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Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast
Issue Time:2017-03-21

A live-actionfilm based on the fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast” is hitting theaters thisweek.

Today, Disney’s“Beauty and the Beast” is most familiar to the masses in its animated form;however, the original can seem comparatively brutal and dark.

Though Disney’sBelle is an only child, in the classic tale she has siblings. Unsurprisingly,her sisters serve the role of foils for Beauty. She’s gorgeous, they’re merelyaverage-looking; she’s generous, they’re selfish and envious; she’shardworking, they’re lazy; she’s well-read, they’re frivolous.

One day,Beauty’s father is caught in a storm. Then, he takes refuge in a mysteriouscastle where he meets no one, but finds food, a fire, and a bed prepared forhim. When he leaves, he takes a single rose from the garden to bring Beauty ―which brings the Beast’s wrath down upon him. In exchange for his life beingspared, he agrees to return with one of his daughters. Beauty agrees to go,though she’s fearful that the monster will eat her.


Instead, she’sgiven a lavish chamber and plied with good food and entertainments. She neversees anyone ― except in the evening, when the Beast joins her for dinner. Sheenjoys his sensible conversation, but every night he asks her to marry him, andshe refuses. Finally, after several months, she admits that while she’s quiteattached to him, she misses her family. The Beast allows her to return home fora visit, but warns that if she delays her return, he will die of grief.

This is wherethe sisters get extra vicious! Jealous of the finery Beauty wears upon herreturn, they overwhelm her with affection so that she will miss her deadline,assuming that the Beast will kill her and eat her in his anger. Instead, Beautydoes return late and finds the Beast dying of sadness. Seeing him on hisdeathbed, she realizes that she loves him and begs him to live and marry her.Immediately, he is restored to his handsome, princely self ― and Beauty isrewarded for choosing a virtuous husband over a handsome or witty one. Hersisters are condemned to be living statues outside the castle, forever viewingher better fortune.

Anyway, everyversion is essentially the same story: A beautiful woman redeems her hideouscaptor with her love.


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