Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Mathias Nordvig

Second Advisor

Lauren Stone

Third Advisor

Ann Schmiesing


This thesis explores the relationship between the Märchen genre and monsters, arguing that a key component of both is a mutable nature that allows them to shapeshift or transform in such a way that destabilizes imposed limitations to each of their forms, and the ability to transform the world around them. Specifically, it analyzes three Märchen that contain shapeshifting monstrous figures which are thematically connected to the genre. The first part of the thesis looks at Ludwig Tieck’s Der blonde Eckbert, as both critique of the Enlightenment fairy tale’s focus on rationality and how Tieck represents in the figure of die Alte the ability for art to affect reality. Secondly, it examines Hans Christian Andersen’s Den lille Havfrue as a representation of the Danish social system and its conception of the way to gain immortality though works. Lastly, this thesis analyzes the Grimms’ editorial practice in conjunction with Hänsel und Gretel arguing that they have created a hybrid genre of Märchen that exists uneasily between distinct categories like the figure die Hexe found within it.