Though “The Frog King” and “Cupid and Psyche” initially appear to be incomparable stories due to their immense variations, they do in fact share a few overarching commonalities. For example, in both stories, the male characters do not reveal their true forms until halfway through their respective stories, though these conversions happen in different ways. In “The Frog King,” the King is transformed from a frog into a human when the princess throws him “crash! against the wall” (Zipes 15). The frog’s transformation is brought about when the princess becomes violent with him, angry that she must sleep with him, even though this is what she promises him in the beginning of the story. In “Cupid and Psyche,” Cupid’s appearance is incited not by violence, but instead by Psyche’s curiosity to see her husband’s face. This event is a result of Psyche’s sisters “filling her bosom with dark suspicions” (Apuleius). Though she tries to resist this want to see her husband, she finally gives in and, in doing so, forces her husband to leave her due to her breach of trust. Whereas the princess in the Brothers’ Grimm story views her future husband’s true appearance because of her hatred for him, Psyche does so because she loves Cupid, but lets her curiosity get the best of her.
In these stories, both of the female characters have flaws that inhibit their ability to be content with their companions. In “The Frog King,” the princess’s superficiality makes her task to be the frog’s companion so daunting. In fact, this is what initially causes her to make such a deal with the frog in the beginning of the story. Her most treasured possession, a golden ball, falls into the well where the frog dwells. She cries aloud that she would give everything, “my clothes, my jewels, my pearls, and anything else in the world” (Zipes 13). Notice that she wants to give up her material possessions. This speaks to how superficial she is that she would willingly give these things up, but refuses to wholeheartedly be a companion to the frog, even though she promises him this in return for her ball. Though Psyche is not superficial, s
he is flawed in that her curiosity often bests her. It is her curiosity that breaks the trust she and her husband have, resulting in him leaving her. It is her curiosity that causes her to resort to “a sleepy corpse without sense or motion” (Apuleius). While delivering a box containing beauty to Aphrodite, she becomes curious and opens it, releasing a Stygian sleep that leaves her paralyzed. Had her husband not come to her rescue, she would have been left for dead. Though these two women have different flaws, their faults inevitably almost lead to their downfalls.
Undoubtedly, the main contrast between these two love stories is that “The Frog King” is only superficially a love story. “Cupid and Psyche” centers on the two lovers’ relationship, how they find each other, fall in love, lose each other, and then come together again. This is not the case in “The Frog King;” this story is primarily about how the King finds his way back to his servant, Faithful Henry. The Princess is merely a function of the tale; she is the mechanism that the King uses to become human again and reunite with Henry.