The Horns and Wings of Maleficent

By Jamie Armstrong

We have all heard the story of Sleeping Beauty, a story in which a young, beautiful princess named Aurora is cursed to die on her sixteenth birthday, by an evil fairy named Maleficent.  Now, according to most theologians, evil isn’t really a thing of God.  God is the only one who can create things, and God is everything but evil.  Evil is actually a corruption of something good that God has made. In the 1959 animated Disney film, Sleeping Beauty, the focus of the story is on Aurora, and her life growing up with three guardian fairy godmothers, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather.  The role played by Maleficent in this film is an evil one, with no explanation of why her jealousy drives her to curse Aurora.  Luckily for Maleficent, she obtained her own live-action film a long fifty-five years later, with her own story on what led her to cursing Aurora, the Sleeping Beauty.

When we first meet Maleficent, she is nowhere near evil, but rather an innocent little fairy girl.  She is armed with a pair of horns and her most prized possession, her wings.  One could say her story has a little bit of a connection and similarity to Adam and Eve, where temptation and sin entered the “garden,” one of God’s most innocent and marvelous creations.  So, similarly to how Adam and Eve were distracted into misleading promises, Maleficent entrusts a young human boy named Stefan, with whom she grows up, with the promise of a lifetime of happiness and love.  Maleficent becomes betrayed by Stefan when he decides to drug her to sleep and cut her wings off to take for a bounty.  So returning to what I said regarding how things on Earth, since they were created by God, can only be good and not evil. However, it is possible that something good can be corrupted into something evil.

The act of betrayal experienced by Maleficent twists her good and innocent nature.  Her wings, in this case, could be viewed and understood as a reflection of God’s good nature.  This good is taken from her, leaving her with only her horns, along with hurt and anger. All of the rage and despair disfigures her kind soul into something ugly and inhuman, leaving her with a desire to live by inflicting pain on her tormentor.  Eventually Stefan has a child, Aurora, and is stalked by Maleficent, who unleashes her rage and jealousy unto Aurora in the form of a curse. Almost sixteen years after this event, Aurora meets Maleficent.  Despite the intimidating horns and long, black dress that Maleficent wears, Aurora becomes infatuated with her, and in return, Maleficent becomes more lovable.  She eventually reclaims her wings, one of God’s most beautiful creations, from a deep, dark place.  This shows that despite all of the twists and turns that life offers, the good and the bad, God loves all unconditionally, even when we are at our lowest and loveless points.

Jamie Armstrong attends Tidewater Community College in Virginia Beach and plans on graduating this coming fall. Her goal is to study nuclear medicine at Old Dominion University next spring.  She took a religion course for my first time this summer, and so far, is loving it!

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