Beauty and the Beast is one of the most beloved fairytales of all time. The story has been retold in various forms throughout history, including movies, television shows, and books. One of the most intriguing aspects of this story is the age of the Beast. How old is he really? This article will delve into the story of Beauty and the Beast, explore various interpretations and analyze the character to finally provide an answer to this age-old question.
Retelling the story of Beauty and the Beast
The tale of Beauty and the Beast follows the story of a handsome prince who is cursed by an enchantress and transformed into a beast. The curse can only be broken if he can fall in love with someone who can see past his outward appearance and love him in return before time runs out.
The Beast has lived in his enchanted form for an undetermined amount of time and has become bitter and resentful towards those who judge him based on his appearance. Until one day, a beautiful young woman named Belle enters the Beast’s life and helps him to understand that true beauty comes from within.
Though the fairytale follows a relatively simple storyline, the reason behind the Beast’s transformation is a bit more complex. The prince was cursed by an enchantress who he refused to let inside during a stormy night. As a punishment for his rudeness, the enchantress transformed him into a beast and cursed the whole castle, including its inhabitants, including Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, and Chip.
Although it’s never stated outright how long the Beast has been in this form, we do know it has been a substantial amount of time. The Beast appears to be a mature adult male, so it’s safe to assume he has been living in this form for many years even before Belle entered his life.
Researching the history of Beauty and the Beast and character analysis
The first recorded version of the Beauty and the Beast story dates back to the novel, La Belle et la Bête by Madame Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve, written in 1740. In this version, the Beast was portrayed as a prince in his twenties or thirties. However, the second most popular version created by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont in 1756 portrayed the Beast as an older and wiser figure, perhaps in his fifties or sixties.
To determine the Beast’s age, one must consider his character and his actions throughout the story. The Beast is often portrayed as a mature, wise, and experienced figure, which would indicate he might be older than he looks. At the same time, he also displays a childlike innocence, particularly when dealing with his affection for Belle. The character’s age is a mystery, which is one of the reasons the tale has remained so enthralling even after all these centuries.
Some scholars have speculated that the Beast is several centuries old, given the many parallels between him and the faerie folk of Celtic mythology. These faeries, like the Beast, are known for their transformative powers and their desire to appear as young and attractive as possible. Similarly, in many cultures, the faerie folk are referred to as “the Fair Folk,” which may suggest that they too are ageless beyond the physical appearance of youth.
Examining the different adaptations of Beauty and the Beast
Over the years, many adaptations of Beauty and the Beast have been released. Some of the most popular include the 1946 French film version by Jean Cocteau, Disney’s 1991 animated classic, and the 2017 live-action version directed by Bill Condon and starring Emma Watson as Belle.
The portrayal of the Beast’s age has varied greatly across the different adaptations. In the Cocteau film, the Beast appears to be an older gentleman, while in Disney’s animated version, he is portrayed as a young and impulsive figure. One of the most significant departures from the original character is the 2017 adaptation, which depicts the Beast as a young and handsome prince. These variations show that the Beast’s age is and has always been the subject of debate and interpretation in pop culture.
Writing an opinion piece about the importance of the Beast’s age
The age of the Beast is a topic that can spark endless debates among fans of the fairytale, but why is it so important, to begin with? The Beast’s age has a significant impact on the overall meaning of the fairytale.
For instance, if the Beast is much older than Belle, it would give the fairytale a chance to explore themes such as mortality, timelessness, and all the perils of existing beyond natural life. If he is younger, it focuses more on lessons of inner beauty and bravery, showing he possibly has many years of life ahead to grow as an individual and find love over time.
Personally, I believe that the Beast’s age should be ageless, as it is essential to the nature of fantasy and the supernatural elements of the story. This ambiguity allows many people of different ages to enjoy and take what they will from the tale, effectively providing that everyone who feels outside the norm may always hope to have a chance to connect and discover their own beauty among the the beasts of the world.
Comparing the Beast’s age to other famous fairytale creatures
The Beast is not the only fairy tale figure whose age is shrouded in mystery. Others include vampires, witches, and various supernatural beings such as Jinni and dragons. Comparing these different characters reveals that the Beast is unique in his centenarian status. Unlike a vampire, who spends centuries searching for immortality, the Beast is a creature who feels doomed within his mortality and is seeking to find hope, companionship, and lasting love.
The Beast’s unique quality is not in his age, but rather in his desire for transcending the curse through true love. He provides a valuable lesson that, regardless of the passage of time or one’s physical appearance, everyone has the potential for compassion, kindness, and self-sacrifice. These principles make the Beast’s story timeless, and his age immaterial but interesting to consider.
The age of the Beast in Beauty and the Beast may be undefined, but its significance can’t be ignored. Throughout this article, we have explored the various adaptations of the fairytale, its history, and the character analysis, which indicate that the Beast may be centuries old. Though his age is a mystery, it is fascinating to consider how it influences the story’s greater themes of inner beauty, hope, and the power of love.
So what do you think? Do you believe the Beast’s age matters? What age do you think he is? Feel free to share your thoughts and contribute to the never-ending Beauty and the Beast discussions.