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Beastly Bridegrooms

Page history last edited by Abigail Heiniger 7 years, 8 months ago

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Beastly Bridegrooms


  • Visual Media Project Due 10 February 2014





Group 6 Hearne


Visualizing the Beast


The Beast is (arguably) one of the most interesting supporting characters in the fairy tale tradition. Unlike the two-dimensional Prince Charming, the Beast is a complex character seeking a human connection. Beginning with the ancient "Eros and Psyche," the Beast is characterized by a growing awareness of a need for an interpersonal relationship (with Beauty) that exceeds the physical. The Greeks do not even have a word to express this revolutionary interpersonal heterosexual union, so they do it with a narrative: "Eros and Psyche" (literally "Sexual Desire and Soul"). 


"Cupid and Psyche":

  • Author: Lucius Apulcius
  • Date: Second Century A.D.
  • Genre: Myth 
  • Place (of Publication): Roman Empire   


"Cupid and Psyche" is the most well known story in Lucius Apulcius' novel The Golden Ass (A.D. 150-180). It is the only complete novel from the Classical era that survives today. 

  •      Within the frame story of The Golden Ass, this story is told by a female story teller. Is that significant in this story about rivalry between a lover and a mother?
  • Who are the main characters in this story? Who has power (and what is power)?
  • How is romantic love portrayed?
  • How are gender roles significant?
  • What is the PURPOSE of this story?  






"The Marriage of Cupid and Psyche." Andrea Schiavone (ca. 1510-1563). Ceiling Fresco (Italy)

  • What does this fresco emphasize about the Cupid and Psyche Myth?




"Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss." Antonio Canova (early 1800s). Marble. Venice.

  • What element of the "Cupid and Psyche" myth does this statue emphasize? 


"Cupid and Psyche." Jacques-Louis David. Ca 1817. France.

  • How does this oil painting reflect the myth of "Cupid and Psyche"? What does it emphasize?  
  • This oil painting was made by the famous David after the Restoration (of the monarchy) in France.
    • Post-French Revolution and Post-Napoleon Bonaparte
      • David was the "official" painter of the French Revolution (he painted the Revolutionaries and helped coreograph events), he was also an important painter of Bonaparte (in heroic, imperial poses).
      • How could this painting (and this theme) be related to the changing circumstances?


"Cupid and Psyche." Narcisse Guerin. Early 1800s, France.

  • How does this painting modify and reflect the myth of Cupid and Psyche?  


"East of the Sun and West of the Moon":

  • Author: Peter Asbjornsen and Jorgen Moe
  • Date: 1849
  • Genre: Fairy Tale
  • Place (of Publication): Norway   



  • Author: Charles Perrault
  • Date: 1697
  • Genre: Fairy Tale
  • Place (of Publication): France


Discussion Questions 

  • How do images of the "beast" Eros (Cupid) compare with beasts in other variations of "Beauty and the Beast"?
    • What does the Beast symbolize in these different illustrations? Different literary tales?
    • What attributes does the Beast posses?
    • What does the Beast seek
  • How does the Beast represent gender differentiation in heteronormative romances?  
  • How is punishment a part of the Beauty and the Beast narrative?
    • How is the Beast punished?
    • Who punishes him?
    • How is Beauty punished?
    • Who punishes her?
    • What are their respective "crimes"?  
  • How does the CLASS (socioeconomic) message of the ATU 425 tale shift in the different variations we've read?  








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