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Novels, plays or films developing "the Monster and the Maiden" folkloric patternCan you...

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mmms1981 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted February 22, 2012 at 10:30 AM via web

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Novels, plays or films developing "the Monster and the Maiden" folkloric pattern

Can you think of novels, plays or films developing "the monster and the maiden" folkloric pattern, which we can already appreciate in the Classical myths of Cupid and Psyche (Apuleius' Asinus Aureus), and the abduction of Europa (Ovid's Metamorphoses)?

I have already listed and commented the following: "La belle et la bête" (Mme. Le Prince de Beaumont), Notre Dame de Paris (Victor Hugo) (because of the Hunchback and his love for Esmeralda), Cyrano de Bergerac (Edmond Rostand), and The Phantom of the Opera (Gaston Leroux). I have also considered all their respective adaptations on screen, and films such as Nosferatu, King Kong, and Edward Scissorhands. I have recently added the Twilight saga to the list.

Could you think of some more relevant examples in Western culture?

7 Answers | Add Yours

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 22, 2012 at 10:44 AM (Answer #2)

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The first one I thought of was Beauty and the Beast. That fits the bill completely. There are other stories where a beautiful woman falls in love with an unattractive man, or one who is beneath her. Here is another link to a similar story, a Basque story. http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/beautybeast/stories/basque.html
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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 22, 2012 at 10:59 AM (Answer #3)

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Well, in Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein, the monster (played by Peter Boyle) trades body parts with Dr. Frankenstein and gets the girl at the end, though Madeline Kahn is hardly a maiden.

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 22, 2012 at 11:10 AM (Answer #4)

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The story of "Beauty and the Beast" (La belle et la bête") comes to mind. I also thought maybe "Bluebeard" would fit the bill: he's a monster, but I don't know that he's ever loved his wife. And though it's not a classic, how can we not mention Shrek. Ironically, he falls for the maiden, but she is an ogre as well. If we include the Twilight saga, can we include the Dark Shadows series where Barnabas Collins, the vampire, loved Josette Collins? (He's a monster; she's the "maiden," engaged to Barnabas till she finds he's a vampire, and then she kills herself.) It was a television show, but there were also books: I still have one.

Great question!

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 22, 2012 at 1:51 PM (Answer #5)

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This is an increasingly popular theme, especially in young-adult works. You should check:

  • The novella "Labyrinth," by Lois McMaster Bujold (a rare gender swap)
  • Wishes, by Jude Deveraux (another gender swap, though not monstrous)
  • The recent film Beastly
  • The Frog Prince (also Disney's Princess and the Frog)
  • The Cupid and Psyche legend
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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 22, 2012 at 2:30 PM (Answer #6)

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I wonder if the Dracula legend would be helpful to you.  In films, at least, he often seems to be attracted to beautiful young women, who in turn often seem to be attracted to him. He is not the conventional "beast," but he is certainly a monster in various ways.

Here's a link that may be helpful: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beauty_and_the_Beast


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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 22, 2012 at 4:22 PM (Answer #7)

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One of the most excellent collections of modern-day Gothic fairy tales that exploit this relationship is The Bloody Chamber, by Angela Carter. In particular you might want to check out "The Tiger's Bride" and "The Courtship of Mr. Lyon." These are two updated editions of the archetype that you refer to in your question.

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e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 23, 2012 at 2:04 AM (Answer #8)

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The 90s film The Professional fits the criteria. Taxi Driver fits or nearly fits as a "monster and the maiden" story.

Thinking about it a bit more I think quite a few Scorcese films follow this pattern. Raging Bull and Cape Fear are another two.

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