The classic fairy tale of Beauty and The Beast has been classified as ‘the most intellectually satisfying tale’. Before we move further, I would like to mention that we will be referring to the tale and not to the Disney versions.
Let’s begin with some fun facts. Beauty and The Beast is one of the oldest tales and dates back some 4000 years. Scholars believe the roots of the tale to be in “Cupid and Psyche”, the ancient chronicle from the Latin novel “Metamorphoses”, written in the second century CE by Apuleius and believed to be the first ever fairy tale. The first written version dates back to 1740 France by Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve, but the tale that became famous and the one that we commonly read today is a shortened version written by Jeanne-Marie de Beaumont. Let us return to the tale per-say.
A young girl who we will call Beauty, lives with her father and two sisters. They lived a good life, but an unfortunate turn of event makes their merchant father lose all their money. While the two elder sisters continue to grieve, Beauty takes on herself to look after the family. One day their father chances upon an opportunity to turn things around once again. While leaving for town he asks his daughters what each of them want. The elder two sisters demand a whole bunch of things, but Beauty just wants her father to return safely. On much persuasion she requests for a single rose.
Here we witness parental love first. Even though the father had lost everything he is worried about his family and is willing to take further risks for them. Even with his meagre income he wants to return home with gifts, although it may seem his excess love has spoilt his elder two daughters. Beauty on the other hand loves her father and sisters. She shoulders all the responsibilities even though she is the youngest in the family. Beauty asking for the rose can be seen as a symbol of her love and affection for her father.
On his way back the father loses his way in the forest due to storm and takes shelter in the castle which is open and inviting. He even finds a stable for his horses. The next day he plucks a rose from the garden only to awaken a deadly Beast who wants to kill him for stealing. He begs the Beast to spare his life for there is no one to take care of his daughters. The Beast lets him go on the condition that he will send one of his daughters here to be his prisoner.
Well! This incident seems all about magic while teaching a valuable lesson of being thankful and grateful. The father rested well in the castle during the storm, ate food and slept comfortably but by morning he forgot he was after all just a guest and should not be trespassing. Even if it was just a rose, he should not have plucked it and should have left the place feeling grateful for the shelter it provided during the storm.
When the father comes home he relates the incident to his daughters and Beauty is resolute that she will be the one to go as she was the one who had requested for a rose. Once in the castle the Beast does not present himself to her immediately. Slowly he picks courage to show himself, Beauty is terrified to see him, but soon realises that he is gentle and means no harm. They become good friends and Beasts finally proposes to her which she refuses saying that she loves his company as a friend. The Beast wants to see her happy and does not impose his will on her. In-fact when he realises that she is sad and misses his family he gives her a mirror where she can see them. He grants her wish to visit her ailing father on the promise that she will return after a stipulated time.
Time passes and she forgets her promise when she dreams of the Beast dying and returns to him promptly even though her family is against her decision. On seeing him on his death bed she feels immense sorrow and love surfaces in her heart and the Beast transforms into a handsome prince who had been enchanted and the spell could be broken only when a girl falls in love with his beastly form.
If we give Disney cartoon and movie a miss and stick to the book, it is very evident that the beast is very gracious and polite to Beauty from the moment she arrives, he lets her do whatever she wants and has a library all for her. Even though it seems Beauty is his prisoner, he is the one who has been imprisoned. He is the most civil character in the story. He is not vicious or mean and even though he is suffering himself. He has conquered the beast with his strong character. Love is the most important treasure here. He loves her but never once imposes anything on her. He lets her go because he loves her.
Beauty shows strength of character in her resolution to move to the castle, care for her father and then return to the beast. Wow, isn’t she an ideal feminist.
We found Beauty and the Beast to be a beautiful story integrating themes very well. Love being the central theme. Beauty’s love for the Beast went beyond the surface. She saw the beast for who he really was. The outside veneer could not stop her from finding her true love. The story teaches you to look beyond the outward appearances and gives importance to strength of character. Sacrifice also plays a huge role in the entire story.
Here’s a poetic rendering of the lessons learnt from the tale.
Tales are not of smiles and laughter,not of happy times
For seldom does happiness hold, in life, in fables, in rhymes
Tales are not of adversities, nor tears nor a woeful sigh
For sorrow is but a fugitive that shall vanish with the blink of an eye
Tales are of those unique virtues that wander forever with our souls
And reflect in our aura as an incessant force to chisel and shape our roles.
A father’s love shall remain resolute whether its sunshine or rain.
To fend for his daughters, Beauty’s father, endured an endless pain.
That rose for Beauty was not forgotten, along with jewels and pearls.
Penniless and deprived, he still showed might to check on the choices of the girls
He risked his life for a minuscule wish , for him that meant the world,
For those sparkling eyes waited with hope, his little birdie’s wings still furled
A man of honour holds on to his dignity in situations fair unfair
The Beast had a heart like melting wax his actions laden with care.
A beast for the looks but an angel for his deeds, the Beast was not a beast,
He handled Beauty with utmost love, on her “beauty” he did not feast.
Life is about letting be and letting go, so he let be and let go his love.
Her silhouette faded in the mist of the morning as he longed and watched from above.
How onerous it is to conquer the balance of love, respect and responsibility,
Beauty was there to do this undoable with ample endurance and ability.
Saving her father from the wrath of the unknown, a daughter manifested her reverence,
Leaving her family to tend the ailing beast, her love chose this path as a preference.
Karma, they say, goes round in circles, Beauty earned her share of delight
Her goodness paid, the Beast morphed to a prince, that’s how she forgot her plight.
Tales are not about the temporary mutations, that come, stop, touch and go.
Tales are about the constants that are acquired to hold us when we fall low.
Tales are about what they leave us with, morals, values and reflections,
Tales are about what we learn from them through their plain, highlighted attractions.
All in all Beauty and the Beast together make for great idols. The story gets a thumbs-up from us.
The facts provided in all posts have been taken from the internet. The authors claim no resposibility of them being true. The views and opinion, however, are our own.
This post is part of #BlogChatterA2Z 2021