Beauty and the Beast (French: La Belle et la Bête) is a traditional
fairy tale written by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de
Villeneuve and published in 1740 in La Jeune Américaine et les contes
marins (The Young American and Marine Tales). Her lengthy version
was abridged, rewritten, and published first by Jeanne-Marie Leprince
de Beaumont in 1756 in Magasin des enfants (Children's Collection)
Andrew Lang in the Blue
Fairy Book of his
Fairy Book series in
1889, to produce the version(s) most commonly retold. It was
influenced by some earlier stories, such as "Cupid and Psyche",
written by Lucius
Apuleius Madaurensi in
The Golden Ass
The Golden Ass in the 2nd
century AD, and "The Pig King", an Italian fairytale published by
Giovanni Francesco Straparola in The Facetious Nights of
Variants of the tale are known across Europe. In France, for
example, Zémire and Azor is an operatic version of the story, written
by Marmontel and composed by
Grétry in 1771, which had enormous
success well into the 19th century; it is based on the second
version of the tale. Amour pour amour (Love for love), by Nivelle de
la Chaussée, is a 1742 play based on de Villeneuve's version.
According to researchers at universities in Durham and Lisbon, the
story originated around 4,000 years ago.
2 Villeneuve's version
4 Modern uses and adaptations
5 See also
7 External links
A widower merchant lives in a mansion with his six children, three
sons and three daughters. All his daughters are very beautiful, but
the youngest, Beauty, is the most lovely, as well as kind, well-read,
and pure of heart; while the two elder sisters, in contrast, are
wicked, selfish, vain, and spoiled. They secretly taunt
treat her more like a servant than a sister. The merchant eventually
loses all of his wealth in a tempest at sea which sinks most of his
merchant fleet. He and his children are consequently forced to live in
a small farmhouse and work for their living.
Some years later, the merchant hears that one of the trade ships he
had sent has arrived back in port, having escaped the destruction of
its compatriots. Before leaving, he asks his children if they wish for
him to bring any gifts back for them. The sons ask for weaponry and
horses to hunt with, whereas his oldest daughters ask for clothing,
jewels, and the finest dresses possible as they think his wealth has
Beauty is satisfied with the promise of a rose as none grow
in their part of the country. The merchant, to his dismay, finds that
his ship's cargo has been seized to pay his debts, leaving him
penniless and unable to buy his children's presents.
During his return, the merchant becomes lost during a storm. Seeking
shelter, he enters a dazzling palace. A hidden figure opens the giant
doors and silently invites him in. The merchant finds tables inside
laden with food and drink, which seem to have been left for him by the
palace's invisible owner. The merchant accepts this gift and spends
the night there. The next morning, as the merchant is about to leave,
he sees a rose garden and recalls that
Beauty had desired a rose. Upon
picking the loveliest rose he can find, the merchant is confronted by
a hideous "Beast" which tells him that for taking his most precious
possession after accepting his hospitality, the merchant must die. The
merchant begs to be set free, arguing that he had only picked the rose
as a gift for his youngest daughter. The Beast agrees to let him give
the rose to Beauty, but only if the merchant or one of his daughters
Beauty dines with the Beast in an illustration by Anne Anderson.
The merchant is upset but accepts this condition. The Beast sends him
on his way, with wealth, jewels and fine clothes for his sons and
daughters, and stresses that
Beauty must never know about his deal.
The merchant, upon arriving home, tries to hide the secret from
Beauty, but she pries it from him. Her brothers say they will go to
the castle and fight the Beast, but the merchant dissuades them,
saying they will stand no chance against the monster.
agrees to go to the Beast's castle. The Beast receives her graciously
and informs her that she is now mistress of the castle, and he is her
servant. He gives her lavish clothing and food and carries on lengthy
conversations with her. Every night, the Beast asks
Beauty to marry
him, only to be refused each time. After each refusal,
of a handsome prince who pleads with her to answer why she keeps
refusing him, to which she replies that she cannot marry the Beast
because she loves him only as a friend.
Beauty does not make the
connection between the handsome prince and the Beast and becomes
convinced that the Beast is holding the prince captive somewhere in
the castle. She searches and discovers multiple enchanted rooms, but
never the prince from her dreams.
For several months,
Beauty lives a life of luxury at the Beast's
palace, having every whim catered to by invisible servants, with no
end of riches to amuse her and an endless supply of exquisite finery
to wear. Eventually, she becomes homesick and begs the Beast to allow
her to go see her family. He allows it on the condition that she
returns exactly a week later.
Beauty agrees to this and sets off for
home with an enchanted mirror and ring. The mirror allows her to see
what is going on back at the Beast's castle, and the ring allows her
to return to the castle in an instant when turned three times around
her finger. Her older sisters are surprised to find her well fed and
dressed in finery.
Beauty tries to share the magnificent gowns and
jewels the Beast gave her with her sisters, but they turn into rags at
her sisters' touch, and are restored to their splendour when returned
to Beauty, as the Beast meant them only for her. Her sisters are
envious when they hear of her happy life at the castle, and, hearing
that she must return to the Beast on a certain day, beg her to stay
another day, even putting onion in their eyes to make it appear as
though they are weeping. They hope that the Beast will be angry with
Beauty for breaking her promise and eat her alive. Beauty's heart is
moved by her sisters' false show of love, and she agrees to stay.
Illustration by Warwick Goble.
Beauty begins to feel guilty about breaking her promise to the Beast
and uses the mirror to see him back at the castle. She is horrified to
discover that the Beast is lying half-dead from heartbreak near the
rose bushes from which her father plucked the rose, and she
immediately uses the ring to return to the Beast.
Beauty weeps over the Beast, saying that she loves him. When her tears
strike him, the Beast is transformed into the handsome prince from
Beauty's dreams. The Prince informs her that long ago a fairy 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 the
curse be broken. He and
Beauty are married and they live happily ever
Villeneuve's original tale includes several elements that Beaumont's
omits. Chiefly, the backstory of both
Beauty and the Beast is given.
The Beast was a prince who lost his father at a young age, and whose
mother had to wage war to defend his kingdom. The queen left him in
care of an evil fairy, who tried to seduce him when he became an
adult; when he refused, she transformed him into a beast. Beauty's
story reveals that she is not really a merchant's daughter but the
offspring of a king and a good fairy. A wicked fairy had tried to
Beauty so she could marry her father the king, and
put in the place of the merchant's dead daughter to protect her.
Villeneuve also gave the castle elaborate magic, which obscured the
more vital pieces of it. Beaumont greatly pared down the cast of
characters and simplified the tale to an almost archetypal
Petrus Gonsalvus (c. 1580)
Tatar (2017) compares the tale to the theme of "animal brides and
grooms" found in folklore throughout the world, pointing out that
the French tale was specifically intended for the preparation of young
girls in 18th century France for arranged marriages. The urban
opening is unusual in fairy tales, as is the social class of the
characters, neither royal nor peasants. It may reflect the social
changes occurring at the time of its first writing.
Hamburger (2015) points out that the design of the Beast in the 1946
film adaptation by
Jean Cocteau was inspired by the portrait of Petrus
Gonsalvus, a native of
Tenerife who suffered from hypertrichosis,
causing an abnormal growth of hair on his face and other parts, and
who came under the protection of the French king and married a
beautiful Parisian woman named Catherine.
Modern uses and adaptations
The tale has been notably adapted for screen, stage, prose, and
television over the years.
The Pig King, by Giovanni Francesco Straparola, an Italian fairytale
published in The Facetious Nights of Straparola.
The Scarlet Flower, a Russian fairy tale published in 1858 by Sergey
Beauty and the Beast ... The Story Retold. Laura E. Richards. London:
Blickie & Son, 1886. Also, Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1886.
Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of
Beauty and the Beast, 1978 and
Rose Daughter, 1997 (both by author Robin McKinley).
"The Courtship of Mr. Lyon", a story from Angela Carter's The Bloody
Chamber (1979), is based on Madame Le Prince de Beaumont's
"Beauty", a short story by Tanith Lee, is a science fiction retelling
Beauty and the Beast". It appeared in Lee's anthology, Red as
Blood, or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer, published in 1983. The
heroine is named Estár; the Beast, a catlike telepathic alien, is
never given a name that can be written or spoken in any human
Fashion Beast, a 1985 screenplay by Alan Moore, was adapted into a
graphic novel in 2012.
In The Last Wish (1993) by Andrzej Sapkowski, the story "A Grain of
Truth" is very similar to "
Beauty and the Beast", though the beast
enjoys being a beast and the daughters of various merchants willingly
live with him in exchange for money.
Lord of Scoundrels
Lord of Scoundrels (1995) by Loretta Chase, a
Regency romance and
Beauty and the Beast
The Fire Rose
The Fire Rose (1995) by Mercedes Lackey, part of the Elementals
The Quantum Rose
The Quantum Rose by
Catherine Asaro is another science fiction
retelling of "
Beauty and the Beast". It won the 2002 Nebula Award for
Best Novel and the 2001 Affaire de Coeur Award for Best Science
Fiction Novel. The first third of the novel appeared as a three-part
serialization in Analog magazine in the 1999 May, June, and
Tor Books published the full novel in 2000.
Beastly, written in 2007 by Alex Flinn, sets the story in modern-day
A French version entitled La Belle et la Bête was made in 1946,
directed by Jean Cocteau, starring
Jean Marais as the Beast and
Josette Day as the Beauty. This version adds a subplot involving
Belle's suitor Avenant, also played by Marais.
A 1952 animated feature film, The Scarlet Flower, based upon Aksakov's
aforementioned tale, was directed by
Lev Atamanov and produced at the
Soyuzmultfilm. It was restored at the
Gorky Film Studio
Gorky Film Studio in 1987, and
is now widely available on several video and DVD editions in Russia
(an English-subtitled version has not been released).
A 1962 version directed by Edward L. Cahn, starring Joyce Taylor and
Mark Damon, had the Beast as a prince who transformed into a werewolf
at night, with makeup by Universal's Jack Pierce.
In 1987, The Cannon Group and
Golan-Globus Productions released Beauty
and the Beast, a musical live-action version, directed by Eugene
Marner, starring John Savage as Beast, and
Rebecca De Mornay
Rebecca De Mornay as
Beauty, with original music by Lori McKelvey. It was released on VHS
in 1988 by Cannon Video, and on DVD in 2005 by MGM Home
In 1991, Walt Disney Feature Animation produced a musical animated
Beauty and the Beast, directed by
Kirk Wise and Gary
Trousdale, with a screenplay by Linda Woolverton, and songs by Alan
Menken and Howard Ashman. Like the 1946 version, the Disney version
Beauty "Belle" and gives her a handsome suitor (here named
Gaston) who eventually plots to kill the Beast. The Beast is
depicted to having the head structure and horns of a bison, the jaws,
teeth, and mane of a lion, the eyebrow of a gorilla, the tusks of a
wild boar, the arms and body of a bear, and the hind legs and tail of
Children's film producer Diane Eskenazi produced
Beauty and the Beast,
directed by Masakazu Higuchi and Chinami Namba, for
Golden Films in
1993. The film, which relied on moderate animation techniques but was
mostly faithful to the original tale, featured classical compositions
as opposed to an original soundtrack, featuring the works of many
well-known popular composers. This film's version of the Beast has
the body of a gorilla, the mane of a lion, the snout and tusks of a
common warthog, and the tail of a bull.
The theme of the music video "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do
That)" by Meat Loaf, released in 1993, is adapted from
Beauty and the
A 2005 Viking period film directed by David Lister was alternately
Beauty and the Beast and Blood of Beasts.
A dark version  of the fairy tale updated to modern times,
director Robert Beaucage's 2008 film Spike, was described (at its
premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival where it was
chosen as part of the Best of the Fest) as "Angela Carter
rewriting La Belle et la Bête as an episode of Buffy the Vampire
Another modern take is
Alex Pettyfer as the beast
(named Kyle) and
Vanessa Hudgens as the love interest (named Lindy).
Daniel Barnz it is based on the book
Beauty and the Beast, a French-German film, released in 2014.
Beauty and the Beast, a Disney live-action adaptation of the 1991
animated film, starring
Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, was released on
March 17, 2017.
George C. Scott
George C. Scott appeared as the Beast in a made-for-TV rendition in
1976, with his second wife, Patricia "Trish" Van Devere, co-starring
alongside him as Belle in the film, which aired as part of the
Hallmark Hall of Fame. Scott was nominated for an Emmy for his
In 1984, Shelley Duvall's
Faerie Tale Theatre
Faerie Tale Theatre aired "
Beauty and the
Klaus Kinski and Susan Sarandon. The script, sets,
makeup, and costumes were based on the 1946 film.
Beauty and the Beast, a television series which owed as much to
detective shows and fantasy fiction as to the fairy tale, was
originally broadcast from 1987 to 1989. This was centered around the
relationship between Catherine (played by Linda Hamilton), an attorney
who lived in New York City, and Vincent (played by Ron Perlman), a
gentle but lion-faced "beast" who dwells in the tunnels beneath the
Wendy Pini created two issues of a comic-book adaptation of the
TV series. The series was cancelled when ratings fell after Hamilton
decided to leave the show at the end of the second season.
Beauty and the Beast was featured in Grimm's
Fairy Tale Classics. In
this version, the Beast had an ogre-like appearance and appeared at
the Merchant's house when his time to give him
Beauty came. Outside of
Beauty breaking the spell on the Beast enough to turn him back into a
prince, the two of them sent birds to carry messages of their
marriage. The narrator commented that he learned of this story because
"a little birdie told him."
A version of "
Beauty and the Beast" was featured in Happily Ever
Fairy Tales for Every Child. The story is set in Africa and
features the voices of
Vanessa L. Williams
Vanessa L. Williams as the Beauty, Gregory
Hines as the Beast,
Debbie Allen as Precious,
Terrence C. Carson as
the Tree, and
Paul Winfield as the Father. The Beast was depicted as
having a rhinoceros head, a lion-like mane and tail, a humanoid body,
and a camel-like hump. In addition to the Prince having been turned
into a Beast by a sorcerer, the Prince's castle is tended to by living
A loose adaption of the story was featured in the animated series
Stories from My Childhood. The voice cast included
Amy Irving as the
Tim Curry as the Beast, and
Robert Loggia as the Beauty's
Beauty & the Beast (2012) is a reworking of the 1987 TV series
with Jay Ryan and
Kristin Kreuk reprising the roles that Perlman and
Hamilton, respectively, had originated in that production.
A variation of the story was incorporated into an episode of the ABC
TV series Once Upon a Time entitled "Skin Deep", in which Beauty/Belle
is played by
Emilie de Ravin
Emilie de Ravin and the Beast is
by Robert Carlyle).
While Belle had appeared in Sofia the First, the Beast wasn't
featured. Instead, a variation of the story is used in the episode
Beauty is the Beast" where Princess Charlotte of Isleworth (voiced by
Megan Hilty) was turned into a Beast by the powerful enchantress
Zinessa (voiced by Meredith Roberts Quill) because she was rude and
insensitive to Zinessa's friend Morris the
Goblin (voiced by Andrew
Rannells). The description of her Beast form is a cross between a
human and a wild boar with a wolf-like tail. Once Princess Charlotte
vouched for Morris the
Goblin upon the royal guards arresting him and
became friends with him in front of her parents King Philip and Queen
Everly (voiced by Fritz Sperburg and Jamie Denbo) upon being
encouraged by Sofia, the spell on Princess Charlotte was broken and
Zinessa left in cat form while quoting to Princess Charlotte "well
done." After thanking Sofia who was transported back to Enchancia,
Princess Charlotte invited Morris to the Summer Ball.
Philip Glass wrote an opera, La Belle et la Bête, based on
Cocteau's film. Glass's composition follows the film scene by scene,
effectively providing a new original soundtrack for the movie.
The Disney film was adapted for the stage as
Beauty and the Beast by
Linda Woolverton and Alan Menken, who had worked on the film. Howard
Ashman, the original lyricist, had died, and additional lyrics were
written by Tim Rice.
In 2011, a new ballet adaptation of
Beauty and the Beast was created
by choreographer David Nixon for Northern Ballet. Works by several
Bizet and Poulenc, were used for the score.
A hidden object game, Mystery Legends:
Beauty and the Beast, was
released in 2012.
The narrative of the
Sierra Entertainment adventure game King's Quest
VI follows several fairy tales, and
Beauty and the Beast is the focus
of one multiple part quest.
Stevie Nicks recorded a song based on the fairy tale for her 1983 solo
album, The Wild Heart.
Real Life based the video for their signature hit "Send Me an Angel"
on the fairy story.
Alec R. Costandinos released a twelve inch by his side
project Love & Kisses with the theme of the fairy-tale set to a
disco melody in 1978.
The interactive fiction work, Bronze by Emily Short, is a
puzzle-oriented adaptation of
Beauty and the Beast.
Eros and Psyche
^ a b Windling, Terri. "
Beauty and the Beast, Old and New". The
Journal of Mythic Arts. The Endicott Studio. Archived from the
original on 26 July 2014.
^ Stouff, Jean. "La Belle et la Bête". Biblioweb.
^ Harrison, "Cupid and Psyche", Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece
and Rome',' p. 339.
^ Heidi Anne Heiner, "Tales Similar to
Beauty and the Beast"
^ Thomas, Downing. Aesthetics of Opera in the Ancien Régime,
1647–1785. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2002.
^ BBC. "
Fairy tale origins thousands of years old, researchers say".
BBC News. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
^ Betsy Hearne,
Beauty and the Beast: Visions and Revisions of An Old
Tale, p 22–23 ISBN 0-226-32239-4
^ a b Betsy Hearne,
Beauty and the Beast: Visions and Revisions of An
Old Tale, p 25 ISBN 0-226-32239-4
^ Tatar, Maria (March 7, 2017).
Beauty and the Beast: Classic Tales of
Animal Brides and Grooms from Around the World. Random House Penguin.
^ Gilbert, Sophie (March 31, 2017). "The Dark Morality of Fairy-Tale
Animal Brides". The Atlantic. Retrieved 31 March 2017. "Maria
Tatar points [...] the story of
Beauty and the Beast was meant for
girls who would likely have their marriages arranged".
^ Maria Tatar, p 45, The Annotated Classic
^ Andreas Hamburger in: Andreas Hamburger (ed.) Women and Images of
Men in Cinema: Gender Construction in La Belle et La Bete by Jean
Cocteauchapter 3 (2015). see also: "La Bella y la Bestia": Una
historia real inspirada por un hombre de carne y hueso (difundir.org
^ Crunelle-Vanrigh, Anny. "The Logic of the Same and Différance: 'The
Courtship of Mr. Lyon'". In Roemer, Danielle Marie, and Bacchilega,
Cristina, eds. (2001).
Angela Carter and the
Fairy Tale, p. 128. Wayne
State University Press.
^ Wherry, Maryan (2015). "More than a Love Story: The Complexities of
the Popular Romance". In Berberich, Christine. The Bloomsbury
Introduction to Popular Fiction. Bloomsbury. p. 55.
^ David J. Hogan (1986). Dark Romance: Sexuality In the Horror Film.
Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 90.
^ "50's and 60's Horror Movies B". The Missing Link. Retrieved
^ Russell A. Peck. "Cinderella Bibliography:
Beauty and the Beast".
The Camelot Project at the University of Rochester. Archived from the
original on 6 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
Janet Maslin (13 November 1991). "Disney's '
Beauty and the Beast'
Updated In Form and Content". The New York Times. Retrieved
Beauty and the Beast". Movie Review Film. Retrieved
^ Maslin, Janet. "
Beauty and the Beast: Overview". The New York Times.
^ Jason Buchanan. "Spike". All Movie Guide. Retrieved
^ Calum Waddell. "Spike". Total Sci-Fi. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
Beauty & the Beast + Blood and Guts = Spike". HorrorMovies.ca.
11 January 2007. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
^ "Festival Highlights: 2008 Edinburgh International Film Festival".
Variety. 13 June 2008. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
^ "Best of the Fest Programme at Edinburgh International Film
Festival". The List. 25 June 2008. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
^ Robert Hope. "Spike". Edinburgh International Film Festival.
^ Larry Carroll (30 March 2010). "
Vanessa Hudgens And Alex Pettyfer
Get 'Intense' In 'Beastly'". MTV. Archived from the original on 5
April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
Beauty and the Beast (2017)". Retrieved 2017-03-06.
^ "Alternate Versions for La Belle et la Bête". IMDb. Archived from
the original on 11 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
^ Tale as Old as Time: The Making of
Beauty and the Beast. [VCD]. Walt
Disney Home Entertainment. 2002.
^ Thompson, Laura (19 December 2011). "
Beauty and the Beast, Northern
Ballet, Grand Theatre, Leeds, review". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8
^ Mystery Legends:
Beauty and the Beast Collector's Edition (PC DVD)
^ KQ6 Game Play video
^ Bronze homepage, including background information and download links
Wikimedia Commons has media related to
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Wikisource has original text related to this article:
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Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of
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Rose Daughter (1997)
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The Quantum Rose (2000)
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Beauty and the Beast (video game)
Beauty and the Beast