Analysis of Beauty and The Beast
If you ask any American child if they have heard of the story of Beauty and The Beast, ninety-nine percent of them will have very good memory of the tale. Beauty and The Beast has been a part of our culture for many years as are many fairytales. It is read or told to our children not just for entertainment but for the moral lessons it gives to us. What most people don't realize is that there is more to this story than just it's moral values. There are a lot of different ways to analyze Beauty and the beast. Some people might feel uncomfortable talking about them. In this
paper nothing will be held back in critiquing the tale.
Disney made a movie version of Beauty and the Beast. It is the best-known version of the story. A majority of the population has either seen the movie or heard about it. The main
character, Belle, is a young girl in a small village. She lived with her father who is an inventor. Belle sings a song of how boring the village is for her and how she wants to find happiness in another place. She reads many books and wishes to have some of the adventures she reads about. Meanwhile there is a very big man in the village, named Gaston, who wants to marry Belle but Belle doesn't wan anything to do with him.
One day Belle's father is on his way to sell one of his inventions and heads off into the woods while Belle takes care of the house. Before he leaves Belle asks him to bring her back a rose. There was a bad snowstorm that night and the father got lost in the snow. He sees a path that has a green glow to it. He is intrigued and goes down the path. At the end of the path he finds a huge mansion. With nowhere else to go he has no other choice but to try to get inside. He knocks on the door but no one answers butt the door slowly swings open. He never finds any one in the house but dinner fresh clothes and breakfast the next morning are all set up for him. He leaves without seeing the owner of the house. On his way out of the mansion he sees a large rose garden. Remembering what his daughter had asked of him he picked a rose from the garden. As soon as he lifted the rose from the ground he heard a tremendous sound and a giant beast came from the mansion. The Beast told him that he was ungrateful and that he could have had anything he wanted accept the roses. He told the beast that it was only a gift for his daughter. The beast told him that he could trade in his life for his daughters but it must be on her own free will. Regardless of which of the two came back he had a week to see his daughter. When the father got home from the mansion he told Belle about the events that morning. Belle cared too much for her father and agreed to go in his place.
The Beast told her that she had a room upstairs and that everything in the house was hers except she was not aloud in the west wing. Belle was greeted by talking objects in that ran the mansion. She was upset that she did not get to be with her father and Belle left one night to go find him. On her way home Belle was attacked by wolves and The Beast came and saved her. After that she was aloud to go back and see her father but she had to promise to come back.
When the father came back from the Mansion after taking the Belle to The Beast he went to the towns people for help to save her daughter. No one wanted to help him because they already thought he was crazy and when he was ranting and raving about The Beast they thought he was even crazier. The local hero Gaston, whom every one loved, had a plan to put the father in a mental institution until Belle promised to marry him. After Gaston found out The Beast was real he got all the towns people behind him to attack The Beast and kill him. Belle found The Beast almost from sorry because Belle had not come back to the mansion in time.
When the people from the town came to The Beasts house to kill him the talking objects in the house defended against the mob. The only on to get through was Gaston. Gaston went to find the Beast and then The Beast and Gaston fought. The Beast killed Gaston but was mortally wounded. Belle found the wounded Beast and prayed that he would not die because she loved him. At that moment the Beast turned into a handsome prince and they lived happily ever after.
The other version of Beauty and the Beast that I would like to talk about is the Beaumont version. This version is where most of the other versions are derived from. In this version Beauty’s father is a merchant and quite wealthy. Beauty has two spoiled sisters and two brothers. Her father looses a lot of money over a lawsuit for a ship that just came in. On his way back home he got lost and found a large mansion. Dinner and breakfast was left for him, but no people. When he left the next morning he had remembered that his favorite daughter wanted a rose from his trip. He picked a rose from the garden and the Beast came out of the shadows and told him that he must take his life because the roses mean o much to him. The father tells him of his daughter that wanted a rose and the Beast said the daughter may come in his place. He didn’t agree but he was aloud to go home to see his children again.
Beauty went to the Beasts house in place of her father. The beast told her that everything in the house was hers. Every night at nine o’clock the Beast came to eat dinner with Beauty. He asked her the same question at every dinner; "Will you marry me." Beauty always said she could not. She starts to like the Beast after a while and she even gets antsy when nine o’clock comes around.
Beauty begins to miss her father very much and asks the beast if she can go home. The beast decides to let her go but only if she comes back in a week. When she gets home the sisters try to get her to stay there by crying and stuff soothe Beast would get so angry that he would eat her. Beauty decides to stay lo9nger but after a while begins to feel the guilt and goes back to the mansion. When she gets there she finds the Beast near death. Beauty tells the Beast she would marry him and he turned into a handsome prince and they lived happily ever after.
Both of the Tales I have summarized both have strong moral message. Most fairy tales have an underlying meaning for people to consider and make them better human beings. The morals in Disney’s version and Beaumont are very much the same. They both say that Beauty comes from within and good nature and kindness is better than
wit. The line in the Beaumont version that sums it all up is; "I am well pleased with your kind heart; when I think of that you no longer seem so ugly to me." The message of don’t judge a book by its cover is the obvious moral value. According to an essay by Jack Zipes, the tale shows woman to be submissive, obedient and patient. In the Beaumont version Beauty pretty much does everything for her father and help whenever help is needed. When beauty is at the beasts place she listens to everything he says. In the Disney version, however, Belle goes into the forbidden west wing of the mansion. Zipes points can be very useful when critiquing the Beaumont version but he stays away from the Disney version because it doesn’t go along with his thesis.
Many critics will agree that Beauty has Oedipal tendencies in the movie and the Beaumont story. In both versions Beauty loves her father and she takes the role of the mother by doing chores and taking care of the man of the house. She is asked several times for her hand in marriage but she tells them she doesn’t want to leave her father. Bruno Bettelheim argues this point. When beauty sees the Beast, he is ugly because she is not ready for secularity because she is still hung on her father. Bettelheim says that this might be a manifestation of her own imagination. To keep incest taboo she sees is afraid of sex with her father so it is weird for her to see the beast as attractive. It is not until she gets over the Oedipal love for her father that she can see the Beast as a handsome prince.
Another underlying aspect of Beauty and The Beast is the class structure. In the Disney version Beauty lives in a town with the rest of the villagers that would represent the middle class. The Beast lives in a huge mansion that would represent the aristocracy. When the town’s people go to attack the mansion of the Beast it resembles a revolution. The villagers rising up above the aristocrat. The Upper class defeats the middle class in the end of the story. Another thing you can look at is the clothing. The Beast is very well dressed throughout the whole film and the villagers are dressed pretty bland. When Beauty gets to the castle she is given nicer more extravagant clothing. The Beast also has servant in the talking objects that do everything he asks of them.
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