tales. Some of them were carried mouth to mouth, and the Grimm brothers told some of them. The fairytales that Charles made famous: Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, and Puss in Boots.
This famous writer from France published another interesting book and it is Tales of Mother Goose. It consisted out of 8 fairytales.
Charles published this work under the name of his son. His fairytales were so popular that they were screen and TV adapted. The first fairytale The Sleeping Beauty was published in 1969.
Charles was considered to be one of the most influential people in the 17th century and a fighter for the younger generations. A conflict was going on back then between the old who believed that people should stick to the traditional way of writing and the young who were fighting for a new, fresh way of writing.