All You Want to Know About Mother Gothel From Rapunzel

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The 50th Disney animated feature film called for something special. The purpose was served when Rapunzel and the evil mother, Mother Gothel, appeared on the screen.

The film I am talking about is Tangled, released in 2010. Tangled is a loose adaptation of the fairy tale of Rapunzel, who is famous for her long hair.

But why are we talking about Mother Gothel? Based loosely on the character of Dame Gothel, Mother Gothel is the primary antagonist of the film Tangled. If you want to know more about her, you have come to the right place!

Who is Mother Gothel

If you learn a little about Mother Gothel and her wickedness, instantly, you will be attracted to her physical appearance and costume.

But, to that, we will return later. Before that, let’s get the story about Mother Gothel Tangled revealed a little.

Getting hold of powers that grant immortality and promise youthfulness are the two most well-known tropes of classics and fairy tales worldwide.

The same holds true when we revisit the story of Rapunzel or, in this case, Mother Gothel in Tangled.

When she learned about flower caressing, which can lead to immortal youth, Mother Gothel didn’t let it go at any cost. She possessed it for hundreds of years, thereby possessing her youth.

One day, in the nearby kingdom, the powers of the flower got transferred into the princess’ hair. Thus, Mother Gothel needed to possess Rapunzel, the princess, to keep the power close to her. Thus, she kidnapped and nurtured her for years, posing as her caring mother.

She never allowed her to go outside as she feared she might again lose her powers. When Rapunzel resisted, Mother Gothel used her trope of protecting the child from the cruel world outside the castle.

You might be want to know about her in a little detail. Where did this persona appear, and how did she get hold of the power? In a word, who is she?

Background of Mother Gothel character

Seen mostly in her animated self, Tangled Mother Gothel has a theatrical aura. She can act very well and is a master manipulator.

Before discovering the flower that halted her aging, she was a stage actor. Mother Gothel herself, however, doesn’t possess any magical power.

So, if in your mind, you are confusing her with the matriarch from Encanto, that will be wrong. The latter possessed magical power herself. In this story, Mother Gothel got hold of a flower with supernatural powers that stops her aging process.

No one can deny that Mother Gothel is selfish and possessive about whatever belongs to her. Thus, she never wants to lose sight of the flower from which she derives all her strength.

Kidnapping Rapunzel

After kidnapping Rapunzel, she also imprisoned her for 18 long years. Moreover, she managed to manipulate Stabbington Brothers by offering them revenge on Flynn Rider and Rapunzel’s gift. However, there also didn’t keep her promise to every word.

Gothel might pose herself as very caring and protective of Rapunzel. Still, she is a lazy mother who doesn’t take care of her daughter Cassandra.

Here, one might be reminded of Maleficent, who might have looked malicious as a mother. But, when she decided to care for that child, she possibly surpassed the care her biological mother would have provided.

On the contrary, Mother Gothel is always faking her care. She abandoned Cassandra when she got hold of Rapunzel and didn’t even blink an eye before leaving the child.

Mother Gothel

Mother Gothel then takes Rapunzel to a secret tower and plans to keep her there forever. However, she doesn’t pose as a cruel beast who has captivated prey.

Instead, she poses as a caring mother who doesn’t want her daughter to go outside, as the outside world is supposedly filled with wicked people.

However, Gothel’s wickedness also comes out repeatedly and ruptures the façade of care. She insults her and lowers her self-esteem.

But, then, with her master tricks, Mother Gothel manages to prick Rapunzel’s soft nature and gain her trust back.

Gothel cooks her good food and her favorite meals and provides her with gifts and luxuries so that Rapunzel doesn’t have the desire to go outside. However, the truth remains hidden for a while.

Rapunzel finds out the truth

One day Rapunzel gets to know about her relationship with Gothel. But even that doesn’t dissuade Gothel. She is so deeply indulged in her lust to stay young that she tries to enslave Rapunzel for the rest of her life. She also tried to kill Flynn Rider as she thought he was the mastermind behind Rapunzel’s escape from the tower.

All of these wicked plans and traps of Mother Gothel can be attributed to the fact that she lost the magic flower she solely desired to possess. The loss of the flower resulted in the loss of Gothel’s sanity, which eventually drove her to this obsession and madness.

Physical Appearance

But how old is Mother Gothel? Usually, in fairy tales or fantasy tales, someone usually wants to stop aging and get back their youth.

The same is true in Tangled as well. Mother Gothel old is an elderly woman who wants to extend her life and regain her youth’s charm.

In her old age, she has a face covered with wrinkles. Her skin has sagged and lost the glow of the young age.

Mother Gothel’s hair has receded and has become thinner. Even though she has the curls, that isn’t attractive anymore.

Her veins are protruding, her body has shrunk, and the weight of her age is prominent. She cannot withstand this mortal change in her body.

Thus, when she gets hold of the flower that heals and gives back youth, she goes crazy for it. In the introductory scene, she is seen wearing a red cloak with a yellow lining above a dark blue dress.

Mother Gothel

Power of the flower

Mother Gothel costume changes later when she returns to her youth with the power of the flower. She now possesses a curvy, healthy body and is a tall woman.

Her skin is now radiant and has the shade of pale ivory. Her gray eyes now glow with the prospect while her eyes have a brown eye shadow. Gothel’s hair has regained its previous luster and falls on her shoulders.

Gothel’s costume is also very attractive now. She wears a crimson-red dress with a faint dappled pattern and a golden trim.

The sleeves are to the elbow with an extended hem. She wears brown boots with high heels, and her belt has a golden buckle.

Remember to look at her earrings as they are diamond-shaped gold. While leaving the tower, she wears a green colored cloak to use as her disguise.

The magical power is, however, not perpetual. It needs to be replenished from time to time. Every day she has to encounter her old age and then again use the magical power to get back the borrowed youth.

When Rapunzel cuts off her long hair, the power vanishes. Within a minute, Gothel travels back centuries and becomes dust.

Character appearances

We all know that Mother Gothel is the chief antagonist from Tangled. But where else can we spot her and her wickedness?


Before Ever After is a sequel to Tangled, where we see Rapunzel’s life after 6 months. There is a cameo appearance of Mother Gothel at the start, where she appears in a flashback.

After that, she is referred to by many times by Rapunzel throughout the series, the most prominent being the one where Rapunzel recounts her torment.

Mother Gothel again appears in Tangled

The Series in the episode “what the hair.” We see Gothel in Rapunzel’s dream. Furthermore, we find mention and references to Mother Gothel in episodes such as “Rapunzel: Day One,” “Rapunzeltopia,” “Rapunzel’s Return,” “A Tale of Two Sisters,” “Once a Handmaiden,” and “Plus Est En Vous.” Moreover, in this series, Cassandra also plays an important part, thus embedding Mother Gothel in the viewers’ memory.

Mother Gothel is not a character who has been only portrayed in animation. She also has been cast in a series called “Once Upon a Time.” Emma Booth plays her character, who appears in Season 7 and is the main antagonist.

On printed media

Apart from being present on the screen and haunting us with her wicked plans, she has also left her marks on the printed media.

Ghost of the Christmas Past is a series where we see Mother Gothel spreading horrific rumors about Christmas to Rapunzel so that the latter is dissuaded from joining the Christmas lights and festivities.

Mother Knows Best

A Tale of the Old Witch also hosts Mother Gothel, who now has two sisters, Primrose and Hazel.

Like in the Azkaban Prison, witches and demons are imprisoned on the Isle of the Lost. Thus, Mother Gothel returns to life, but this time, not to enjoy youth but to torment as a prisoner on the Isle of the Lost.

Video Games

You can also face her if you want to play any video game where she will suck your life out and try to pose as the greatest hurdle in your mission. One such game is the Disney Magic Kingdoms and Kingdom Hearts III.


Let’s now briefly examine the general trivia about Mother Gothel:

Styling inspiration

If you were inspired by the costume that Mother Gothel wore, well, the makers say Renaissance fashion inspired the dress. This is because, Gothel, without the flower, is centuries old. Moreover, she also has physical features that are more or less opposite to Rapunzel.

Voice actor

Are you curious to know about Mother Gothel voice? Donna Murphy played this enormous role and beautifully portrayed wickedness through her voice acting.

Mother Gothel

Character censorship

We might have referred to the name Mother Gothel a thousand times when we talk or write about her. But did you know her name is never referred to in the movie except at the beginning when she is introduced?

Here is a hilarious fact, Mother Gothel’s half-revealed cleavage was subjected to censorship upon Tangled’s premiering on Disney channel.

Nurturing the energy

If you watch carefully, you will understand Gothel’s care for Rapunzel is a show and nothing else. That is why she always calls her a flower and not a Rapunzel. Whenever they hug each other, you will notice Gothel stroking her hair. It’s not out of love or affection. Rather it’s nurturing the energy that is stored there.

Real name

In the original German folktale of the Grimm Brothers, the name is not Mother Gothel. It’s Dame Gothel. Moreover, Gothel does not mean a proper noun. It’s a common noun that either means foster mother or nurse.

One of the Princess Villains

Mother Gothel is not the only Disney Princess Villain. The previous characters in the line are Lady Tremaine and The Evil Queen.

Is the portrayal anti-Semitic?

No matter how hard Disney tries to accommodate racial diversity (no matter how tokenish that accommodation is), it doesn’t escape all the wrath. According to some Jewish bloggers, the portrayal of Mother Gothel is anti-Semitic. According to them, it alludes to the stereotypical trope of the Jewish mother.


Vanity is a predominant theme of Mother Gothel’s character. Moreover, just like the Shakespearean heroes, this one predominant characteristic trait also leads to Mother Gothel’s downfall.

Final Thoughts

If you are familiar with The Hunchback of Notre Dame, you will find that Gothel has similarities with Claude Frollo there. Alan Menken, the co-songwriter and composer of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Tangled, has acknowledged the similarities.

So, with this, we come to a close in our tryst with Mother Gothel. To know more about her, watch Tangled if you haven’t already!

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