A Comparison of "Creating the Myth" and "Beauty and the Beast"

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Linda Seger's hero myth from her publication "Creating the Myth" is very thorough in the steps involved in creating a hero of a story. All ten steps are very common to a typical hero story. However, there are some gaps in her theory. An example of a story that does not fit Seger's theory is the Disney version of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. This popular cultural phenomenon has within it an atypical hero, one who pokes holes in Seger's hero myth theory. This atypical hero, simply named Beast, does not fit all ten of the steps in a typical hero story.

It is obvious that Beast does not fit Seger's theory the moment he is introduced in the story. He described as a "spoiled, selfish, and unkind prince [with] no love in his
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Seger states that in fairy tales "an old woman, a dwarf, a witch, or a wizard helps the hero . . . The hero achieves the goal because of this help, and because the hero is receptive to what this person has to give" (173). Conversely, Beast is helped by the very damsel he imprisons. Belle is a normal woman, not a witch or a wizard; she has no special powers and is not old or dwarfish in any way. Also, Beast is extremely reluctant to accept any help from her. In the Disney version of the story, Belle tries to teach Beast how to control his temper and be more compassionate and loving. Beast is not receptive at all to this help throughout the story, but still manages to defeat the curse left on him by a self revelation. He decides after Belle's departure from his castle to learn to love and be kindhearted. Although her help may have had an impact on his transformation, it was the mere presence of her and his own self conscience that ultimately helped him conquer his relentless curse. This is quite different from what Seger illustrates in her hero myth theory.

Furthermore, the sixth through the eighth steps in Seger's hero theory do not apply to Beast's situation in Beauty and the Beast. In these steps, according the Seger, the hero

begins all his tests and obstacles necessary to overcome evil . . . In
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