Snow White is actually an ancient fairy tale, which was documented by the Brothers Grimm in 1812. It has variations in other cultures, but the most well-known version today is probably the Disney version.

Many fairy tales appear to be a simple children’s story on the surface, but there are messages, morals, and symbolism contained in the story. A closer look at Snow White will reveal some messages that you may not have noticed before. Much of the symbolism is based on Christianity and there are several parallels to the stories of the Bible. Other aspects of the symbolism are linked to common stories in traditional fairy tales.

The colors White, Red and Black:

The colors featured at the beginning of the story (snow-white skin, blood-red lips, ebony-black hair) provide a direct indication that Snow White is a “coming of age” story. White represents innocence (birth), red represents life and passion, while black represents death. Snow White’s story begins with Snow White as a girl in the original versions and a rather naive young woman in the Disney version (the white phase). She experiences maturity through the film (the red phase) and experiences death (in her dream state, the black phase).

No mother:

The absence of the biological mother makes it possible for the narrators to present the role of the evil stepmother. The evil stepmother is a common element of many fairy tales: Snow White, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel. The lack of a mother at all is also common, because if a mother were present, the series of events would not unfold as it does in stories where there is no maternal influence. People have often accused Walt Disney of being an advocate of motherless stories (it is true that many Disney movies do not have mothers), but Disney recreated classic stories in which the mother’s death was already part of the development of the mother. story. This element of storytelling aims to attract sympathy from readers, and it does it very well.

The poisonous apple:

This would seem to point all the way back to the biblical reference to the apple that was offered to Eve by the serpent (evil / Satan). The evil queen offers Snow White the apple in the same way. Snow White knows she shouldn’t talk to strangers, but she does it anyway and pays for that mistake by falling under the spell.

The meaning of seven:

The number seven was used many times in the Bible to signify perfection. The book of Revelation contains numerous groups of seven such as angels, churches, trumpets, crowns, mountains, stars, and kings. It is one of the most significant numbers in Christianity in the sense that “God created the world in seven days”, or rather he created the world in six days and rested on the seventh.

The names of the dwarves:

Some people have thought of correlating the seven dwarfs with the seven deadly sins, but that correlation does not hold. In Grimm’s version of Snow White, the seven dwarfs have no names. In Disney’s version of Snow White, the dwarves have names, but those names were chosen from sixty possible names and do not correspond to the seven deadly sins. The names of the seven dwarves are: Dopey, Grumpy, Doc, Happy, Bashful, Sneezy, and Sleepy. These names are more aptly “the seven moods of man” rather than sins.

The seven capital sins:

The seven deadly sins are represented in the story of Snow White, but not in the form of the seven dwarfs.

Pride / Vanity: Clearly the vanity of the Evil Queen. The mirror is clearly a direct reference to vanity.

Lust / Extravagance: Once again, the Queen as royalty is extravagant

Gluttony: The seven dwarfs eating (maybe a stretch). Or in the original tale, the Queen eats Snow White’s heart.

Greed: the queen again

Laziness: Originally it meant sadness, melancholy, apathy, depression, and sadness that distracted God’s attention. This applies to the dwarves after Snow White dies and laziness in the form of carelessness certainly applies to the seven dwarves in their house-making.

Anger: The anger of the seven dwarves on the witch after they discover Snow White dead.

Envy: the queen (again)

The seven deadly sins have opposites in the seven holy virtues: humility, chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, goodness. These are all characteristics of Snow White.


Snow White “dies” and comes back to life. This certainly parallels the death and resurrection of Jesus from the Bible.

Hand washing:

The part of the story where Snow White demands that the dwarves wash themselves could be related to the cleansing of baptism. Once the dwarves have been washed, they turn into people who seem to have a new purpose in life, except for Grumpy, who is the one who protests the most. However, Grumpy undergoes a transformation throughout the film, from a skeptical dwarf to one very devoted to Snow White.

The work ethic:

Snow White cleans the little house without being asked and cooks without being asked. The seven dwarves are also hard at work in the mines (Hey Ho …).

These are some of the most visible symbols in the Snow White story, and there are probably a few more!

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