The Queen’s Unnatural Desire(s)



Year of publication 2022
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Although the Queen is one of the primary antagonists in the earliest versions of “The Sleeping Beauty”, in modern versions, she is rather marginalized, or even entirely ignored, as a character. In the first known version of the fairy tale, Giambattista Basile’s “Sun, Moon and Talia”, she is the wife of the main male protagonist, and thus naturally an enemy of the main heroine. Later on, in Charles Perrault’s “Sleeping Beauty in the Wood”, she is replaced by the hero’s mother, an ogress, who is quenched by her desire to eat human flesh. Even though these two characters may seem to be radically different, they have a lot in common. They are both characterized by their cruel behaviour towards the main heroine, which, although it has somewhat different sources, yields nearly identical consequences for them and become what in feminist criticism is known as the stereotypical evil woman. This often-overlooked character takes up the main role in Theodora Goss’ re-writing of “The Sleeping Beauty” in the poem “The Ogress Queen”, where the author merges traits of the two villainous Queens into one character. The aim of the contribution will be to show how Goss portrays the Queen’s desires. She rebukes the notion that the Queen is driven only by her monstrous ogrish side or a desire for power. Although these desires are still present in the text, Goss also acknowledges the feminist criticism of the evil woman stereotype and focuses the attention of the readers on other desires, especially the desire not to lose a loved one or the desire for companionship, which inadvertently become one with the destructive ones.
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