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A Comparison Of "Creating The Myth" And "Beauty And The Beast"

1067 words - 4 pages

Linda Seger's hero myth from her publication "Creating the Myth" is very thorough in the steps involved in creating a hero of a story. All ten steps are very common to a typical hero story. However, there are some gaps in her theory. An example of a story that does not fit Seger's theory is the Disney version of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. This popular cultural phenomenon has within it an atypical hero, one who pokes holes in Seger's hero myth theory. This atypical hero, simply named Beast, does not fit all ten of the steps in a typical hero story.

It is obvious that Beast does not fit Seger's theory the moment he is introduced in the story. He described as a "spoiled, selfish, and unkind prince [with] no love in his heart." He lives in a great castle and has everything he could ever want, and is cursed to be a beast until he learns to love. Not only this, but within the first few minutes of the movie, Beast imprisons the damsel's father, Maurice, then the damsel, Belle, for simply entering his castle without his personal permission. This is far from what Seger describes as the introduction of the hero in a story. In the first step of her hero myth theory, she writes that that a hero "begins as a nonhero; innocent, young, simple, or humble" who is in "ordinary surroundings, in a mundane world, doing mundane things" (Seger 172). These two hero introductions are incredibly contradictory. While Seger explains that a hero is introduced as a modest, pure, and uncomplicated character, the character of Beast is actually quite complicated. He comes off as pretentious, carrying with him a complex curse, as well as a lack of compassion and guilt. His character establishment displays no likeness to the hero Seger has created in her theory.

Not only is the introduction of Beast different from what Seger describes in her hero theory, the help he receives to conquer his hardship differs from the help that Seger explains in her fourth step of the hero myth theory. Seger states that in fairy tales "an old woman, a dwarf, a witch, or a wizard helps the hero . . . The hero achieves the goal because of this help, and because the hero is receptive to what this person has to give" (173). Conversely, Beast is helped by the very damsel he imprisons. Belle is a normal woman, not a witch or a wizard; she has no special powers and is not old or dwarfish in any way. Also, Beast is extremely reluctant to accept any help from her. In the Disney version of the story, Belle tries to teach Beast how to control his temper and be more compassionate and loving. Beast is not receptive at all to this help throughout the story, but still manages to defeat the curse left on him by a self revelation. He decides after Belle's departure from his castle to learn to love and be kindhearted. Although her help may have had an impact on his transformation, it was the mere presence of her and...

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