Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Beauty and The Beast

The Beauty and The Beast was first published by Madame Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve in 1740. There are varying versions on this fairytale. The 19th century's Madame Leprince de Beaumont's interpretation was very successful. Beaumont deleted several elements in Villeneuves' piece. It was a transformation from Villenueve's complicated plot to Beaumont's simplified tale.

The story started with a rich merchant who turned poor. He got lost in the woods from a trip which he journeyed with the expectation that he could get his wealth back. Unfortunately he did not, leaving him no money to buy presents for his three daughters, and one of them is Belle. The two other sisters of Belle wanted material gifts but the father had no money upon his return so he decided instead to get a rose for Belle, the only daughter who wished a non-material present.

He picked a beautiful rose from a garden owned by a hideous 'Beast' who confronted him angrily and told him that because of the merchant's intrusion into his private property, the merchant will become his prisoner forever.

The merchant pleaded with the "beast" and told him that he had only picked the rose as a gift for his youngest daughter. Upon saying that, the "beast" agreed to free him provided that the merchant's daughter would take his place instead.

When the merchant returned home, he tried his best to hide from Belle what happened between him and the beast. But Belle was a very loving daughter and she became upset when she felt that her father had been worried since his return. The old merchant had no choice but to tell all to Belle who willingly went to the Beast's castle.

The Beast fell-in love with Belle the moment he set his eyes on her. He treated her like a princess and offered to marry her, but Belle always refused him. However, Belle was haunted by a dream where she saw a handsome prince who pleaded with her to answer why she kept refusing him. Thinking that the handsome prince in her dream was a captive of the beast, she planned to search for him inside the castle but she found nothing except multiple enchanted rooms.

As time passed by, Belle missed her father more strongly than before. She begged the beast to allow her to visit her father. The beast agreed on the condition that Belle must return exactly a week later and bring with her an enchanted mirror and a ring.

The mirror was her medium of communication with the beast by letting her see the events inside the castle and the ring would take her back to the castle instantly when turned three times around her finger.

But Belle failed to return a week after and when she looked at the mirror, she saw the Beast lying half-dead of heartbreak near the rose bushes her father had stolen from and she immediately used the ring to return to the castle.

Belle wept when she was already beside the beast thinking that he was already dead, and she murmured words to him by saying that she loves him. That was the much needed "magic words" from Belle for when her tears dropped on the beast, she was amazed to see a sudden transformation from a beast to a handsome prince.

The handsome Prince narrated to Belle that he was a victim of a curse by a fairy who turned him into a hideous beast after he refused to let her in from the rain, and that only by finding true love, despite his ugliness, could he break the curse.

A fairy tale of true love and true heart is always the theme that highlights justice in a relationship. Much demanded by a changing society that has been formed or deformed by advancements in science and technology, a need for truthfulness is undeniably indispensable. Power struggle and human exploitation may dim the glow of our existence but beneath any form of superiority lies a need that could only be fulfilled by truth and justice in the form of a love that is unconditional on one's surface.

Is this just a myth or truth? The beauty and beast are intertwined in concept for they represent the bad and good side of man. Beyond a romantic relationship, I have faith that every man has a goodness in his soul. If one's beastness could be balanced by his beautiful side, then perhaps, man is not always bad after all.



Anonymous said...

I believe it's a little of both. Girls are always looking for Prince Charming, and boys need to find a heroine to "save".

Princess Maleiha said...

Thank you Deanna dear for your time and comment. :)