At first glimpse, Beaumont’s “Beauty and the Beast” is clearly about the importance of inner beauty rather than outer. But if you read carefully, you can see that this is not true. We can almost look at the story as if there are two perspectives controlling it, that of the narrator, and that of Beauty. If we look from Beauty’s thoughts and actions, we can see that she comes to understand the significance of inner beauty over superficial. This first comes into play when she tells Beast that “There are certainly men more monstrous than” him, “who hide false, corrupt, and ungrateful hearts behind charming manners” (Beaumont, 38). Throughout the story she comes to love Beast despite his visual shortcomings. She realizes that “He is kind,” and wonders “why [she hasn’t] wanted to marry him” (Beaumont, 40). In response to this thought, Beauty proceeds to accept his offer of marriage, and the two live happily ever after.
The narrator behind the story still at least puts up a pretext of agreeing with the claim that inner beauty is more valuable than outer beauty. An example of this is with the husband of one of Beauty’s sisters, who is famed to be “a remarkably handsome gentleman , but . . . spent all day in front of the mirror” (Beaumont, 40). Here it is clear that beauty is not everything, but this example unfortunately proves to be one of the few successes in that moral of the story. Despite, the outwardly kind opinions, the narrator still takes the time in pointing out the ugliness of the Beast. The narrator slips too when comparing Beauty to her sisters. While her superior virtue is pushed to the forefront, it comes across much more forcefully than the idea that she was “more beautiful than her sisters” (Beaumont, 32). It almost appears that Beauty’s virtues came only with her superficial beauty. The most poignant proof that the narrator is backing superficial beauty lies at the end of the story. When Beauty announces her decision to marry Beast, he immediately turns into “a young prince more beautiful than the day was bright;” Beauty’s ultimate reward for her inner beauty is the outer beauty of her future husband. All this evidence comes across as contradictory. Perhaps the author intended to promote the values of inner beauty, but the constraints of society caused her to unwittingly include outer beauty, which is much more forceful than the intended moral.