There is a school of thought that believes that the theme of Beauty and the Beast relates to the view that some women have about men. Some reviewers believe that these female views include fear, revulsion, and a resentment of imposed obedience or submission to an external male force. Beauty, under this interpretation then, would have certain prejudices about men in general - the latter being represented in the image of a "Beast." When the vanity of the Beast is cured, and the layers of the changeling fall away - Beauty sees the true nature of the man underneath - vain yes, but kind, polite and above all - unthreatening. Her prejudices (or bigotry) fall away too as the spell works its magic - and she sees that she must not generalise - one idea being that not all men are the same and not necessarily scary!
The theme of Beauty and the Beast is that beauty is not on the outside of a person but what is inside of him. By this I mean, that the behavior of a person and his/her personality is far more important than his/her looks.
In the story the young prince had been rude to a stranger. He had been very handsome and vain. He was not a good person. His outward appearance did not lend to who he really was inside. He is changed into a beast until he can find someone to love him for himself.
Beauty is a beautiful young woman. The town hunk loves her for her beauty but does not care for her intellectual nature. He can only see what is outside and not what is inside her.
When Beauty and the Beast come together under the circumstance of Beauty having to stay with the beast in exchange for her father, she begins to see the gentle nature and goodness inside the beast. He beings to see her intellectual abilities and her need to read. They have discovered each others true inner self.