What's the best way to indicate that an aristocrat or other person of wealth has arrived at an engagement? By rolling out the red carpet, of course! Making an entrance by walking on red carpet is a symbol of both fame and luxury. It immediately identifies a person using it as someone important. Alternatively, it may be used in a Prince and Pauper
story to show the Pauper is now being considered a man of upper-class stature after the switch has been made by showing him walking on this.
This trope tends to come in two flavors: either the palace of the King or wealthy man will be decorated with red carpet, or a literal red carpet will be rolled out to mark his/her arrival at some event. The chance of seeing an actual red carpet being rolled out (rather than already being set on the floor when the scene begins) by servants or attendants is increased if watching an animated work. That way it is easier to show a red carpet being rolled out the exact moment the VIP sets his/her foot on the ground.
This is also a luxury trope that has survived many long centuries and can be seen both in works set in older time periods and the modern day. The earliest known reference to this attention-drawing symbol is from an Ancient Greek play
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- The earliest known reference in history is from a Greek play titled Agamemnon by Aeschylus. A red carpet is rolled out for the returning hero, but he is apprehensive because only the gods deserve such honor.
- One is rolled out in front of the gates to Wonka's Factory in the 2013 stage musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
- In Illusion of Gaia, Edward Castle has every room decorated with regal red carpets. This becomes a bit of a Tear Jerker when you visit another location late in the game and learn that these carpets are hand-knit by women since their childhood and each one takes forty years to complete.
- Brainy in The Smurfs episode "Brainy's Smarty Party" gives Papa Smurf the red carpet treatment when he invites him to be the first guest of his It's All About Me party, which Papa Smurf refuses.
- Red carpets are still used for Heads of State when traveling.
- Events marked by the appearances of many celebrities typically feature a red carpet, especially the academy awards.