In his book The Meanings of Beauty and the Beast: A Handbook, Jerry Griswold analyzes not only the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, but other Animal Bridegroom tales for comparison. One of the more commonly known ones is The Frog Prince, more specifically the version found in the brothers Grimm.
In comparing this story to Beauty and the Beast, Griswold points out that BATB (in his mind) is a story of transferring Beauty's affections from her father to the Beast, and Frog Prince could be seen in the same light. Again we have a daughter with a father but no mother figure in the story, and it is the father who reminds his daughter to keep her promise. When the princess resists allowing the frog to stay in her bed, it is his threatening to tell her father that prompts her to throw him against the wall. Thus, Griswold suggests, the act of violence could be seen as an act of independance. I had never considered this interpretation but it's a very interesting one. But once again I am uncomfortable with the notion of transferring one kind of love to gain another-since when can one love grow dependant on another love dying? Like I've said before, your relationship with your parents should change as you grow older, but not diminish. So it's not just the idea of growing independant from your parents that bothers me but also Griswold's wording-referrring to the princess, "having broken with her father, she is ready for a partner, and the frog changes into a prince" (emphasis mine). She disobeyed her father, she didn't break all ties with him.
Griswold also includes this interpretation, but it bothers me that this is only a footnote, because I personally like it a lot better: given that the title refers to the Frog and not the princess, maybe it's more about his maturation than hers. "From this perspective, the Grimm tale is an account of a bad date. He acts like an animal with her. He is too forward and pushy...Finally, when she forcibly throws him across the room, he is given the 'no' that means 'no' and learns that his animal and aggressive manner is not the way to be with a woman. So, he changes into a gentleman."
Once again Griswold mentions the idea that the Animal Bridegroom tales represent the Otherness in a heterosexual relationship, but in an exaggerated way.
text on the Surlalune site, and this is simply untrue. The child is cursed: "the son whom she shall conceive shall be born in the skin of a pig, with a pig's
ways and manners." The baby prince would "put his little snout and his little paws in his mother's lap, and she, moved by
natural affection, would caress him by stroking his bristly back with her hand,
and embracing and kissing him as if he had been of human form. Then he would wag
his tail and give other signs to show that he was conscious of his mother's
Visions and Revisions of an Old Tale, Betsey Hearne quotes from an Ernest Dowson translation which is significantly different than Jack Zipes', and most academic sources on the internet, and many books as well, quote from Hearne. I've brought up this issue before but I'll mention it again now that my readership has grown: does anyone know anything about the Dowson translation? Or the actual French version? Or why else there is such a disparity between versions of the Villeneuve version, mainly how sexual the Beast's advances were to Beauty?
Frog Prince illustrations by Walter Crane