With the release of Disney’s new live action version of Beauty and the Beast, there is lots of discussion about the story and how some struggle with it. I believe there is a misunderstanding with those who think Beauty and the Beast is about Stockholm Syndrome. That characterization misses the point. The story is about the redemptive power of love.
I’ve been thinking about my Pride and Prejudice and Beauty and the Beast mashup for over a year. It has been a concern my Darcy would be too dark for readers, but the fact is, there is no nice way for Darcy to force Elizabeth to live at Pemberley. He doesn’t lock her in a dungeon, but he has to be . . . well . . . a Beast.
And just like the furry hero in Beauty and the Beast, my Darcy has been punished by life. In one of the original versions of the French fairy tale, the Beast was punished because he refused the sexual advances of a wicked fairy. And even in the Disney animated version, the Beast’s punishment for being rude to an enchantress seems excessive. My Darcy was forced by his father to marry an heiress when he was twenty-one and he is now a bitter, scarred and disabled widower.
Once the Beauty, Elizabeth Bennet, is living at the Beast’s castle, Pemberley, the romance begins. At first, they are more like enemies, but gradually they become friends. I recently watched a video in which Emma Watson talked about Stockholm Syndrome and how that is not what is happening in Beauty and the Beast because Belle keeps her independence of mind and at one point of the story, Belle makes the decision to stay. She found the love story more meaningful because it starts with friendship rather than love at first sight.
In Darcy the Beast, Darcy is in love but doesn’t know how to show it, and Elizabeth has to see him as he is and ultimately forgive him.
None of us are perfect. We all have our Beast moments, and love can change us.
Read along and find out how Darcy the Beast is changed by Elizabeth’s love.
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