There certainly does seem to be an element of unearned grace, as Waelsung says. I'm not so sure that there is nothing in the way of "character development." There are striking changes in Aurora, especially as expressed through her choreography, as she moves from the Birthday Scene to the Vision and Awakening Scenes to the Wedding Scene.
One of the strengths of Fonteyn's performance is that she was able to make each part of this development believable on its own, while convincing us that Aurora has become a much more serious, complex, and womanly character by the end. The final tableau -- with everyone posing prettily and Aurora and Desire, side by side, commanding center stage -- should not just be a pretty picture. It has to have dramatic impact, and it has to be earned.
I admit that I find quite a lot of "dramatic conflict" in SB. Fairies, witches, wicked minions, guardian fairies: all help wrench the world from Order to Chaos to the Restoration of Order, but of a more transcendent kind than at the start.
A cynic might say that this is a story line designed to send the Romanovs back to their palaces with tears in their eyes and smiles on their faces.
I am sure you are right in what you say in your last sentence.
However it seems to me that some of the comments in this thread miss a number of points.
In producing The Sleeping Beauty, Telyakovsky had simply picked up on what was an earlier tradition of setting the well-known tale as a ballet.
This was following the examples of, “La belle au bois dormant, “staged at The Opera, Paris in 1825 by Pierre Gardel with music by Michele Carafa. This was followed by Jean Pierre Aumer’s version with the same title again produced at The Opera in Paris in 1829 with music by Ferdinand Herold and designs by Pierre Ciceri . In 1833 a revision of Aumer’s production was staged by Anatole Petit at Drury Lane Theatre, London.
Of course there are spiritual overtones in this Petipa ballet as he was a Catholic, Telyakovsky and the ballets audience, were in the vast majority Russian Orthodox Christians. So a parallel of beliefs and values were required in this 1890 production.
I think we also have to remember that this ballet is quintessentially a paean to the Romanov dynasty and the gift of the Lilac Fairy to Aurora symbolises that she will be blessed with, beauty, pride, and youthful innocence. The idealised parallel being, that the children of the Imperial family arrive blessed by God.
As regards drama in this ballet, there are two powerful dramatic scenes that if played well capture evil nature of Carabosse.
I recall both Ray Powell and Alexander Grant giving outstanding performances as Carabosse and who were often as well received as the two/three principal characters. Anatole Gridin of the Kirov gave legendary performances in this same role clearly delineating the dramatic fight between darkness and light taking place in what is a seemingly (Goodly/Godly) protected kingdom.
1890, was a time (especially amongst Royal and Imperial families) when young women married as virgins and Telyakovsky and Petipa portray Aurora as being innocent and therefore, in a state of God's grace.
As Waelsung states, "Aurora's grace is not unearned, it is symbolically dignified by her status as was typical of characters in fairy tales. Aurora is born into a magic kingdom of light and goodness, and without having done anything either good or bad; she receives everything one can only dream of. Sin has no role to play here."
To contextualize evil as depicted in The Sleeping Beauty, the sheer venom of Carabosse, would resonate with that 1890 audience as symbolising the continuing existence of evil within Imperial Russia.
This had earlier been signified by the bomb placed in the Winter Palace in 1880 that killed eleven people and later followed by the subsequent assassination of Alexander II.
EDITED TO CLARIFY
Regarding the Bolshoi couple they have been photographed in a studio in Southwark(London)rehearsing Romeo and Juliet.