Study Guide

Beauty and the Beast Love

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NARRATOR: The prince tried to apologize, but it was too late, for she had seen that there was no love in his heart, and as punishment, she transformed him into a hideous beast.

Lesson number one: without a loving heart, you're just an animal. Apologies to our dogs, who adore us.

GASTON: Right from the moment when I met her / Saw her / I said, "She's gorgeous," and I fell.

Notice how the line doesn't say "fell in love." Gaston never uses the word "love," probably because he doesn't really understand what it means.

BEAST: That hurts! 

BELLE: If you'd hold still, it wouldn't hurt as much! 

BEAST: Well, if you hadn't have run away, this wouldn't have happened. 

BELLE: If you hadn't frightened me, I wouldn't have run away! 

BEAST: Well, you shouldn't have been in the west wing! 

BELLE: Well, you should learn to control your temper. Now, hold still. This might sting a little. By the way, thank you...for saving my life. 

BEAST: You're welcome.

Big things start with small gestures, and this little symbol of newfound respect is actually the first sign that Belle and the Beast could be anything more than enemies.

BEAST: I want to do something for her...but what? 

COGSWORTH: Well, there's the usual things: flowers...chocolates...promises you don't intend to keep...

And that's why romance is an adventure. You're taking a risk on someone else, who might not return your affections…or worse, jerk you around for a while before dropping you like a hot rock. Cogsworth's comments are intended both as a dig at those silly romantic gestures and a warning to the Beast not to go down the same path.

BEAST: She glanced this way, I thought I saw

And when we touched, she didn't shudder at my paw.

No, it can't be; I'll just ignore

But then, she's never looked at me that way before...

The story always emphasizes that the growing romance between the two of them is a little bit scary. We don't normally think of falling in love as an adventure in the Campbellian sense of the term, but in fact, it's probably the biggest kind of adventure there is.

MRS. POTTS: Barely even friends
Then, somebody bends
Just a little change
Small to say the least
Both a little scared
Neither one prepared
Beauty and the Beast

The song lyrics again suggest that love is a little scary and that falling in love is an adventure in and of itself. Belle wants adventure, but she never looks at it in those terms, until she finds herself falling for the big guy. A scary prospect, to say the least.

BEAST: Belle…are you happy here with me?

REALLY important line here—it's the Beast putting Belle's feelings ahead of his own for the first time ever. That actually means more than letting her go. It's the simple realization that he wants what she wants, and he won't be happy unless she is.

GASTON: It's over, Beast! Belle is mine!

Yes, because she's sure to fall for you now that you've murdered her boyfriend and dragged her father off to the asylum. Seriously, Gaston, have you thought this through?

GASTON: Were you in love with her, Beast? Did you honestly think she'd want you when she had someone like me?

Um, yes. Yes, he did. That's the point, you narcissistic twit!

BEAST: You…you came back. 

BELLE: Of course, I came back…I couldn't let them…oh, this is all my fault!

Belle is horrified about what has happened, even though it's not really her fault. She's taking responsibility for the situation, which is another way of showing how much he matters to her.

BELLE: I love you…

Just in case anyone missed it: the purpose of the exercise in three little words. Can love really save your life? The film suggests it sure can.

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