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Beauty and the Beast

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Beauty and the Beauty in the Beast

Once upon a time...

The classic opener for any fairy tale, which is no different in the case of Beauty and the Beast. Fairy tales were meant to teach our children life lessons that society, at the time, deems important to learn. They teach us the difference between right and wrong, black and white, good and bad, light and dark, and beauty and ugly. There are many different variations and names to Beauty and the Beast. This famous fable has been passed down and integrated into our culture time and time again, each time adding different lessons that were thought to be important in that day and age. What has changed over the years? How have the fairy tales of Beauty and the Beast affected the children of yesterday, today and tomorrow? I hope to show how fairy tales, more importantly Beauty and the Beast, is helpful to children in many ways, but mostly by teaching them the way that they should act in society. There are three very important lessons that Beauty and the Beast teaches us. First, and probably, the biggest one, is that beauty is only skin deep. It is what is on the inside that counts. Second, which ties in with the first lesson is, don't be too greedy because you will only be looking for the beauty on the out side. Finally, do unto others as you would have done to you, this will make you beautiful on the inside were it counts.

In this paper I am going to take a look at two versions of Beauty and the Beast. Although The Lady and the Lion and Beauty and the Beast are very different, the base story is there. True beauty is determined by what is on the inside and not on the outside. In addition vanity and riches will not make you happy. Finally, to be truly beautiful you must treat people how you would want to be treated.

Before I get into those versions of Beauty and the Beast, I want to talk about those who don't think this fairy tale should be seen or heard by children. One version of this tale is by none other than Disney. Kathi Maio said, "Disney's version features a beast who looks ugly and acts even uglier... What a heart-warming fable! Why it's a regular training film for the battered women of tomorrow!" (194). At first I thought, wow she has issues, but when I looked deeper I found what she meant. Not to say that I agree with her by any means. It is a fairy tale for a reason! These things can never and will never happen. Fairy tales are how children learn basic fundamentals of society. Children don't know how to read that deep into the movie and even if they do, as a parent, you should be there to show them the difference between right and wrong. In the Disney version there is singing. Every Disney movie has it. I think it is a good thing; it adds to the fact that this is just a fairy tale and that these things have not and will not ever happen (For those who take things too seriously *coughKathiMaiocough*).

Madame Le Prince De Beaumont wrote one of the first versions of Beauty and the Beast in 1745. She was a teacher and her intent was to teach her students moral lessons. She felt so strongly in these lessons that she turned them into a fairy tale to help her students grasp them. The story starts off with a merchant who had three daughters and three sons. The two older girls were very arrogant because they were rich. The sisters would not marry because they wanted to be wed to someone who was very rich. Beauty was the youngest and she had many suitors, but she refused to marry because she felt she was too young and she wanted to stay with her father longer. The merchant loses his wealth and is forced to move to the country. The two older sisters were devastated and lost all of their suitors. Beauty on the other hand was so nice that her suitors still wanted to marry her. A while after their move to the country, the merchant got a note that said his stuff had arrived. This would make them rich again. "When the sisters got word of this they begged their father to bring them back dresses, furs, hats, and all sorts of trinkets" (217). Beauty asked for nothing but a rose. The father left and returned poorer than when he left and lost his daughter to the beast. Every night Beauty and the Beast would eat dinner and talk. Beauty became fond of the Beast. Her father grew ill and so she went and visited him. Her sisters were envious of her because they had both married men that were too vain and witty. Beauty on the other hand lived with a good person. She returned to the castle three days late because of her greedy sisters, and found the Beast dying because he thought that Beauty had left him. She had decided to marry him because she cared for him so much. When she told him this the dark castle turned bright. When Beauty looked back down at he Beast he was a prince. Her family was taken there too. The fairy that had turned the prince into the Beast turned the sisters into statues. The sisters were forced to stay that way until they learned their lesson about vanity and wit. Beauty and her Beast, now a prince live happily every after.

You can see that even though this was written in 1745, many of the lessons and morals are still useful in today's society. First of all this shows that beauty is only skin deep. What is on the inside is what really counts. "You are very generous," said Beauty. "I am well pleased with your kind heart; when I think of that, you no longer seem so ugly to me" (221). Beauty is falling in love with the person on the inside. She also said, "There are many men more monstrous than you, and I prefer your form to those men who hide a false, corrupt and ungrateful heart" (221). This really cuts to the quick. People that are bad are just plain ugly on the inside and in turn you don't want to be around them. As a child I would really began looking at the insides of my friends to see if they are beauty or the beast.

In this version though, Beauty also has two sisters and they are constantly looking for wit and fortune and are very greedy. "The two eldest said they would never marry unless they could find a duke, or at least a count" (216). Now if that isn't greedy, I don't know what is. At the end of this they are both turned into statues and will remain that way until they learn their lesson. Greed will get you no where.

The Lady and the Lion, was



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