10 March 2018
Madame Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve published what is coined as the original Beauty and the Beast tale.
Villeneuve’s tale was written in 1740, and while it was lengthy, it was the first published version of Beauty and the Beast.
In Villeneuve's tale, it begins with a widower merchant who lives in a mansion with his six children, three sons and three daughters. All his daughters are gorgeous, however the youngest, Beauty, is the loveliest, along with being kind, well-read, and pure of heart, which leads her sisters to treat her more like a servant than a sister. The merchant loses his fortune, and decides to go on a journey. The merchant, upon having a series of misfortunes, winds up at the Beast’s castle after becoming lost. He picks a rose to bring back to Beauty, however the Beast is enraged after he does so, because it was disrespectful after Beast had accommodated him. Beast declares that the merchant may give Beauty the rose, however it would cost him his freedom, or one of his daughters. Beauty courageously takes her fathers place. Beauty, after spending much time as Beast’s mistress, goes back home to see her family. While she’s there, the Beast becomes heartbroken and nearly dies, however Beauty shows back up and confesses her love for him, ultimately turning him into the Price she had dreamed about and eventually marrying him.
In Villeneuve’s rendition of Beauty and The Beast, the Princess should be read as the hero.
The first function of Propp’s that is assimilated in the story is interdiction. As Propp defines interdiction (the second function), “An interdiction is addressed to the hero”. In Villeneuve’s rendition, it is clear that there is interdiction when Beauty’s father, the merchant, takes a rose from Beast’s castle to give to Beauty. This occurs after the Beast accepts the merchant to stay at his castle after he becomes lost on his way back home. “I have saved your life by receiving you into my castle, and, in return, you steal my roses, which I value beyond anything in the universe, but you shall die for it” (Villeneuve, Beauty and the Beast). Beast subsequently rules that he may give the rose to Beauty, however he rules either he, or one of his daughter’s, would have to return. This ruling identifies interdiction, as the Beast makes the rule that someone would have to return as compensation.
The next of Propp’s functions that are introduced first is villany. Villany(the eighth function), defined by Propp, states “The villain causes harm or injury to a member of a family”. While there is no direct harm or injury to any of the characters, the idea that the Beast is forcing either the merchant or one of his daughters to become hostage is an act of wicked behavior. The Beast states, “I will forgive you, on condition that one of them come willingly, and suffer for you. Let me have no words, but go about your business, and swear that if your daughter refuse to die in your...