In the classic, well-known fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast, most of us would remember a beautiful princess falling in love with a terrifying beast, only to realize the beast was actually a prince… then they live happily ever after?
- It’s simple.
- It’s touching.
- It’s well, a tad bland.
Beauty and the Beast actually contains elements similar to a psychological phenomenon called Stockholm syndrome; this syndrome was originally named Norrmalmstorg Syndrome from a 1973 bank robbery and hostage situation in Stockholm, Sweden, but was later more popularly known as Stockholm syndrome. Hostages during the incident became attached to their captors and even rejected help from the authorities. Even after the incident, the victims defended their captors’ decisions.
Beauty and the Beast, although written around 200 years before that time, also rings a similar story-line of hostage and captor with the Beast who threatens Beauty’s father into giving up his daughter. We can see both in the Disney rendition and the original story (depending on if you’re a book fan, movie fan, or both!) that Belle begins being afraid of the talking, hulking beast. Yet as time goes on, Beauty becomes less apprehensive and starts to feel empathy towards the Beast, just not enough to marry him.
Beauty is even given the chance to escape when the Beast willingly allows her to see her family. Now, in normal circumstances most of us would be hightailing it out of there without a care in the world if we had the chance, but both the story and Stockholm syndrome prove otherwise. Beauty feels guilty about breaking her promise to return and goes back to the Beast. Exactly how victims of hostage situations occasionally defend their captors. Little shreds of empathy pave the ugliness of their situations so hostages can survive and withstand their disparate conditions.
Then, to top the cherry off this dark, psychologically supported fairy tale, the Beast is rescued by the Beauty’s words of love and he transforms into a handsome prince. They marry and live happily ever after.
Hmm… That was fast?
Think about it: If you were kidnapped, what are your chances of loving your captor? Is that really your happily ever after? Beauty and the Beast seems to think so.
YouTube Channel: Disney Movie Trailers
Featured image via Deviant Art