Beauty and the Beast have always been my favorite movie inpart because of the story which i still love more than anyother story, but that made me curious on the original story so i decided to read it a few years ago and i liked it but not nearly as much as the Disney version.
Now i have re-read it and in honor of the DVD release i thought that i should write a comparison between the two version of the same story.
The Original Fairy Tale
Lets start with the characters:
There are only two major characters in the fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast.
Beauty is the female lead, she is the daugther of a merchant who have lost his forturne and is forced to leave his wealthy life behind to start over as a farmer.
Her role in the story is basicly to live in the castle and turn dow the beast´s wedding proposals every night.
The Beast is the male lead and he is a prince that have been cursed to live as a beast by a witch for an unexplained reason.
He is described in the fairy tale as a creature with a human body but the head of a lion,a boar or another animal depending on the illustrator.
The Story Points
The basic story is that a merchant gets lost on his way home and enters a castle where he spends the night, in the morning he finds a rose bush in the garden and picks one for his daugther at home.
This is his worst mistake since the castles master is a beast who is very attached to those roses.
He escapes with his life in exchange for his daugther.
The story contineus with Beauty coming to the castle and living there for a while and the beast proposing to her every night and her rejecting him every night.
When she starts to miss her father and her 2-9 siblings (depending on the version) the beast gives her a mirror that can show her anything she wants, in the mirror she sees that her father is dying and she begs the beast to let her go see him.
Beast gives her one week and unless she is back with him in that time he will die.
Her family is overjoyed when she comes home and makes her break her promise and when she comes back to the castle she can´t find the beast anywhere, she finaly finds him in the garden where he lies almost lifeless.
She breaks down into tears and accepts his proposal if he just stays with her, then the ugly beast is transformed into a handsome prince and they live happily ever after.
The Disney Version
There is many intresting characters in the Disey version of Beauty and the Beast, but inorder to save time i will only mention three of them Belle, Beast and Gaston the three most important to the story.
She is the heroine of the story, she is beautiful, intelligent and wants adventure.
She is described as odd by the people in her village and have a hard time fitting in because of her love for books.
He is our unlikely hero and the main character of the story.
He is very agressive and lonely at the beginning of the movie but when he meets Belle he starts to develop a more warm and friendly personality.
His spoiled and unkind personality is the reason for his beastly appearence since it was those qualities that brought the spell upon him.
Gaston is nothing less than a jerk who everyone in his home town looks up to, he sees women as trophies and wants the most beautiful one for his wife.
He starts out as an very rude and self absorbed character that no one sees as a real treat until he learns of the Beasts existance, then he changes into a real menace.
The Story Points
The basic story goes like this:
A spoiled, selfish and unkind prince is transformed into a hideaous beast by a beautiful enchantress.
If he cannot learn to love another and earn her love in return before his 21st year the spell will never be broken and he is doomed to remain a beast for all time.
A few years after the spell was placed on him an inventor gets lost in the wood near the beast´s castle and he wanders into the castle to get shelter,he is thrown into the dungeon for being a trespasser.
At the same time in a village close by the inventors daugther Belle is harrased by the village strongman Gaston who wants Belle for his wife.
The story continues with Belle taking her fathers place and lives with the Beast in his castle and starts to warm up to him.
When the pairs friendship is at its peak Belle is allowed to leave the castle to help her sick father and she is given an enchanted mirror so that she can always remember the beast.
The mirror is later the reason that Gaston get knowledge of the Beast and goes to kill him.
Gaston manages to stab the beast but falls to his own death in the process.
Belle saves the beast from falling and is heartbroken when the beast dies in her arms, she declares her love for him and then he is revived and the spell is broken and they live happily ever after.
The Movie and the Fairy Tale has a few similarities and here are some of the ones that i can describe:
The rose is a very common symbol for love and roses has a very important part in both the original and the Disney version.
In the original the only thing Beauty want her father to bring her is a rose and its also roses that is the beast´s favorite flower.
But in the Disney version it is a magic rose that not only is the beast´s shame and curse but also a symbol of his hope of being human again.
A mirror show how a person feels about themselfs and that is used a few times in the movie, but in the fairy tale the only mirror mentioned is the magic one Beast gives Beauty.
Why i prefer the Disney version
Fist we have the name of the leading lady, in the original fairy tale she is simply called Beauty and in the Disney version she is named Belle, the clever part here is that Belle is french for Beauty.
Next the story is just better and more intresting with more things happening to the characters.
Lastly i think that the design of the beast is simply perfect in the Disney version and is very bad in the fairy tale.
I hope you have enjoyed this article and that you maybe have learned something, please comment and give me feedback