[[quoteright:281:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/anon1909.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:281:Rapunzel (with, as she is often depicted, golden hair)]]

->''Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!''

Once upon a time, a couple lived next door to a witch with a beautiful garden. The wife developed such a craving for the rapunzel (specified as rampion in some versions) in this garden that the husband snuck into the garden and stole some for her. The longing increased, and the husband tried to steal more, only to be caught by the witch, who demanded their unborn child as a consequence.

Sure as her word, the witch took the couple's daughter and called her Rapunzel. When she was twelve, the witch shut Rapunzel into a tall tower without doors. Whenever she wanted to enter, the witch would call, "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair", and Rapunzel would lower her [[RapunzelHair extremely long hair]] for the witch to climb.

One day, a prince [[LoveAtFirstNote overheard Rapunzel singing]], and, having taken an interest in her situation, soon saw how the witch came and went. He repeated the witch's trick, Rapunzel dutifully let her hair down, and the two made plans to elope. One day, however, Rapunzel [[IdiotBall accidentally]] revealed the Prince's existence to the witch, who [[TraumaticHaircut cut off the girl's hair]] and banished her to the desert. The witch then lay in wait for the Prince, and pushed him off the tower into a bed of thorns, which blinded him.

The [[StarCrossedLovers unlucky couple]] wandered the wasteland for some time (during which Rapunzel [[TeenPregnancy bore either a single child or twins]], according to some versions) before running into one another. Rapunzel immediately embraced him, weeping, and her [[SwissArmyTears tears fell on his eyes and healed them]]. He took her back to his kingdom, and they lived HappilyEverAfter.

The best known version of this story comes from Creator/TheBrothersGrimm, probably based on Giambattista Basile's "Petrosinella". Initially, Rapunzel betrayed the Prince's existence by remarking on how tight her dress was getting around the middle, but the Grimms decided that [[{{Bowdlerise}} this was too raunchy]] and so in later versions, she instead remarked that the witch was much heavier to pull up than her Prince.

The story may be based on the legend of Rudaba as found in the ''Literature/TheShahnameh'', as well as the tale of St. Barbara. Many of the older forms -- such as "Literature/SnowWhiteFireRed" -- appear more closely related to a tale type called "The Girl Helps The Hero Flee" -- such as "Literature/TheWhiteDove". Another variant is "Literature/{{Prunella}}".

In 1988, ''Anime/GrimmsFairyTaleClassics'' dedicated a whole episode to this tale.

A Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon version of this fairy tale was released in 2010 under the title ''Disney/{{Tangled}}'' as a result of ExecutiveMeddling figuring a non-gender specific title would bring more people in.

Creator/AndrewLang's version of the tale can be read [[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/rapunzel/index.html here]].

----
!! "Rapunzel" contains examples of the following tropes:

* AbusiveParents: The Witch is a ParentalSubstitute version in some re-tellings:
** In ''Disney/{{Tangled}}'' she verbally abuses Rapunzel and contantly plays with her feelings, scares her into believing the world is horrible so she'll stay with her forever for her own purposes, preys on her self-esteem to make her vulnerable and completely reliant on her, etc.
** In the [[Anime/GrimmsFairyTaleClassics anime version]] she keeps Rapunzel locked away pretty much from infancy rather than from her twelfth birthday, and when she finds out about the Prince... she forcibly cuts the girl's hair and beats her (which could've potentially made her miscarry the child she was already pregnant with) before throwing her out and then confronting the prince.
* AdaptationExpansion:
** Very prone to it. ''Theatre/IntoTheWoods'' expands on the relationship between Rapunzel and the Witch (as well as Rapunzel's mental state when it's all over...) There is also a graphic novel, ''ComicBook/RapunzelsRevenge'', set in the Old West where the title character escapes on her own, uses her hair as lassos, and sets out to overturn the wicked witch's empire.
** Donna Jo Napoli's ''Zel'' delves into the psyche of the Witch, the Prince, and Rapunzel, including the effects of being locked in a tower and devoid of almost all human contact for months at a time.
** Regina Doman's ''[[Literature/FairytaleNovels Rapunzel Let Down]]'' retells the story in a modern setting.
** ''Series/OnceUponATime'' puts an interesting spin on the story: [[spoiler:The "witch" is actually just a physical embodiment of Rapunzel's fear, created when she ate something called Nightroot, which is a cure for anxiety.]] Also, the prince who rescues her is Prince Charming from the story of Snow White. As he is already married, they do not become a couple.
** ''Faerie Tale Theatre'' pads out the first half of the story, focusing on the parents. It's also implied that the witch hypnotized the mother into wanting the vegetables.
** Rapunzel joins the cast of the ''VideoGame/DarkParables'' in the seventh installment, where she is trapped in the long-forgotten FictionalCountry of Floralia. Here, she is one of two princesses, each of whom has magic powers - Rapunzel is a FriendToAllLivingThings, with a magical singing voice and SwissArmyTears that can heal. Her little half-sister Belladonna, on the other hand, is an EnemyToAllLivingThings, whose lethal powers mean that only Rapunzel can touch her without danger. Mother Gothel is the younger princess's nursemaid, who takes advantage of her attachment to Rapunzel to enact an elaborate revenge plot on Floralia's patron goddess, endangering all of humanity in the process.
* AdaptationalHeroism: ''{{Disney/Tangled}}'' does this with the parents. In contrast to the original story, the mother (the Queen of the land) is actually dying and she needs to be cured with a magical flower - one that the witch was using to keep herself young. In their despair, the royals take the flower unknowingly from the witch... and she simply steals the child rather than offering them to trade. What's more is that the parents disappear from the original story and never bother about the whereabouts of their daughter - [[spoiler:here, they were searching for her all the time, and are reunited at the end]].\\
This, of course, is returning to many of the older variants, where the Rapunzel figure and the prince do flee together, and she uses magic to ward off the pursuit.
* AmbiguouslyEvil: It's not clear whether Mother Gothel can be truly called malevolent. She did force her neighbors to give up their newborn child, but on the other hand, they did wrong her by stealing from her. Moreover, considering how willingly they seem to have handed her over, it's entirely possible that their daughter was better off with her. There's no mention of her abusing, exploiting or even neglecting Rapunzel. She did lock her adoptive daughter into a tower, but it's implied this was done out of an overblown protective instinct, rather than possessiveness. It's also noteworthy that, in some versions, she doesn't actually do anything to the Prince. So, is she evil or not? Numerous retellings and adaptations try to answer this question, one way or another, with modern ones either giving her a sympathetic portrayal, or being ''far'' less charitable to her.
* BabiesEverAfter: Almost all versions end with Rapunzel and the prince living happily ever after with their two children (even if Rapunzel's pregnancy was not mentioned earlier). In the [[Anime/GrimmsFairyTaleClassics anime]] they only have one son, who's actually the one who finds the Prince (not knowing he's his father) and takes him to Rapunzel's presence, leading to their reunion.
* {{Bowdlerise}}: In the revised edition of Creator/TheBrothersGrimm's story, Rapunzel (handling the IdiotBall) asks the witch why she's so much heavier to bring up the tower than the prince. This was changed from the original version, determined to be [[WhatDoYouMeanItsForKids unfriendly for children]], in which Rapunzel innocently asked [[TeenPregnancy why her dress was getting so tight around the middle]].
* DamselInDistress: The titular heroine, who is locked in a tower and in need of rescue. Interestingly, however, the prince does not actually save her - she only gets out of the tower when the witch banishes her. In the end, ''Rapunzel'' saves the ''prince'' by healing his eyes with her tears.
* DefiledForever: The original version, where Rapunzel gets pregnant and that's what tips off the witch. So Rapunzel is banished to a faraway desert.
* DumbBlonde: Rapunzel can come off as this in the revised Grimm version, where she carries an IdiotBall in her moment of forgetfulness to ask the witch why she is heavier to bring up the side of the tower with her hair than the prince. Not so much in the original version, where she innocently wonders aloud why [[TeenPregnancy her clothes keep getting tighter]], which makes her seem merely ignorant (understandable, considering she almost certainly never learned the birds and the bees) rather than outright scatterbrained.
* ElegantClassicalMusician: In the [[Anime/GrimmsFairyTaleClassics anime version]], Rapunzel is a very skilled lyre player.
* EnterStageWindow: The only entrance and exit into Rapunzel's tower is a window, through which she uses her hair to bring people up and down.
* EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses: Rapunzel is not a princess in the original tale, being the daughter of two peasants. More than one adaptation, including ''Disney/{{Tangled}}'', makes her a princess by birth.
* EvilTowerOfOminousness: Rapunzel's tower serves as her prison, doubling as this.
* EvilMatriarch: Rapunzel calls the witch "Frau Gothel," which means "godmother," While it could be just a formality, she is a literal godmother in some early French and Italian variants of the story.
* EyeScream: The Prince is blinded near the end of the story, either by falling into thorn bushes or by the witch scratching his eyes out. Though in some versions, the witch puts a curse of blindness on him.
* TheFairFolk: In early versions, the witch was a fairy. She sure acts like it!
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: ''Anime/GrimmsFairyTaleClassics'' gets away with having Rapunzel and the Prince ''in bed and after what's implied to be TheirFirstTime'', probably because the animators had them clothed. As this version ''does'' include Rapunzel's pregnancy ''and'' [[StrongFamilyResemblance the kid looks like a mix of both parents]], the implications are very obvious.
* GildedCage: Rapunzel's tower is often depicted as a very nice place to live.
* GirlInTheTower: Possibly ''the'' girl in the tower.
* HairOfGoldHeartOfGold: The innocent, beautiful, pure, inaccessible maiden is blonde. Yup.
** ''Tangled'' subverts it since [[spoiler: Rapunzel is ''not'' a natural blonde, but a brunette like both of her parents. The ''magic'' in her hair is what makes her a blonde.]]
* HandicappedBadass: After he's blinded, the Prince ''[[IWillFindYou still searches for Rapunzel on foot.]]''
* HappilyEverAfter: After suffering at the hands of the witch, Rapunzel and the prince return to his kingdom in happiness (with their twin children in the original version).
* TheHedgeOfThorns: In many versions, there's one at the base of the tower and the Prince is blinded as he falls on it.
* IAmNotPretty: Some variations give Rapunzel self-esteem issues, making her believe she's ugly.
* IdiotBall: Creator/TheBrothersGrimm gave Rapunzel this in their {{Bowdlerise}}d version when they have her, unprompted, mention the Prince to the witch. The first edition at least makes sense -- Rapunzel wonders aloud why her clothing no longer fits. Unsurprisingly, considering how the girl lived her life, she didn't know she was pregnant. The ''Series/FaerieTaleTheatre'' adaptation removes the IdiotBall by giving Rapunzel a pet parrot who mimics the prince one day when the Witch comes to visit.
** The parents also carried an Idiot Ball, considering they lived next door to a woman they knew was a witch and then chose to even ''risk'' stealing from her. WackyCravings or not, that was just dumb in its purest form.
** However, in some versions, the mother's want for the lettuce is so strong that she faces death if she doesn't get it, either from her overwhelming cravings or from the witch or both.
** In [[Disney/{{Tangled}} at least one version]], the mother is deathly ill while still pregnant, and the flower is a magic cure for her and the soon-to-be-born Rapunzel.
* IfICantHaveYou: Mother Gothel, of course.
* ImprobableHairstyle: Needless to say, human hair probably can't grow that long, certainly not while remaining healthy, shiny and beautiful. Since she's living with a witch, AWizardDidIt could come into play -- suggesting that the witch enchanted the hair. In ''{{Disney/Tangled}}'' it's justified because the hair is a result of magic. Subverted in ''WesternAnimation/BarbieAsRapunzel'' where the hair is only floor-length - which is possible in real life, depending on the person's genes - and the maintenance is believable because she's only locked in the tower for one day.
* InformedAbility: The witch never actually does any magic.
* IWillFindYou: The Prince does ''not'' stop looking for Rapunzel despite having being blinded. If some version are believed (i.e., ''Anime/GrimmsFairyTaleClassics''), the guy looks for his beloved ''for several years''.
* KarmaHoudini: In most versions, it isn't mentioned what happens to the witch after she banishes Rapunzel.
** It is often common in retellings to have her be stuck in the tower. The earliest known variant, [[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/rapunzel/stories/petros.html Petrosinella]], avoids this by having her get eaten by a wolf.
* TheKindnapper: Some interpretations of the witch.
* KnightTemplarParent: [[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation Some versions]] of the witch.
* LaserGuidedKarma: In some versions and adaptations, the witch ends up trapped in the very same tower she imprisoned Rapunzel in. For bonus points, this sometimes happens as a result of her causing the Prince's fall.
* LawOfInverseFertility: Her parents had long wanted and never had a child. Apparently the witch also wanted a child. And in some versions, Rapunzel inconveniently becomes pregnant.
* LettingHerHairDown: Something Gothel and the prince keep asking Rapunzel to do; Freud had a field day with the metaphorical implications of this request.
* LoveAtFirstNote: The prince for Rapunzel, as he first hears her songs and then sees her.
* LoveAtFirstSight: Rapunzel for the prince, in return.
* LuredIntoATrap: After the witch cuts off Rapunzel's hair and banishes her, she lets down the shorn locks when the Prince, unaware of what happened, calls to Rapunzel. Though what happens next depends on the version, her intentions for him are clearly not good.
* MissConception: In the first edition of the Grimm tales, the sorceress gets wind of the prince visiting Rapunzel when Rapunzel wonders why her dress is seemingly getting tighter and tighter around the middle. Obviously it does not occur to Rapunzel (because of her extremely sheltered life) that she could be pregnant. This version of events was sanitized from the second edition onward, where Rapunzel simply blabs out that the prince visits her in a moment of thoughtlessness.
* MyBelovedSmother: Some takes on the witch make her into an overprotective parental figure.
* ObliviouslyBeautiful: In many retellings and adaptations, Rapunzel doesn't know how attractive she is. Considering her ''very'' sheltered upbringing (she'd never seen a man until the Prince climbed her tower, after all), it's no surprise.
* ParentalAbandonment: Her father was pretty quick to accept the witch's deal of some rapunzel lettuce in exchange for his unborn child...
* PregnantBadass: Rapunzel, in the versions where she bears the Prince's kid/kids. Living alone in the desert isn't easy at the best of times, especially for a pregnant young woman who has no survival skills ''and'' has been isolated from the world by her ParentalSubstitute. She not only survives the childbirth, but manages to raise at least one kid in such an unfriendly environment.
* PrinceCharming: Rapunzel's love interest.
* RaceLift: ''Series/OnceUponATime'' gives Rapunzel one (and her parents by extension) where she is played by mixed race actress Alexandra Metz. What's more is that the script specifically called for a black actress to play the character.
** Raphaela Zilberger in ''[[Literature/FairyTaleNovels Rapunzel Let Down]]'' is Hispanic.
* RagsToRoyalty: Rapunzel came from a commoner family, but later became a princess.
* RapidHairGrowth: In some versions of the story, Rapunzel's hair miraculously grows back to its original length (or maybe even longer) after the Prince touches it during their reunion.
* RapunzelHair: TropeNamer.
* RealityIsUnrealistic: Experiments have determined that human hair actually ''is'' strong enough to support an adult human's weight (even blonde hair, which is weaker than darker hair), as long as it's anchored to something first so that it's not pulling directly on the scalp. All early versions of the tale mention that Rapunzel ties her hair to a hook in the wall before letting someone climb it; this is seen in ''Tangled'' as well.
* SecretRelationship: Rapunzel and her Prince, of course.
* ShakingHerHairLoose: Some versions the story say that Rapunzel's long golden hair is braided or tied up 90% of the time, and it's only untied when Mother Gothel or the prince climb up it.
** ''Tangled'' parodies it in the trailers, with Flynn doing the traditional request... and getting a face full of Rapunzel's ''very'' heavy hair.
* SkyCell: Rapunzel's tower is one without a door.
* SwissArmyTears: Rapunzel's tears unblind the Prince.
** In the ''Dark Parables'' adaptation, one of the MultipleEndings has [[spoiler:Rapunzel using her tears to save the life of her betrothed, Prince Ross, after he falls victim to her half-sister's death magic]].
* SympatheticCriminal: Rapunzel's parents act a lot less stupid when one realizes that in many ancient cultures, pregnancy cravings were SeriousBusiness. It's likely that Rapunzel's father ''literally'' thought his wife and unborn child might die if he didn't get some rampion for her as fast as possible. [[SocietyMarchesOn Modern doctors theorize]] that in times with only basic understanding of nutrition and a serious lack of reliable healthcare, the mother wasn't getting enough of a certain vitamin that the rampion had.
* TeenPregnancy: In the first edition of ''Grimm's Fairy Tales'', Rapunzel is actually pregnant, and gives birth to two sons ([[UntoUsASonAndDaughterAreBorn in some versions a boy and a girl instead]]).
** In the [[Anime/GrimmsFairyTaleClassics anime]], Rapunzel gets pregnant but only has one son.
* TextileWorkIsFeminine: It's implied that Rapunzel is a skilled weaver, since most versions have her ask the Prince to bring her skeins of silk that she'll use to make a ladder to escape the tower with.
* ThirstyDesert: Gothel sends Rapunzel here after finding out about the Prince's visits.
* TooDumbToLive: Rapunzel's dad was not only stupid enough to break into the garden of a known witch to rob her, he did it multiple times; it's his own fault he was caught.
* TraumaticHaircut: Done to Rapunzel by the witch.
* UntoUsASonAndDaughterAreBorn: In some versions, Rapunzel gives birth to a boy and a girl.
* WackyCravings: Rapunzel's mother's craving for an herb is what starts the entire plot.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: In most versions of the story, the witch vanishes completely from the story after blinding the prince and sending Rapunzel elsewhere. Where did she go? What happened to her? She just seems to go away, scot-free. Unless one takes the view that the cut hair fell away from the tower before she could descend, [[DeathByIrony leaving her trapped in there to die alone.]]
** Rapunzel's parents are never mentioned again after she is taken. Though considering they sold her to a witch, she might be better off...
* WickedWitch: In earlier versions, [[TheFairFolk a fairy.]]
* WorldsMostBeautifulWoman: Rapunzel.

----