A Discussion on "Beauty and the Beast"

Essay by pronothingCollege, UndergraduateB+, November 2007

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A Brief Discussion on Beauty and the BeastThe Oxford English Dictionary defines a fairy tale as “an unreal or incredible story” that includes fairies with magical powers. Such a definition is inadequate because fairy tales contain morals and are allegories in addition to its fantastical elements. Encarta states that “Beauty and the Beast” is a traditional fairy tale first published by Gabrielle-Suzzane Barbot de Villeneuve and signifies a women’s search for a lost husband. Many versions of this fairy tale have been adapted into films, plays, novels, and television but the version that we know best of was written by Jeanne Beaumount and the most well known film adaptation is by Disney.

Jack D. Zipes argues in “Fairy-Tale Discourse: Towards a Social History in Genre” that the fantastical elements in fairy tales transforms the story into a surreal world. As its name suggests, fairy tales include fairies, which are magical creatures that transforms elements in the story from the normal into the extraordinary.

Since children are drawn towards such stories, fairy tales always tell a moral, value, or a lesson that generates a sense of what is right and what is wrong into children’s minds. The morals that are told in fairy tales are conservative in nature because they are passed down from previous generations and are meant to be timeless. The idea of the timelessness of the lessons presented in fairy tales is corroborated by the generic opening, “once upon a time”, which suggests that the stories take place throughout all time. Therefore, the morals in the story hold true for all time and are ageless and universal; hence if children behave accordingly to the lessons in the story, they will live “happily ever after” as the characters in the story do.

Encarta states that...