Beauty and the Beast – New World Encyclopedia

Illustration for Magnificence and the Beast by Walter Crane

Magnificence and the Beast is a conventional fairy story. The primary printed model of the fairy story was a meandering rendition by Madame Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, printed in La jeune américaine, et les contes marins, in 1740. The very best-known written model was an abridgment of M. Villeneuve’s work printed in 1756 by Mme Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, in Magasin des enfants, ou dialogues entre une sage gouvernante et plusieurs de ses élèves; an English translation appeared in 1757.[1] Variants of the story are identified throughout Europe.[2] Its enduring reputation relies on the elemental relationship between women and men.

Plot abstract

A wealthy service provider lived within the metropolis together with his three daughters. His youngest is known as Magnificence (typically Belle (French) or Bella (Italian), relying on the model), for she is each beautiful to take a look at and her coronary heart is pure. The service provider ultimately loses all of his wealth, and he and his daughters should go reside within the nation. In the future, he hears that one in every of his ships has are available in, so he returns to the town. He asks his daughters if they need something as a present whereas he’s gone. His two oldest daughters ask for jewellery and attire, considering that his wealth has returned, however Magnificence solely desires a rose. The service provider finds that his ship has not returned, and is upset about not with the ability to get his daughters their items.

On his return, he turns into misplaced in a forest. He sees a fort and enters it, in search of shelter. He finds a desk laden with meals and a word studying “eat” and a desk stuffed with wine and a word saying “drink.” The service provider eats and drinks and his coronary heart is lightened. He prepares to depart, when he spots probably the most stunning rose backyard. He remembers that Magnificence had requested a rose and decides that he ought to no less than convey her one. Upon selecting probably the most beautiful rose there, a hideous Beast seems and tells him that for taking his most valuable possession after accepting his hospitality, he should keep his prisoner eternally. The service provider begs to be let free, saying he solely picked the rose for his youngest daughter. The Beast agrees to let him go then—on the situation that he can have the lady who needed his rose. The service provider is upset, however accepts this situation. He tries to cover the key from Magnificence, however she pries it from him and willingly goes to the Beast’s fort.

As soon as there, the Beast doesn’t deal with her as a prisoner, however as a visitor. He provides her lavish clothes and meals and carries on lengthly conversations along with her at each dinner. However on the finish of each meal, the Beast asks Magnificence to marry him, and on the finish of each meal, Magnificence refuses, saying she prefers him as a pal.
Ultimately, Magnificence turns into homesick and begs the Beast to permit her to go to see her household. He permits it, if she’s going to return precisely every week later, and never a day too late.
Magnificence agrees to this and units off for house. As soon as there, her older sisters are stunned to search out her nicely fed and wearing finery. They develop jealous and, listening to that she should return to the Beast on a sure day, beg her to remain one other day, even placing onion of their eyes to make it seem as if they’re weeping. Magnificence’s coronary heart is moved and she or he agrees to remain. When she returns to the Beast’s fort late, she finds him dying in his rose backyard, his damaged coronary heart killing him. Magnificence weeps over him, saying that she loves him and when her tears strike him he’s reworked right into a good-looking prince. The Prince tells Magnificence that he had been enchanted by a fairy to be a Beast. Solely her love for him, regardless of his ugliness, might break the spell over him.

Villeneuve’s model

Villeneuve’s story contains a number of parts that Beaumont’s omits. Mainly, the again story of each Magnificence and the Beast is given. The Beast was a prince who misplaced his father at a younger age, and whose mom needed to wage warfare to defend his kingdom. The queen left him in care of an evil fairy, who tried to seduce him when he was an grownup. When he refused, she reworked him right into a beast. Magnificence’s story reveals that she isn’t actually a product owner’s daughter however the offspring of a king and a fairy; the identical fairy who tried to seduce the prince additionally tried to homicide Magnificence to marry her father, and Magnificence was put within the place of the product owner’s lifeless daughter to guard her.[3] She additionally gave the fort elaborate magic, which obscured the extra important items of it.[4] Beaumont drastically pared down the forged of characters and simplified the story to an nearly archetypal simplicity.[5]

The city opening is uncommon in fairy tales, as is the social class of the characters, neither royal nor peasants. It might mirror the social modifications occurring on the time of its first writing.[6]


Like all fairy tales, Magnificence and the Beast may be interpreted in quite a lot of alternative ways. A technique is to see it as a younger girl’s coming-of-age story. Content material with a pure love for her father, she finds sexuality bestial, and so a person who feels sexual need for her is a beast. Solely when she is able to concerning the need of sexual relationship as human is she able to reaching happiness.[7]

One other interpretation is that the Beast is definitely bestial, however the girl’s love is able to remodeling him right into a good-looking prince.[8]

The story has additionally been interpreted as a commentary on organized marriages; the primary identified variations stem from upper-class ancien regime France, the place such marriages have been the norm. An organized marriage, notably to a a lot older man, might simply seem to be marriage of a beast to a younger daughter; the fairy story argued that such marriages could possibly be pleased, and their “bestial” husbands might certainly show to be good males, if the bride might look beneath the floor—or be reworked into good males from beast by their wives.[9]


Magnificence And the Beast is Aarne-Thompson kind 425C.[10] Different tales of this sort embrace The Small-tooth Canine, The Singing, Springing Lark, and Madame d’Aulnoy’s Le Mouton (The Ram).[11]

Intently associated to them are tales of Aarne-Thompson kind 425A.[12] These embrace The Sprig of Rosemary, Cupid and Psyche, East of the Solar and West of the Moon, The Black Bull of Norroway, The Daughter of the Skies, The Enchanted Pig, and White-Bear-King-Valemon.[13]

A standard motif, typically present in such tales, is that the transformation was achieved by a thwarted supernatural lover—nereid, fairy, elf, or troll; the sufferer should reside in that kind till discovering one other love, as stunning because the thwarted lover.[14]


The story has been notably tailored for each stage and display a number of instances.

Movie variations

A French model of La Belle et la Bête was made in 1946, directed by Jean Cocteau, starring Jean Marais because the Beast and Josette Day as Magnificence, or Belle, the French phrase for “Magnificence.” This model provides a subplot involving Belle’s suitor Avenant, who schemes together with Belle’s brother and sisters to journey to Beast’s fort to kill him and seize his riches whereas the sisters work to delay Belle’s return to the fort. When Avenant enters the magic pavilion which is the supply of Beast’s energy, he’s struck by an arrow fired by a guardian statue of the Roman goddess Diana, which transforms Avenant into Beast and reverses the unique Beast’s curse.

A Soviet animated function movie referred to as The Scarlet Flower, utilizing a rotoscoping expertise, was filmed in 1952, primarily based on Sergei Aksakov’s model. The story was set in a Center-Age Slavic background, and the characters converse Previous Russian within the vein of conventional tales. (Previous Russian was the literary language of Kievan Rus’ between the tenth and fourteenth century.)

In 1991, Walt Disney Function Animation produced a musical animated movie model of Magnificence and the Beast, directed by Kirk Sensible & Gary Trousdale, with a screenplay by Linda Woolverton, and songs by Alan Menken & Howard Ashman. It received Academy Awards for Greatest Music and Greatest Authentic Rating, and is the one animated function to be nominated for a Greatest Image Oscar. Just like the 1946 model, the Disney model additionally names Magnificence “Belle.” Additionally, on this model, the servants have been reworked into anthropomorphic objects and far of the story has been modified. Belle’s father is given a reputation, Maurice, and Belle is his solely daughter. A good-looking and fashionable, however crude and conceited, man named Gaston desires to marry Belle, nevertheless, she doesn’t need to marry him because of his boorishness. Gaston and his associates threaten Maurice and the Beast, however ultimately Gaston is killed throughout a ultimate confrontation with the Beast. This model additionally introduced a powerful redemptive high quality to the story, as the right Belle loves the Beast sufficient to see previous his outer ugliness. Though the storyline was closely altered, like a lot of their movies, Magnificence and the Beast is now thought of one of many Walt Disney Firm’s basic animated movies.

Golden Movies launched an adaptation of the story on to video that was distributed by GoodTimes Leisure. GoodTimes’ Magnificence and the Beast relied on reasonable animation methods however caught primarily to the unique story.

Stage variations

The Disney movie was tailored for the stage by Linda Woolverton and Alan Menken, who had labored on the movie. Howard Ashman, the unique lyricist, had died, and extra lyrics have been written by Tim Rice. Seven new songs, “No Matter What,” “Me,” “House,” “How Lengthy Should This Go On?,” “Maison des Lunes,” “Human Once more,” and “If I Cannot Love Her” have been added to these showing within the authentic movie rating within the stage model. “Human Once more,” a music written for the film however ultimately minimize from the ultimate launch, was added again in for the DVD launch of the film, in addition to the stage manufacturing. Later, one other music, “A Change In Me,” was added for Belle. There’s a substantial amount of emphasis on pyrotechnics, costuming, and particular results to supply the imagery of the enchanted fort that was produced by Disney Theatrical. This model of Magnificence and the Beast is usually examined in gender research due to the underlying feminine and male roles it presents to younger audiences.

Additionally, in 2003, the RSC put a model on stage that was nearer to the unique story than the Disney model. It was so fashionable that the RSC repeated it in 2004, with additions and slight variations to their authentic script.

Magnificence and the Beast is usually carried out as a pantomime within the UK; there are numerous variations by many various authors. Typically the character of a witch is launched who turns the Prince into the Beast as a result of he refuses to marry her, and a great fairy (normally referred to as the Rose Fairy) who intervenes to assist the plot attain a cheerful conclusion. Additionally within the pantomime variations, the Prince typically meets and falls in love with Magnificence previous to his transformation (making the story extra Cinderella-like). The normal pantomime Dame determine (man dressed outrageously as a girl) could be both Magnificence’s mom or (once more Cinderella-like) two of her sisters.


George C. Scott turned in a made-for-TV rendition in 1976, during which, early within the presentation, his Belle Beaumont, Trish Van Devere, spots him devouring a few of the native wildlife within the model of a lion, solely later to comport himself in his dialogs along with her (nonetheless because the Beast) with the the Aristocracy and appeal of a knight. Scott was nominated for an Emmy for his efficiency.

In 1984, Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Story Theatre produced an adaptation starring Klaus Kinski and Susan Sarandon. The units, make-up, and costumes have been primarily based on the 1946 movie.

Magnificence and the Beast, which owed as a lot to detective reveals and fantasy fiction as to the fairy story, initially broadcast from 1987 to 1989. This was centered across the relationship between Catherine, an lawyer who lived in New York Metropolis, performed by Linda Hamilton, and Vincent, a mild however lion-faced “beast,” performed by Ron Perlman, who dwells within the tunnels beneath the town. Wendy Pini created two problems with a comic-book adaptation of the TV sequence.

Fiction variations

Magnificence and the Beast has been the topic of many novels, most notably in Magnificence by Robin McKinley, the Newbery Award-winning writer. McKinley’s second voyage into the story of Magnificence and the Beast;; resulted in Rose Daughter.

Tanith Lee’s assortment Purple As Blood, or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer included a science-fiction retelling, during which a rich product owner’s daughter dwelling within the far future falls in love with an alien.

Donna Jo Napoli wrote a younger grownup novel, Beast, centered across the Beast’s point-of-view and his life earlier than he met Magnificence.

Nancy Holder wrote an entry within the As soon as Upon a Time sequence referred to as Spirited, which is a free retelling of the story with a younger Englishwoman named Isabella Stevenson who falls in love along with her captor, Wusamequin, a brooding Mohican medication man in the course of the French and Indian Conflict.

The story was tailored by Mercedes Lackey into her Elemental Masters novel The Fireplace Rose, setting the story in early twentieth century San Francisco.

Megan Hussey’s “Behold the Magnificence,” featured in Midnight Showcase’s “Deities of Need” erotic digest, is a feminist spin on the Magnificence and the Beast story. Hero Prince Beausoleil is a classically good-looking younger man who falls desperately in love with the healer Agnatha, an unconventional, typically ridiculed girl who lives within the woods of Ravenshead; a legendary European province the place Beau’s household guidelines and lots of youthful, extra conventionally engaging girls vie for his affections.

Two separate diversifications of the story seem in Angela Carter’s brief story assortment The Bloody Chamber, which reinterprets a number of totally different fairy tales.

Fantasy writer Francesca Lia Block included a retelling of the story in her assortment The Rose and the Beast, which options trendy re-tellings and alternate endings for 9 basic fairy tales together with The Snow Queen and Snow White. In her model, referred to as “Beast,” Magnificence involves choose the Beast as a monster and is saddened when he’s reworked.

The story additionally served as a plot for the 10th subject of Serena Valentino’s comedian e book, Nightmares & Fairy Tales. On this model, Belle is a lesbian and her lover, Rose, is taken away from her and reworked into the Beast. If Belle can uncover who the Beast really is, the curse can be damaged.


  1. Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, Magnificence and the Beast. Retrieved October 20, 2007.
  2. Heidi Anne Heiner, Tales Just like Magnificence and the Beast. Retrieved October 20, 2007.
  3. Betsy Hearne, Magnificence and the Beast: Visions and Revisions of An Previous Story, p 22-3. ISBN 0-226-32239-4
  4. Betsy Hearne, Magnificence and the Beast: Visions and Revisions of An Previous Story, p 25. ISBN 0-226-32239-4
  5. Ibid.
  6. Maria Tatar, The Annotated Traditional Fairy Tales. ISBN 0-393-05163-3
  7. Steven Swann Jones, The Fairy Story: The Magic Mirror of Creativeness (Twayne Publishers, New York, 1995). ISBN 0-8057-0950-9
  8. Marina Warner, From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales And Their Tellers, p 280. ISBN 0-374-15901-7
  9. Terri Windling, Married to Magic: Animal Brides and Bridegrooms in Folklore and Fantasy. Retrieved October 20, 2007.
  10. Betsy Hearne, Magnificence and the Beast: Visions and Revisions of An Previous Story, p 8-9. ISBN 0-226-32239-4
  11. Heidi Anne Heiner, Tales Just like Magnificence and the Beast. Retrieved October 20, 2007.
  12. Betsy Hearne, Magnificence and the Beast: Visions and Revisions of An Previous Story, p 10-11. ISBN 0-226-32239-4
  13. Heidi Anne Heiner, Tales Just like East of the Solar & West of the Moon. Retrieved October 20, 2007.
  14. Francis James Baby, The English and Scottish Common Ballads (New York: Dover Publications, 1965)


  • Hearne, Betsy. Magnificence and the Beast: Visions and Revisions of An Previous Story. ISBN 0226322394
  • Jones, Steven Swann. The Fairy Story: The Magic Mirror of Creativeness. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1995. ISBN 0805709509
  • Tatar, Maria. The Annotated Traditional Fairy Tales. ISBN 0393051633
  • Warner, Marina. From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales And Their Tellers. ISBN 0374159017
  • Windling, Terri. Married to Magic: Animal Brides and Bridegrooms in Folklore and Fantasy.

Exterior hyperlinks

All hyperlinks retrieved Could 25, 2016.


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