Disney’s Tangled Symbolic Use of Light and Darkness

Light has been seen as the giver of life across multiple religions, cultures,  and even by scientist. Symbolism is no exception to this trend. Disney uses this common theme of light when tackling the movie Tangled and the power that it holds throughout the story.

From the opening scene in which a flower that bloomed from a sun-drop demonstrated healing abilities light was used as a symbol of granting life. The flower glowed as the magic worked to heal or create youth when the villainess Mother Gothel used it. Mother Gothel is also able to use this flower for many years and is able to use Rapunzel later because light is also seen as something eternal. Light has been seen as gift from God/the gods across multiple different culture from the Egyptians who aw the sun God Ra’s eye as the giver of life and found it sacred to Christianity where there was darkness and God created light. Light has been seen as a symbol for life and the use of this in creating the flower demonstrated how many see light as a gift from above as well as it grants life, health and it is eternal.

Although it is not seen on screen there is also no indication of Rapunzel ever falling ill or being harmed in any way. The power of the light seems to also protect her as well as grant its power upon others and it can be reasoned that, like how the flower showed no signs of dying until humans took it from the ground to heal the queen, when Rapunzel’s hair was blonde there was a possibility of her living forever as well.

The transformation in the colors of her hair mirrors the different symbols of light and dark. When that magic got transferred to Rapunzel when she was born she had golden blonde hair that glowed when that song was sang and appeared to have the same healing ability. When her hair is light in color, it has the ability to glow, heal and rejuvenate going along with symbols of light. However when the hair was cut it turned brown and seemed to have an adverse affect on the user. When Mother Gothel first tries to steal a lock of Rapunzel’s hair, when she is an infant, the moment after she cuts it her skin begins to drastically wrinkle and her hair turns a silver grey. This is seen once again when Flynn (Eugene) cuts her hair at the end of the movie when all of her hair is cut it appears as if all the magical healing and rejuvenation Gothel received across the decades (centuries?) was reversed as she turned to dust.

Light is a representation of life, healing and virtuality whereas darkness is a representation of loss and death. The Disney movie Tangled implements these symbols to help aid in the development of their story.

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1 Response to Disney’s Tangled Symbolic Use of Light and Darkness

  1. wcturgeon says:

    You are our official Disney interpreter! Fascinating.

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