The original story of Beauty and the Beast is a lot darker than you think


Disney’s remake of The Beauty and the Beast was unveiled across cinemas.

Picture: Picture: Disney

Emma Watson's portrayal of the beautiful Belle - who, in the original French novel, was a daughter of a King and a fairy, not a peasant - is the talk of critics.

The original story is less rosy.

Originally a French novel written by Madame Gabrielle Suzanne de Villeneauve and published in 1740, La Belle and Le Bête was a fairly dark anecdote about women’s rights in the eighteenth century.

Consider the premise; young girl is kidnapped by beast and forced to live in his foreboding castle.

Isolated from her family, she must care for her captor.

Eventually, she falls in love.

If that isn’t a perfect play-by-play for Stockholm syndrome, we don’t know what is.

In the eighteenth century, daughters tended to belong to their fathers and matters of marriage were decided between men.

It can be argued that Villeneauve's novel, rather than a celebration of a romance between a woman and the beast she turned to man, it was instead a critique of contemporary women’s lack of choice in matters that pertained to their lives.

It wasn’t until 1790 that divorce was granted to both men and women.

In 1804, following the Napoleonic code which curtailed women's rights once more, many of those rights were once again taken away.

HT Metro

Keep reading...Show less
Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)