Disney’s animated film Beauty and The Beast (1991) is one of my favorite films. The concept that a quiet bookworm find love in a man that appears to be a beast, showing that love is not always based on appearances. The tale told by The Brothers’ Grimm shows a different side to Beauty shedding a different light on the classic tale.
Story of Beauty
Beauty by The Brothers Grimm, is the story about a merchant and his three daughters. When going to the market, he asks what they would like as gifts. The older two sisters ask for pearls and fine clothes, but Beauty asks for a single rose. On his return trip home, the father is caught in a storm and seeks shelter in a castle in the middle of the forest. The father is given food and a warm bed for the evening.
Upon leaving he spots a rose garden and decides to pick one. His actions anger his mysterious host the beast that threatens to kill the man who was mocking his generosity by stealing. The father begs for his life, saying that the rose was for his daughter and the beast makes a deal Beauty for the man’s life. When the father returns home, he tells his daughters about the incident and Beauty agrees to return to the castle to spare her father’s life.
Love or Madness
Many see the tale of Beauty and the many retellings of the tale as a classic case of Stockholm Syndrome. A mental disorder where prisoners slowly fall in love with their captors to the point where they see them as their savior and not their warden.
I disagree with this idea. Yes, Beauty goes to the castle, but she’s treated like a guest given a high luxury room and the beast is shy keeping his distance from her until they are good friends. He cares about her and allows her to leave the castle knowing that it will seal his own fate.
Significance of a Rose
The castle that belongs to the Beast is called the castle of Roses. His gardens contain roses and was the only item that Beauty wanted as a gift leading to their unique meeting. Roses are the flowers of romance Roses seem plain on the outside with their solid colors but inside the petals is a hidden beauty. Another tie in to the theme of beauty being beneath the surface.
Furthermore, the tale of Beauty is a love story about people being loved for who they are rather than how they appear to others. The Beast is described as hostile and short-tempered yet only appears that way after years of isolation. Beauty is a gentle soul that sees the good in everyone she meets. She asks for a rose from her father seeing it as a simple task, not wanting to trouble him with an item that would cost him money or would be difficult to find. Showing that her gentle hand was able to tame the beast and reveal the prince that was trapped beneath the surface.
Now. Shush. I’m trying to read,