The written History of the Beast

Beauty and the Beast is a traditional fairy tale. The first published version of the fairy tale was a meandering rendition by Madame Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, published in La jeune américaine, et les contes marins in 1740. The best-known written version was an abridgement of M. Villeneuve's work published in 1756 by Mme Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, in Magasin des enfants, ou dialogues entre une sage gouvernante et plusieurs de ses élèves; an English translation appeared in 1757.

A rich merchant lived in the city, with his daughters, one of whom was Beauty, but he lost his wealth, and he and his daughters (whose suitors no longer wanted to marry them) had to live in the country. One day, he heard that a ship of his had returned. He went back to the city. His other daughters asked for jewelry and dresses, but Beauty wanted only a rose.

Beauty's father, lost in a forest and caught in a storm, finds shelter in the Beast's palace. As he leaves, he plucks a rose to bring back to Beauty, offending his unseen host, who denouncing him as a thief, tells him he must now die. The father begs to be allowed to see his daughters again: the Beast says that if one of the man's daughters will return to suffer in his place, he may live. Beauty journeys to the Beast's castle convinced she will be killed, but instead she is made mistress of the enchanted palace, and the Beast asks her to be his wife. She says she can be his friend, and will stay with him forever, but not as his wife, asking only to return to her home for a week to say farewell to her father. Her sisters entice her to stay beyond the allotted week, and she returns belatedly to the castle, finding the Beast lying near death from distress at her failure to return. She begs him to live, so that he may be her husband, and by this act the Beast is transformed into a handsome prince. After Beauty returns to the palace, her family comes to live with her.

Villeneuve's version
Villeneuve's tale includes several elements that Beaumont's omits. Chiefly, the backstory of both Beauty and the Beast is given. The Beast was a prince who lost his father at a young age, and whose mother had to wage war to defend his kingdom. The queen left him in care of an evil fairy, who tried to seduce him when he was adult. When he refused, she changed him into the beast. Beauty's story reveals that she is not really a merchant's daughter but the offspring of a king and a fairy; the same fairy who tried to seduce the prince also tried to murder Beauty to marry her father, and Beauty was put in the place of the dead merchant's daughter to protect her. She also gave the castle elaborate magic, which obscured the more vital pieces of it. Villeneuve greatly pared down the cast of characters and simplified the tale to an almost archetypal simplicity.

The history of the beast as it applies to Grimm Ideas...

Thus it was that the tale of Beauty and the Beast of was ripped from its bindings and its pages hastily jammed into the leather binding of a magic book. Along the shores of the southwest the Beast's castle sits, dark and mysterious and forever surrounded by clouds. Here within its walls is the Beasts layer. The once happy Prince is again cursed and again he has been changed into the monster he hates so much. Alone again he has fallen into despair, and uncontrolled he is driven by a blood thirsty lust of hate and revenge.

The Beast

Those who look upon the Beast are confronted with a what they percieve to be a monsterous creature, one that reflects there greatest fears for not only do they see the monster that is the beast, but the beast that lies within themselves. No one is ever immune to this curse that is upon him for within all of us is a monster. The Beast possesses great strength and skill that is seemingly unrivaled. His strength is strong enough to crush stone in his immense taloned hands. A massive thing, he stands at an imposing 8-10 feet in height.

The Castle

The enchanted castle that the Beast dwells within is a dangerous place. Long and dark twisted corridors are found through out leading to seemingly countless rooms. Those who enter the castle are forced to face the Beasts curse, the worst part of them pulled slowly outward until it consumes the person, turning them into a monster. Very few are capable of withstanding this curse, only those who are truly good and pure can over come it.

The castle has a specific hold on the Beast. Inside it's walls he is sane, a master of his thoughts, although his body is trapped as the monster. Outside the castles outer walls his sanity and mind will slowly degrade into madness and more primal, animalistic instincts until he is nothing more than a monster. It is only through great effort... or the distract of a damsel... can the beast keep his mind focused enough to stay intelligent and in control.