Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mother Gothel and Rapunzel

Early on in the movie Tangled is a scene that sets up the relationship between Mother Gothel and Rapunzel. I'm talking about the song, Mother Knows Best, which Mother Gothel goes into after Rapunzel says that she wants to see the "floating lights." This song sets up an unhealthy relationship between the two where Mother Gothel repeatedly belittles Rapunzel, and shows how little motherly affection she really has.

What I'm focusing on here is all visual, so it's not something you'd notice if you were just listening to the sound track. You'll have to watch the movie.

First of all is what happens during lyrics "You know why we stay up in this tower / That's right, to keep you safe and sound dear." During the second line Mother Gothel has got her hands on Rapunzel's hair. The magic hair which keeps her young. That right there indicates what she is really interested in keeping safe: Rapunzel's hair, not Rapunzel herself.

As for the next two, I don't remember which happens first.

In one place Mother Gothel has put out all the lights and Rapunzel is relighting them one small candle at a time. So what does Mother Gothel do? She follows along behind Rapunzel putting out each flickering candle. Here we see that wherever Rapunzel lights a light (or hope) Mother Gothel extinguishes it. Or tries to, anyways.

Then we have the place where Mother Gothel holds out her arms, offering her comfort. Rapunzel goes to Mother Gothel, but after embracing her supposed mother it is revealed that she is holding a manikin that had a dress on it. Here we see that any comfort ever offered to Rapunzel is fake.

Last, when Mother Gothel is leaving the tower and telling Rapunzel that she will be back later, she calls Rapunzel "Flower" -- something which she also calls Rapunzel earlier on when young Rapunzel is shown with her. Here we see what Rapunzel really is to her, which is a means to the power of the magic flower that was used to heal the queen.

I've been typing this while watching Tangled and we're now to take two of Mother Knows Best. There are even more things Mother Gothel does in an attempt to keep her "flower" under control. And that's all Mother Gothel wants, is to keep her flower safe, and looking after Rapunzel is just a means to an end. So she looks after the physical needs of Rapunzel, keeping her fed, clothed, housed, and comfortable. But she doesn't really care about Rapunzel for herself.

3 comments:

Magaly Guerrero said...

I JUST watched Rapunzel last night (for the first time). I think you captured the idea beautiful, that terrible woman's mannerism tells the story her horrible song tries to hide.

Shawn said...

Interesting thoughts....making me do some thinking now.
Shawn

Sarita Rucker said...

Magaly -- The only thing I don't like about watching Tangled is Mother Gothel. For a bad guy she's pretty bad.

Shawn -- If you stop to think about stories (and if you ask the right questions) you can find all kinds of stuff to think about. That might be why I'm an English major. :)

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