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Beauty and the Beast: A Perspective on Beauty
Beauty and the Beast
History of Beauty and the Beast
With origins in mythology, La Belle et la Bête, a French fairy tale we know as Beauty and the Beast was first published in 1740. Madame Gabrielle de Villeneuve wrote this story for her court friends. This was how they entertained themselves at court, by telling each other stories so it is quite obvious this was written for adults, not for children. This original version of Beauty and the Beast is much different than the one we are most familiar with and yet has many similarities. One of the most noticeable differences is that Beauty marries the Beast before he turns into a prince.
In 1750 Jeanne-Marie le Prince de Beaumont altered the original La Belle et la Bête, leaving out what many believed to be unnecessary details and side stories. This version is closest to the one we know today.
An interesting point is that the Beast is never really described so 'the beast' and how he looks is left up to us. The Beast has been portrayed in many guises from the 1946 French film to the 1991 Disney film and many in between. Many books have been written and many different renditions have been presented.
Beauty and the Beast - Movie 1946
“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”
Beauty and the Beast
The first movie about Beauty and the Beast was made in France in 1946. Again, this was not a children's film. The "castle" the Beast lives in is probably different from what we would expect though it is enchanted. The candelabra throughout the house are held by living and moving human arms. Statues that are just busts are also alive with their eyes following Beauty. There is a magic mirror and so much more.
As you may remember, the story begins when a merchant loses his ship and tries to return home. He gets lost and finds a castle where a meal is laid for him and a bed is made. He can find no one living there but accepts the graciousness. The next morning hot coffee awaits him and still, no host. He goes into the garden and there sees a beautiful rose bush. Remembering his youngest daughter's request for a rose he breaks off a rose. That is when he meets the Beast who threatens to kill him for cutting a rose. He tells the Beast about his three daughters and how the youngest only wanted a rose. The Beast agrees to let the man live if he sends one of his daughters in his place, to live in the castle with the Beast.
When the man returns home to his daughters, Beauty (Belle in French) loves him so much she agrees to go and live with the Beast. At first she finds the Beast repulsive and scary but as she gets to know him she begins to like him and look forward to their nightly meetings when they talk. He asks her to marry him but she refuses saying he is a dear friend but she can't marry him. He gives her a magic mirror and she sees her father is very ill. She begs to go home but the Beast is afraid she won't return. She promises to return in the three days he sets as her deadline, but when she gets home she is so happy to see her father recovering she forgets about the three days. When she looks in the mirror she sees the Beast is dying and returns to him.
How is this part of the Perspectives?
Mickey Sr, bravewarrior, Docmo,Martie Coetser, and Marcoujor have been writing since last Fall on various subjects giving their particular perspectives (Docmo is no longer with HP). To quote MickeySr, the instigator of this series, "The 'Perspectives:' series will present a variety of views on a new theme, or topic, every month from some familiar hubbers and some perhaps not so familiar hubbers." One hubber recently added to the core team is VickiW. In addition to this core team a different guest writer is asked to join each month. I am honored to say I am one of the guest writers for this month and the topic is Beauty. To learn more about the beginnings of Perspectives, read the Introduction; 'Perspectives: An Introduction'
So, you've read this far and you're thinking, well the story of Beauty and the Beast is a lovely fairy tale but what does it have to do with a Perspective on Beauty? Well, you need to understand that one of the first lessons I can remember about beauty came from this fairy tale. I went through so many emotions as we met the Beast threatening to kill a man over a rose. I was appalled. I thought,how could anyone want to kill a man just for a rose? But as I got to know the Beast, I began to feel sorry for him and see that he wasn't a Beast inside. Then, I began to like him and even though he was ugly, and a Beast, I wanted Beauty to marry him. When Beauty went to see her father and didn't go back I was angry and when I saw the Beast was dying I became furious and started to really dislike Beauty. But then, she realized her cruelty was killing the Beast and returned to him. When he came back to life for her I was so happy and I must admit a little sad that the Beast was gone and a Prince was in his place.
Okay, so again you're thinking that's all well and good but what the Sam Hill does it have to do with Beauty? Well, I'll tell you. Remember, perspective can be your point of view or your belief and what is associated with it.
Beauty is everywhere and it is not our eyes that see it, it is our hearts that see beauty. In the beginning of the fairy tale, the beauty starts with that one little rose. A rose so beautiful that each petal opens separately with delicate grace and an inner shine, one we see immediately with our eyes and our heart. Of course there are many things we know are beautiful immediately; the birth of a child, the love and tenderness between a married couple, a father spending time with his child showing how much he cares, a blue sky dotted with white clouds, many things we see and know are beautiful.
But beauty is not always easy to see. The Beauty in the Beast was not easy to see. Of course we know Beauty was beautiful. She and all of her sisters are described as beautiful but Beauty also had real beauty. She was kind and unselfish, the beauty we see with our hearts. Though she was afraid and even repulsed by the Beast at first, she reached out to him. What about the Beast? To me, he is what this fairy tale is all about. He gave everything to Beauty. He had a room ready for her, he gave her clothes and jewels and he met with her every night so they could get to know each other. He was beautiful. He had a heart full of love and kindness. He was not selfish or mean in spite of his appearance. It wasn't his appearance that was beautiful but his heart. He appreciated Beauty but never pressured her. Beauty could only see the Beast's beauty when she listened to him and spent time with him, then she could see and feel his beauty.
Sometimes we are faced with the same challenge.
Honoring Others - Beautiful
How and Where Do We Find Beauty
One of the first ways to find beauty is to be aware. Be aware of your surroundings and be aware of other people. Stop talking all the time and listen to what is going on around you. Not only will you find beauty, but you might learn something along the way.
Another way is to learn to accept things the way they are. Once you can accept them you will see the beauty in them, whether its people, animals or nature. Accepting what is and not wanting to change it will let you see the beauty that is always there.
Little things matter. A simple gesture, a kind word, these things can lead you to beauty as well. How beautiful is the phrase "I love you"? How beautiful is it when someone thinks about you and gives you a phone call out of the blue? What about the man on the bus that gives an elderly woman his seat? When you perform little acts of kindness you will feel the beauty as well.
Look. Yes, look. Look at people, look at nature, recognize the beauty you see every day. Every face is different but beautiful; a beautiful smile, beautiful sparkling eyes, beautiful lips that turn into a smile at the corners, a face that just has beauty shining through. Have you ever seen an ugly baby? Well, maybe a homely one or two but for the most part all babies are beautiful. The flowers that bloom with every season offer us beauty along our way. The little ducks following their mother as they waddle along, different colored leaves painting a beautiful landscape before our eyes. Beauty there for the taking!
Recognizing the Beauty Around UsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Live With Beauty in Your Life
Appreciate all that you have and all that you see. Let your heart embrace the beauty in your life and the beauty in others. "In every man's heart there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibrations of beauty." - Christopher Morley
Society's concepts of beauty change with fads. Once there was Botticelli and his "voluptuous" women, now there are models who are anorexic...both concepts of beauty at different times. As we know though, there is more to beauty than the physical attributes society looks for. Beauty is NOT a physical thing. Beauty is where we find it and how we accept it. The inherent goodness in any person or thing, that is beauty. We always know when we have been touched by beauty because we can feel it and see it in our hearts. Touch and feel your own beauty so that you can see the beauty in others.
Everything is beautiful in it's own way, and if we allow our hearts to see it, beauty is there for the taking. It surrounds us and brightens our lives. Look for the beauty with your heart and you will never miss seeing it.
Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved
Ray Stevens - Everything is Beautiful
Read More Perspectives on Beauty
Marcoujor - No longer published