I Love Beauty and the Beast

A few years ago, I went to see a play to support a co-worker who was one of the performers. Money gained from the play was then given to charity. Not a bad idea to support creative folks and give back to the community.

Assuming you are not familiar with Beauty and the Beast, it’s a tale about a narcissistic prince who denies a shaggy old lady into the palace.  As a punishment, he turns into his true form: a beast! To undo the spell he must learn to love and have love return to him. That’s the only way to be human again.

When I was a kid, I don’t like fairy-tale stories all that much compared to my peers. My first exposure to the fairy-tale was the Walt Disney animated version. I remember out of the Walt Disney films, this was my least favorite. Why, you may wonder?  The depth of this film is just too hard for a child to grasp.

As I became wiser through age, I discovered the beast is not gender specific because beast is a metaphor for one of the ugliest traits found in human beings, and that is conceit!  The moral of the tale is you shouldn’t deny someone based on their appearance. Doesn’t it sound like it is saying don’t be prejudice?  Both the Prince and Belle had to learn that moral lesson together.

There are several Beauty and the Beast versions like the picture book below.

Beauty and the Beast

This version is different from the play as it highlights that inner beauty is found within, and beautiful women do fall in love with “unattractive” men.  After all, attractiveness is really in the eye of the beholder.  I believe Leo Tolstoy mentioned something similar to that in Anna Karenina.

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Finally there is Belle et la Bete (1946) directed by Jean Cocteau. This film is incredibly well done for being black and white. Out of the Beauty and the Beast versions, this one top it all as it has so many symbolism and topics you can extract from. This is my favorite version because it has a strong thesis about how humans cannot fall in love with a beast despite it’s good nature and there is a good reason why. 

 

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