Sunday, October 3, 2010

Comparing Beauty and the Beast to Cupid and Psyche

When comparing it to Beauty and the Beast, Cupid and Pyche, written by Lucius Apuleius is most like Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s 1756 version.  Both stories have three daughters, one of who’s beauty stands out among the rest.  In both stories, the daughter is chosen to leave the comfort of home and family to live with a stranger.  An important part of the comparison is the character and attitude of the heroines Beauty and Psyche.  Both leave their previous lives willingly and with a determined attitude.  Psyche and Beauty are cherished by the townspeople for their beauty, but they are too virtuous and humble to become egotistical and vain.  Both heroines end up at a magnificent castle full of lavish niceties and devoted servants.  Both have sisters who are full of jealousy, but whom they love anyway.  The similarities between the two heroines is uncanny.  One could put Beauty in Psyche’s place and Psyche in Beauty’s place and the tales wouldn’t miss a beat.
Another similarity is the lesson both stories tell.  Beauty marries Beast because of the goodness of his character, despite his appearance.  Cupid asks Psyche not to look at him because he wants their marriage to thrive on love alone, not his godlike looks.

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