Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)




Frank Cammuso

Second Advisor

Bob Dacey


Beauty and the Beast


This thesis represents an initial exploration into the reasons behind the enduring creative vitality of the Beauty and the Beast motif among creators. It offers a forward-looking perspective on the untapped narrative potential of this motif, based on an analysis of the evolution of character archetypes and derivative works, primarily in film, over time. The thesis begins by tracing the evolution of Beauty and the Beast from its earliest fairy tales to subsequent major film adaptations. It then examines why Belle and the Beast, as characters, have continued to captivate audiences and readers across changing eras, setting them apart from the stereotypical male and female protagonists found in romantic fairy tales aimed at a female readership. Through the lens of the Karpman Drama Triangle model, the thesis delves into the intricate and sophisticated shifts in power dynamics within the triangular relationship introduced by French director Jean Cocteau. The subsequent sections draw connections between Cocteau's introduction of a queer perspective to the motif and the strong association established between the story and the audiences’ personal journeys. In the final part, the author expands the discussion to include the adaptation of the Beauty and the Beast motif in other film narratives, further analyzing how emotional connections between audiences and the fairy tale motif enrich genre storytelling. In conclusion, this thesis articulates how the archetypes of characters and relationships within the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale motif resonate with readers and audiences across different eras, social classes, races, and genders in their journeys of self-exploration and self-reconciliation. It also expresses optimism for the future development of this enduring motif.


Open Access



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