The Snake With A Secret Essay

1622 words - 7 pages

Fairytales are common for their characters of royalty, talking animals, and enchanted objects, but they’re also well-known for their lessons. The story “The White Snake” is a German fairytale that was included in the complete volume of the Brothers Grimm that revolves around a character of lower class who must earn his right of life, freedom, adventure, love, and ultimately happiness by pleasing the higher class (those of royalty). He is a loyal and trusted servant to his king and queen, and is required to perform various and specific tasks at their command. When analyzing the fairytale through a Marxist lens, it becomes clear that the story supports the Marxist theory, communicating that ...view middle of the document...

The servant is an honest and loyal man, but only by deviating from that does he change his life for the better.
The servant runs into many obstacles along the way, the first being the queen’s accusing him of stealing her ring. “The king ordered the man to be brought before him, and threatened with angry words that unless he could before the morrow point out the thief, he himself should be looked upon as guilty and executed”. The king is quick to blame the servant, the lower working class man, who, to the royal king, means nothing and can be easily replaced. The king has complete rule over the servant’s life, possessing the power to take it away from him for no probable or evident cause.
In order to exonerate himself, the servant conducts a frantic search for the ring. Remembering that he earlier acquired the ability to understand and speak with animals, he overhears a conversation between a group of ducks as he is searching. One of them says to the others, “something lies heavy on my stomach; as I was eating in haste I swallowed a ring which lay under the queen’s window”. If the servant hadn’t looked under the lid of the tray and taken a bite out of the white snake he was serving to the king, he would still be unaware of the location of the ring and the next day be dead. When the servant slices the duck open to retrieve the ring from its stomach and return it to the queen, he is finally given some recognition. The king offers to grant him whatever he asks for. The man does not ask for power or omniscience, only for a horse and sufficient money to travel as he pleases.
The servant’s journey across the gap Marxism makes clear continues. On his journey he counters animals in distress – fish, ants, and ravens. Because he is able to communicate with them, he helps them all as he moves along; he even sacrifices his horse to feed the ravens. As an expression of their gratitude for the selfless man, the animals all promise him a favor should he call on them in the future. The servant’s interactions with the animals are much fairer, for lack of a better term, and justified. The animals do not have a king or ruling power: all are equal. When the servant provides a service to them, they shall provide a service in return. When serving the higher class, the royalty, however, every single day as their worker, he receives no real recognition or equal exchange. It takes great lengths for a member of the lower class to please someone of the ruling class – this is an aspect of our class-based society that perpetuates the gap that separates the two classes.
As the plotline progresses, the servant encounters a man on horseback crying out, “the king’s daughter wants a husband; but whoever seeks her hand must perform a hard task, and if he does not succeed he will forfeit his life”. The servant’s life is taken lightly and put in danger again by the higher class when he accepts this challenge after seeing the princess and immediately falling in love with her...

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