What’s Wrong with the Frog Prince?

I saw this picture and I thought, Ooh, cute picture. People will like this. I’ll use it for my blog. Yes, The Frog Prince is a classic fairy tale. It will fit with my fantasy theme.

The story proved to be more challenging than I thought. What is this tale trying to tell us? What’s the deeper meaning beneath the words? I evaluated each character’s behaviour and thought about their motives. I examined the relationships between them. Who is the hero of this story? How was he or she changed by the journey?

Is the Frog Prince the hero? After all, the tale is named for him. BUT my suspicions are immediately roused. Why has he been cursed? What did he do to deserve his fate? He seems to be all patience and innocence – but is he? We hear nothing about the wicked, vengeful sorceress who cursed him, so we don’t have any clues to her side of the story.

The princess is not a likeable character at all. She seems spoilt, immature, deceptive and manipulative. She makes a promise just to get her way, and then refuses to keep it until her father steps in. Good, wise king. He’s making her take responsibility for her actions, but I wonder why he doesn’t give his daughter advice about her other options.

The prince is very persistent in his pursuit of the princess. That’s understandable – he has a lot to gain: restoration to his former self and his princely life, but he also ends up with the princess.

And the princess’s reward for doing what she didn’t want to do? Surprise! The frog is actually a prince, and she gets to marry him. Hmmm. Questions, questions, questions.

Why do so many girls want to be princesses? Why is marrying the prince the ultimate reward? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a boy who dreams of being a prince. Who do boys want to be? Dwayne Johnson?

Well, the princess did make a promise, and I do believe that promises should be kept, but she should have thought that one through before she made it. Perhaps that’s the lesson in this story. Think first. Don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep. The consequences could stick with you for a long time.

How would the story have gone if the princess had said, “No thanks, Frog, I’ll just pop back to the palace and get the maintenance staff to sort this for me.”?

These days, an heroic princess would put on her deep diving gear and go get that golden ball from the bottom of the well herself. She’s bound to find something wonderful down there, too. Like long lost treasure, or the entrance to an amazing underwater world. At the very least she’ll know she can take care of her own problems.

This story wasn’t as clear-cut as one might expect. It has got its ‘ever after’ ending, but I have my doubts about ‘happily’. I finished with a lot of questions, and some good material for my own future fantasy tales. Well done, Grimm brothers. I like a thought-provoking challenge.


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