Within the Beauty and the Beast inspired ten pages of Angela Carter’s short narrative “The Courtship of Mr. Lyon”, the narrator employs the contradicting nature of the Palladian house prior and succeeding the presence of Beauty to express both the mental and physical deterioration of the Beast. When Beauty first returns to the house after several months hiatus, she notices a rather “doleful groaning of the hinges” as she opens the door (Carter 50). Such a noise is reflective of the fact that they have not been physically oiled for a long duration of time, and that the Beast has ceased to maintain their smooth transition for her return due to an ever weakening state of hope. Similar to the lamenting of the hinges, it is only his desolate cry that plagues the once silent tranquility of the manor.
The extent of his despondency is further illustrated with the interior of the house that was now shrouded in “perfect darkness” (Carter 50). The dwelling no longer possessed its benevolent light, but was rather stripped of it, and only an absolute darkness remained in its absence. The supreme obscurity symbolizes the fact that no light found refuge within the confines of the house, and since light is viewed as an indicator of hope, the extinction of it reinstates the fact that the Beast had been deprived of the indemnity of her return.
Another instance in which his anguish at her abandonment is connoted is when the “house [echoes] with desertion” (Carter 50). Despite the fact that the house is rather grand and is beautifully furnished, there fails to be the reverberations of any sounds that would deem the dwelling alive. Rather, it is only the sounds of emptiness which engulfs the house. Comparatively, the mindset of the Beast is strictly focused on the belief that he had been renounced by Beauty. He can choose to contemplate other issues, but it is only the conviction that he had been forsaken that immerses his mind.
While his mentality corrodes away with the apprehensive realization that her departure may be a permanent one as opposed to one of a temporary nature, he gradually begins to physically die, as foreshadowed by the decaying constitution of his possessions. The tapers that had once been the primary source of the benignant light had “drowned in their own wax” (Carter 50). Consequently due to its slender composition, a taper was designed to not drip as the candle burned, but it persisted to melt, as if the taper too was crying over the disappearance of Beauty. In addition, the word “drowned” was utilized to describe its eventual degeneration,...