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This article focuses on the fairytale "Rapunzel".
For the first iteration of the character, see Rapunzel (The Tower).
For the second iteration of the character, see Rapunzel Tremaine.

"Rapunzel" is a fairytale featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by the German authors Jacob and Wilhelm of the Brothers Grimm and incorporated into the book "Grimms' Fairy Tales" in 1812.

Traditional Plot

An impoverished couple longing to have a child lives near the house of the sorceress Dame Gothel, who owns an enormous garden. After becoming pregnant, the wife begins to crave the rapunzel plant that grows in the garden and asks her husband to steal some for her. Later that night, the husband climbs the wall separating their house from Gothel's garden and steals a handful of the rapunzel plant before bringing it to his wife, who makes a salad out of it and devours it.

When the wife asks for more the next day, the husband goes back to the garden and retrieves another handful of the plant only to be caught by Dame Gothel, who demands his life as payment for the stolen plant.

Upon learning about his wife's cravings, however, Gothel agrees to let the husband live on the condition that he and his wife surrender the infant as soon as it is born. The husband agrees to Gothel's terms and returns home with his life. Sometime later, after the wife gives birth to a baby girl, Gothel appears and takes the infant, whom she names Rapunzel, to raise as her own.

Time passes and Rapunzel grows into a beautiful young woman with long golden hair. When she reaches the age of twelve, Gothel locks her in a tower with only one window and no doors. Whenever Gothel comes to pay a visit, Rapunzel wraps her hair around a hook and lets it down so Gothel can enter.

Several years later, while riding through the forest, a Prince comes across the tower after hearing Rapunzel sing. Unable to enter, he returns to the tower several times to hear her voice. One day, after seeing Gothel climb the tower, the Prince waits until she has left and asks Rapunzel to let her hair down.

Despite her initial hesitation, Rapunzel becomes better acquainted with the Prince, who comes to visit her every day. During one visit, the Prince proposes to Rapunzel and she accepts. The two then plan to escape the tower by making a ladder out of silk.

Before they can do so, Rapunzel accidentally gives away the Prince to Gothel, who responds by cutting off her hair and casting her out to fend for herself. When the Prince returns to the tower that same night, Gothel tricks him into climbing up Rapunzel's severed hair before pushing him off the tower and into a thick bramble.

Blinded by the thorns, the Prince wanders through the wilderness for several months, not knowing that Rapunzel lives there with her fraternal twins. One day, the Prince hears Rapunzel singing and reunites with her. They wrap one another in a jubilant embrace, with her tears restoring his sight, before taking the twins back to the Prince's kingdom.

Show Adaptation

First Iteration

  • Rapunzel was forced up the Tower by Dame Gothel, who is actually a manifestation of her greatest fear, and left after "killing" Dame Gothel.
    • Said manifestation took on a physical form immediately after Rapunzel consumed the Night Root, a plant rumored to rid the user of any fear.
  • The Prince is already married by the time he comes across Rapunzel and shows no romantic interest in her.

Second Iteration

  • Dame Gothel locks Rapunzel in the Tower after promising to help save her husband and daughters, the latter being born prior to their mother being locked in the tower.
    • Rapunzel escapes and later tricks Dame Gothel into imprisoning herself. The latter uses magic to disguise herself as Rapunzel and, after residing in the Tower for many years, deceives the Prince into conceiving a child with her before leaving the infant to take her place.

Characters Featured

Original Character Adaptated as First Featured in
Rapunzel Rapunzel (The Tower) "The Tower"
Gothel (disguised as Rapunzel Tremaine) "Eloise Gardener"
Rapunzel Tremaine "One Little Tear"
The Prince Prince Charming "The Tower"
Hook (Wish Realm) (allusion) "Eloise Gardener"
Marcus Tremaine (allusion) "One Little Tear"
Dame Gothel Manifestation of Rapunzel's fear "The Tower"
Gothel "Eloise Gardener
Rapunzel's Parents Rapunzel's Parents "The Tower"
Rapunzel's Two Children Drizella and Anastasia "One Little Tear"

Location Featured

Original Location Adaptated as First Featured in
Rapunzel's Tower Rapunzel's Tower "The Tower"
Gothel's Tower "Eloise Gardener"
Witch's Garden Gothel's Garden "Eloise Gardener"

Items Featured

Original Item Adaptated as First Featured in
The Plant Night Root (allusion) "The Tower"
Golden Flower "Eloise Gardener"
The Tears Lucy's tear "One Little Tear"


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