What is the setting in Beauty and the Beast?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Beauty and The Beast is a classic fairy tale, known most widely to a modern audience because of movies and animation. Readers can relax when they read fairy stories because they usually know the outcome, as do most of the avid, young listeners.

The setting in a piece of literature does a lot in helping to create the atmosphere in a story and is a basic component of any such work, where it is discussed together with the theme, plot and characters. The obvious element of the setting is the place or geographic location where the story takes place. It can then be broken down more specifically. Beauty and the Beast is set in France but it does not stop there; there is the town and then there is the countryside. It also depends on which version a person is reading as there is more than one. Furthermore, most people only think of the Beast's home when they think of Beauty and The Beast, forgetting that the story has more elements to it.  

Setting sometimes has a cultural element to it which goes hand in hand with the historical aspect of the setting and the year or era in which the activities take place. ; for example, understanding life in the eighteenth century helps to set the scene for the story and the clothing and traditions of Belle's era. 

beateach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As with many fairy tales, there are different versions of the story with very similar plot lines, characters, and settings. In fact, there are versions of Beauty and the Beast that date back to the mid-1700's which are set in France. In the most familiar, contemporary version of Beauty and the Beast, we meet Belle in a small provincial French town. She lives a poor existence with her father in a small cottage but we also see her in the town square.

In addition, much of the contemporary story is set in a dark, dreary castle, which is perched high above the town, deep in a forest. The castle is foreboding in that it always seems to be set in a storm especially when the story is reaching its climax.

Inside the castle is a different and soothing setting for much of the story. The characters do their best to make it a cheerful and romantic place as they go about their work of partnering Belle with the Beast.

Therefore, there is not one setting, but a number of them, with the main setting being the castle where much of the story's action occurs.

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Beauty and the Beast does not have one setting. The question should be what settings are in the Beauty and the Beast. However, if you want to talk about the main settings, then there are two. First, there is the provincial town in which Belle lives. This is where her friends, family and the ghastly Gaston dwell. Then there is the castle where the beast dwells. I would say that this is the main setting. There are various rooms that are described, such as the dinner room where the dishes and utensils perform their song and dance.

msteacher203 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The most basic answer to this question is the countryside, or "in a far off country". Various texts exist, but none state a more specific location. This is common among fairytale settings. The ambiguity of a fairytale adds to the mystique.

Although the exact setting remains anonymous, judging by the names of the characters it is likely to be set in a small provencial french town.