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Concept: Snow White


This paper interprets the fairytale Snow White (Bruder Grimm 1857) in terms of the realization of absolute beauty. Jung’s understanding that ‘in myths and fairytales, as in dreams, the soul speaks about itself’ (Jung 1945, para. 400), underpins such an approach. From this perspective a fantasy image is not about us, not about our unconsciousness, but is essentially about itself. The idea of absolute beauty first arises in the Queen’s mind as a wish. Despite the Queen’s strong desire to be named as the most beautiful person in the world, her mirror reflects that it is actually her daughter Snow White who is the fairest. Snow White might be regarded in the language of Giegerich as her internal other. Effectively they are separated into the Real that conceives the idea of absolute beauty and the Ideal that embodies it. The exchange that takes place between the two - mediated by mirror and window - generates the corpse of surpassing beauty that never decays but lies inaccessible behind the glass coffin. However the loving and penetrating gaze of the Prince, representing masculinity, succeeds in reanimating Snow White. Thus the Prince as the Other that is completely external and unknown to both the Queen and Snow White, specifically to their femininity, facilitates the realization of absolute beauty as the Ideal in the Real.

Concepts: English-language films, Jacques Lacan, Fairy tale, Brothers Grimm, Grimm's Fairy Tales, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs