Grimm Brothers "The Master-Thief", analysis.

Essay by lordrichardHigh School, 11th gradeA+, November 2003

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The Grimm Brother's Tale of Thievery

A long lost son, a deadly bet, robbery, attempted murder, and much deception all contribute to the allure of the Grimm Brother's folktale, "The Master-Thief". While the folktale appeals to the human romanticism of crime, specifically of excellent criminals, the basic story carries morals and a hidden cognizance of human perception that not always does good outdo evil.

"The Master-Thief" boils down to a story of tests. A peasant farmer meets a well-off gentleman and soon discovers the gentleman to be his long lost son. But the gentleman went from poverty to riches through being a thief. The father sends the son to the local lord, because he fears for his son's safety. The thief goes in order to ensure that he will not be caught and hanged, but rather can confront the lord while still having the possibility of ensuring his own life.

The lord outlines a test for the thief's skill. First, the thief must steal the lord's horse from the guarded stable. Second, he must steal the lord's bed sheets and wedding ring, and finally he must steal the parson and the clerk from the church. The thief successfully completes his tasks and avoids having his neck stretched but still ends up banished from the lord's lands.

The mere summary of "The Master-Thief" cannot express the moral of the story as clearly as the Grimm brothers themselves did so. The moral of "The Master-Thief" is that even the most excellent criminal who can support themselves through their trade, in the lap of luxury, will end up alone, deserted and near death at all times. Perhaps the greater moral may be one of money not being happiness, but the story itself communicates the former...