Love changes all things.

The capacity of beauty to capture the heart is thought by many to be rivalled only by death. Plato saw beauty as the driving force behind human aspiration. The mythical King of Cyprus, Pygmalion, sculpted the woman of his dreams and pleaded with Venus to give her the breath of life. The fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast,” Victor Hugo's masterpiece The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein speak of the landscape of love as a place of sacrifice, redemption and transformation.
Love changes all things.

The capacity of beauty to capture the heart is thought by many to be rivalled only by death. Plato saw beauty as the driving force behind human aspiration. The mythical King of Cyprus, Pygmalion, sculpted the woman of his dreams and pleaded with Venus to give her the breath of life. The fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast,” Victor Hugo's masterpiece The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein speak of the landscape of love as a place of sacrifice, redemption and transformation.

© 2004, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

“Only do not let yourself be deceived by appearances.”
(Fairy to Beauty, Beauty and the Beast)

In the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, the individual is cursed or bewitched, and can only be returned to his or her original form through the constancy of human love. In such stories, the individual's redemption is contingent on the partner's ability to see through ugliness to the true nature within. It is a lesson that true love can shine through the veil of untruth to illuminate the beauty within.
“Only do not let yourself be deceived by appearances.”
(Fairy to Beauty, Beauty and the Beast)

In the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, the individual is cursed or bewitched, and can only be returned to his or her original form through the constancy of human love. In such stories, the individual's redemption is contingent on the partner's ability to see through ugliness to the true nature within. It is a lesson that true love can shine through the veil of untruth to illuminate the beauty within.

© 2004, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast



From Walter Crane's Beauty and the Beast (London: George Routledge and Sons, 1870): illustration 5.



Seeing the beauty in each person we encounter prevents the vicissitudes of life from overpowering us.

Artist: Walter Crane (1845–1915) Photo: Corey Chimko
Provincial Museum of Alberta

© Provincial Museum of Alberta


“Thy clothes, thy pearls, and jewels, and thy golden crown, I do not like; but if thou wilt love me, and let me be thy companion and playfellow…I will go down and fetch up thy golden ball.”
(The Frog to the Princess, “The Frog Prince,” Grimms’ Fairy Tales)

Despite his nature and appearance, Shelley’s Frankenstein seeks companionship and love. The catalyst for his transformation into a monster is the denial of his request for a mate. He is created to be as human as possible, and indeed, he possesses the innocence, emotions, and need for love of a child. When denied love, Frankenstein’s monster is denied his humanity.
“Thy clothes, thy pearls, and jewels, and thy golden crown, I do not like; but if thou wilt love me, and let me be thy companion and playfellow…I will go down and fetch up thy golden ball.”
(The Frog to the Princess, “The Frog Prince,” Grimms’ Fairy Tales)

Despite his nature and appearance, Shelley’s Frankenstein seeks companionship and love. The catalyst for his transformation into a monster is the denial of his request for a mate. He is created to be as human as possible, and indeed, he possesses the innocence, emotions, and need for love of a child. When denied love, Frankenstein’s monster is denied his humanity.

© 2004, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Frankenstein

Frankenstein



In Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus (Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Blanchard, 1833): frontispiece.



The Frankenstein monster's rebellion in the face of constant rejection suggests that love and acceptance are necessary conditions for a happy, healthy human life.

Artist: T. Holst, Photo: Corey Chimko
Peel Special Collections Library, University of Alberta
c. 1831
Copper engraving
© Provincial Museum of Alberta


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
• Describe how romantic love has been an inspiration that has influenced literature in most cultures through the ages.
• Explain how literature has represented the ideal that love reveals and redeems the individual
• Describe how historically the notion of romance was broader than physical attraction and reached higher meanings such as courtly love in Medieval times and passionate and divine love in Biblical themes


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