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The father-daughter relationship dynamic often determines the actions and behavior taken by women in fairy tales. In Charles Perrault's seventeenth-century fairytale, "Donkeyskin", the theme of incest runs throughout the tale, showing the king's inappropriate lust for his daughter. He longs for his daughter, driving her to use tactful cleverness through disguise to escape this twisted love. Another tale, an Egyptian folktale entitled, "The Princess in the Suit of Leather", portrays the same story of a father's unseemly lust and twisted attachment to his daughter after his wife's death. In this case, the princess takes the initiative to cleverly sneak behind the king's back, being assertive to gain freedom from the potential of a horrific marriage. Warner points out that "incest between father and daughter has not dominated Western mythology...but it makes a strong showing in fairy tale" (320). However, in "The Little Mermaid" by Hans Christian Andersen, a more palatable, parental love is demonstrated by the mermaid's father through his support and genuine concern for his daughter's actions as she disguises her "mermaid roots" when seeking her love interest. The mermaid, driven by love for a human, transforms herself, with the assistance of an antagonist, to temporarily be human. During this time, her father actively seeks out her disappearance from the "under the sea" world and once he learns of what she has done, he supports her desire to gain full happiness. His respect shows a benevolent love for his daughter that is hoped for. In fairy tales, both "good" and "bad" love from fathers is restrictive on a daughter's freedom. This is important because the daughters find it necessary to escape the restricting love and use disguises to escape the patriarchal control in order to win their own freedom.

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