The fairy tale of Beauty and the beast has been there for countless generations offering lessons to children and adults alike. Although the films major lesson is not to judge things or people for their face value or rather what we see it also teaches us that we should strive to do unto others what we expect them to do unto us. As much as the first perspective of someone is not what portrays him or her, we should treat everyone the same way we expect them to treat us. The adaptation of Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont Beauty and the Beast into a film in 2017 has is also not short of these lessons.
From the film, one of the biggest lessons is not judging someone basing on their appearance, and that beauty is only skin deep. Judging people based on such criteria is shallow because one's appearance does not necessarily depict his or her character. The film starts with a beautiful enchantress woman disguised as an old woman seeking refuge from a storm. The prince is cruel to her and refuses her offering in the form of a rose. The old woman reveals her true self and transforms the cruel prince into a beast and his servants into household objects as a form of punishment.
She curses the prince and casts a spell on the rose and says the curse will only be broken if the prince learned to love another person and earned their love back before the last petal on the rose falls. Later in the film, the Beast takes Belle to replace Maurice who has stolen a rose from his garden. Belle befriends the castle servants and later the Beast after saving her from wolves and her nursing his wounds. This friendship blossoms into love and finally undoes the enchantress curse.
When the old woman came into the Prince's castle seeking shelter from the storm that was raging outside, she offered the Prince a single rose as a sign of gratitude toward him, but the Prince laughed at her and turned her away. The prince judges her on her appearance, seeing she was old and her skin was wrinkly. The Prince was prideful because of his status and wealth and presumes that he is not worthy of a rose from the old woman. This prompts the old woman to reveal her true self which turns out to be a beautiful enchantress who cures him and turns him into a beast.
Another incident this lesson is portrayed is when the Beast saves Belle from the wolves Belle goes back with him and nurses his wounds. Belle does not judge him because of his appearance; rather she befriends him and later falls in love with him. We should not see or rather value outer beauty since the outer appearance does not necessarily indicate what is inside. Belle values the Beasts courage and willingness to help her when she was faced with a problem more than his outward appearance. Belle later finds out that the Beast is not a beast but rather a kind, caring beautiful soul.
Gaston is handsome, and his outward appearance is pleasing to the eye with his muscular physique, but his heart is full of hate, deceit, and malice. He is arrogant and possesses a murderous heart. Although at first, he seems like a nice guy when he proposes to Belle his true character emerges when he convinces his followers to storm the Beasts castle and kill him. His jealousy is also depicted when he tries to have Maurice incarcerated. When he realizes that Belle is in love with the Beast his hate and jealousy motivates him to kill the Beast.
Gaston wants to marry Belle only because she is portrayed as the most beautiful girl in the village. He does not care about her character or other traits; he is only fixated on her beauty. Gaston is accustomed to acquiring anything he desires and believes he deserves to marry Belle only because she is considered to be the most beautiful girl in his hometown, and thus "the best (Hogan 96). Even though Belle is of a pure heart, Gaston does not see this. He views her as a trophy
We also learn that we should do unto others what we expect to be done unto us. We should treat others the way we would like to be treated. Form the film we see the Prince treating the old woman with disgust and does not appreciate her efforts to gift him a rose. He is cold hearted and selfish and does not treat others with respect; on the other hand, he expects his servants to treat him with respect. He is punished for this by the enchantress so that he can transform his ways and find love.
Gaston is an arrogant person full of pride and bullies people. Gaston forces his ideas to people and is not afraid to threaten and intimidate anyone who opposes his ideas. He imposes this awful character to people but still expects people to adore, respect and follow him. Gaston effectively uses his charm, good looks and a fabricated image of the Beast to rally the entire village against his opponent, demonstrating his ability to convince others that he is a gentleman despite never actually having shown concern for anyone other than himself; (Hogan 87).
He uses his looks and bad mouthing the Beast to persuade the people that he is a gentleman even though his character portrays him otherwise as the selfish person concerned only about his welfare. Gaston attacks the Beast, but he is too broken to fight because Belle had left him. They fight, and Gaston almost kills the Beast, but the Beast overpowers him when he sees Belle.
The Beast pins Gaston and almost kills him by throwing him over the edge of the castle, but he begs for mercy from him "Please do not let me go Beast." The Beast spares him and lets him live. Gaston is expected to reciprocate the favor but his jealousy gets the best of him and shoots the Beast, by bad luck the bridge he was on collapses, and he falls to his death. Gaston expected mercy from the Beast, but he did not show him the same mercy when he saw the opportunity to kill him.
In conclusion, the film relates more to our daily lives more than we may see. There might not be Princes, enchantresses, and beasts anymore but the lessons portrayed in the film are crucial to our day to day lives. The help us become better people and relate with each other better.
"Beauty and the Beast." IMDb, IMDb.com, 16 Mar. 2017, www.imdb.com/title/tt2771200/.
Hogan, James. Reel Parables: Life Lessons from Popular Films. Paulist Press, 2008.
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