Beauty And The Beast Analysis

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The Injustice of Transformation in Beauty and the Beast
Jeanne-Marie LePrince de Beaumont’s Beauty and the Beast weaves a romance narrative with conflicting feminist and antifeminist tones much more complex than the distillations frequently seen in popular culture. Particularly in the transformation scene, de Beaumont plays with gender stereotypes through her manipulation of dialogue and diction. Suddenly, the story loses the potency of its original message about disregarding external appearances and instead becomes wrought with language of domestic entrapment. The conversation between the newly transformed prince and Beauty makes their marriage one of deception and default, rather than an appearance-defying love. De Beaumont’s diction in
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De Beaumont’s sudden inclusion of possessive diction rips the agency out of Beauty’s mouth. Beauty follows her commanding exclamation with, “‘From this moment on, I give you my hand in marriage, and I swear that I belong only to you’” (de Beaumont 41). Beauty suddenly forgets all allegiance she once held to her father, as she now swears her undying fealty to the Beast. Previously, Beauty assured her father that she was “not all that attached to life,” but her desperate pleas for the Beast’s life rest on her rhetorical argument that she will remain with him forever, so she demonstrates a newfound sense of attachment to life with the Beast (de Beaumont 36). The giving of the hand in marriage and the sense of belonging to one another is, in part, the language of the time, but it profoundly contrasts Beauty’s strong statements at the beginning of her soliloquy. Instead, it cheapens the sentiment; the language of possession causes Beauty to appear deeply sympathetic rather than loving, and the tragic romance of the scene is lost.
Beauty’s final statement to the Beast increases the polarization of agency previously established in her language. She concludes, “‘Alas, I thought that I felt only friendship for you, but the grief I am feeling makes me realize that I can’t live without you’” (de Beaumont 41). This is the climactic profession of love the reader has been waiting for, but the very word “love” is nowhere to be found.

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