Did the Queen Deserve it?: An Examination of the Death of the Queen in the Grimm’s “The Little Snow-White”


The Queen sentenced Snow-white to death because she was deemed the most beautiful in the land by the magic mirror. After the huntsman had failed to do so, the Queen then attempted to kill Snow-white three times. The third attempt was proven successful until the Princes servants “stumbled over a trees-stump, and with the shock the poisonous piece of apple which Snow-white and bitten off came out of her throat” (257), as they were carrying her towards the palace. Snow-white had soon regained consciousness and married the prince. The Queen was then invited to Snow-white’s wedding where she “was forced to put on the red-hot shoes, and dance until she dropped down dead” (258). Evidently, the Queen had attempted to murder Snow-white four times for a vain motive but each attempt was a quick death. Assuming that dancing in an burning medieval torture device would take longer than a few minutes.


The torture that Snow-white sentenced the Queen to, proves that she is more evil than the her. The Queen sought relatively painless means of killing, compared to the “red-hot shoes” (258) that she had experienced. Snow-white wanted the Queen to suffer an excruciating painful death, as a punishment of the four attempted murders of her life. However, Snow-white could have avoided coming into contact with the poisonous corset, comb and apple if she simply did not talk to the old woman, a stranger. Especially after her first experience with the corset, Snow-white should have learned to not interact with strangers. If she had learned so, the attempted murders of her life would have remained at one, opposed to escalating to four. Regardless of the threats to her life, the torture device was unnecessarily cruel.


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