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Beast and Beauty

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Love knows no genetics.

"As the years passed, he fell into despair and lost all hope. For who could ever learn to love a beast?"

The male is usually a monster physically, capable of great rage and destruction. The female is kind, smart, and emotional. She brings out the best in him. She sees the good in him and the world; he smashes anything that threatens her into itty-bitty pieces. This often leads to Love Redeems.

The "beast" is usually a male character, due to ruggedness and by proxy beastliness traditionally being considered masculine traits, but there may be exceptions.

The ideal is often so high that sexual relations are not mentioned (not by the creators, at least). If they happen or are mentioned, the results could be doom, risky, kinky or mysterious in how it works. By means of Functional Magic, Applied Phlebotinum, or a good old-fashioned True Love's Kiss, the issue could be avoided entirely by one of them permanently turning into the other's species. The relation may not even be romantic; all that matters is the contrast between the two characters.

A common variant is making the Beast intelligent and cynical in contrast to a Gentle Giant image. Storytellers may also occasionally invert the typical personality dynamic by having the "Beast" be polite and personable and the "Beauty" be violent and belligerent; it can emphasize how the Beast seeks to be seen as more normal and compensates accordingly, whereas the Beauty isn't held to the same standard and thus can act however she wants. A common way around the Beast's appearance is Blind and the Beast, though that one doesn't always involve romance.

See also Ugly Guy, Hot Wife (along with its rarer counterpart Hot Guy, Ugly Wife) and Sexy Dimorphism for cases of a beastly partner and a pretty partner, where the difference comes from real-life beauty standards and doesn't symbolize anything about the characters' personalities. See also Freakiness Shame. Can be paired with Dragons Prefer Princesses if the dragon and/or the princess loves the other. If the "beast" part is downplayed, it may be a case of Interspecies Romance (though keep in mind that not every "Beast" under this trope is necessarily a different species from the "Beauty", just more monstrous-looking). If they are only friends or work together with no romantic subtext, or that subtext being in the background, that's Monster and the Maiden. For the metaphorical variety, see Death and the Maiden. Also see Mars Needs Women.


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    Trope Namer 

  • Beauty and the Beast, naturally. In all of its incarnations.
    • A TV series entitled Beauty and the Beast ran on CBS from 1987-1990, starring Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman as Catherine (the Beauty, a Crusading Lawyer from contemporary Manhattan) and Vincent (the Beast, a hulking lion man from an underground world of magic and mystery). Despite its brief run and disappointing third season, it spawned a vast and enthusiastic fan following.
    • Fables: The pair are still happily together after a thousand years of marriage, although not without their problems to overcome. Beast usually looks human in the series, but shifts between his human and bestial forms depending on his wife's moods towards him. Also slightly subverted as Beast is an all-around nice guy who doesn't really get that angry, while Beauty is occasionally seen as ambitious and overly critical.
    • There is a Merry Melodies short called ''Beauty and the Beast'' that completely subverts the fairy tale. The protagonist, an unnamed, chubby little girl who dreams she is in Slumberland, where everybody welcome her but warn about the “terrible beast”. She makes friends with a toy soldier and together they read a book supposedly of the fairy tale; however, the book portrays the Beast as an unrepentantly vicious monster whom jumps out of the book and grabs the little girl, supposedly to eat her. Fortunately, she wakes up.
    • GrimGrimoire completely subverts this as, yes, a man is cursed into a beast unless he gets together with a woman. Except that he's somewhat of a nerd, refuses to fall in love with anyone, and doesn't care what he looks like. Meanwhile, the beauty won't stop badgering him to fall in love with her so he can turn into a handsome man again.
    • The French movie released in 2014 has many differences from the original fairy tale. To start, Beauty’s sisters are good, while her brothers are the villains. And the Beast has a past. He was Happily Married to a beautiful woman whom asked him to not hunt a golden dear that wandered around the castle. He didn’t listen, of course... and discovered that the deer was his beloved wife, who was a fairy. Her father, the God of the Forest, punished him along with his hunting dogs.
    • Panna a netvor: An interesting, darker version of the fairy tale. Netvor (Beast) is a sort of bird-like monster that attacks humans and animals to drink their blood.
    • There is quite a hilarious Italian porno based on Beauty and the Beast... the stipulation of course being that she has to love him in ALL ways. When the beast finally gets ready to get biz-zay... well, let's just say Robot Monster would have been more titillating. And then the camera just has to focus more on the guy in the cut-up shag carpet than the woman while an epic romantic aria plays softly in the background. It was either the worst porn movie ever or the greatest Dadaist deconstruction of one.
    • The Muppet Show:
      • Subverted in an episode where the monstrous Doglion retells the story with Lesley Ann Warren in a speechless dance. At the end, when true love blossoms despite their differences, Warren turns into a monster and they go away happily.
      • Subverted again in another episode where the guest star Ruth Buzzi, dressed as a princess-ish wife to slovenly, shaggy, ogre-like Sweetums, tries to get amorous, singing "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" while serving Sweetums, who, in turn, cruelly rebuffs her. This escalates into Ruth proclaiming her love to Sweetums by whomping the (metaphorical) stuffing out of him in a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
        Sweetums: ''Now that's my kind of woman!
    • In Maurice Ravel's Mother Goose ballet music, Beauty is represented by a delicate clarinet melody which alternates with the chromatic contrabassoon groans of her beastly partner.

  • A maiden with a unicorn was a very common theme in medieval art, as symbol of purity and innocence (only a damsel could placate the beast). The most famous example is a series of six French tapestries, where a young lady is portrayed with a unicorn and a lion (occasionally, a monkey and a maidservant show up, too). Their true meaning is obscure, mostly interpreted as love or self-knowledge, as one of them has the motto My Will Alone (À Mon Seul Désir)
  • In Renaissance artwork, the motif Death and the Maiden, a dance of death between a woman of age with the personification of death (usually portrayed as a withered corpse or skeleton), can be considered a variant of the trope. Some consider this to be a romantic image, while others simply see it as a metaphor for the contrast between life and death.
  • A common Allegorical Character in Classical and post-Classical art is Fortitude from The Cardinal Virtues. Her appearance differs more than the other three virtues, but one of the most common interpretations is her as an armored woman accompanied by a lion. This design would later be incorporated as "Strength" from the Major Arcana in Tarot.

    Comic Books 
  • Beauty And The Beast (2014): a French retelling of the fairy tale, written by Maxe L’Hermenier, which seems loosely based upon Pirates of the Caribbean. Belle wears pants and spends her time reading whenever she hasn’t to put up with her sexist Childhood Friend or her abusive sisters. Beast is the titanic captain of a flying ship full of pirate zombies that search for dark souls (including the aforementioned sisters, the reason of Belle offering herself as a hostage). Their relationship is purely platonic, since he is Happily Married, or was, before an evil sorcerer became obsessed with his wife, but Belle is more than happy to help the Star-Crossed Lovers.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • The Avengers:
      • Avengers: The Initiative: has an inversion: Komodo and Hardball. Komodo is female and reptilian, while Hardball is an attractive blond guy with energy powers.
      • Young Avengers has a same-sex version with Wiccan, a Squishy Wizard, and Hulkling, well, a Hulk-esque shapeshifter.
    • Cloak and Dagger consist of a beautiful, buxom blonde and a shadowed, hidden black man. Cloak tends to be the darker of the two (no surprise) and is more prone to violence and angst. Dagger is the front woman, and in a minor subversion, they actually feed off of each other — Cloak depends on her to keep him alive, by feeding him light-energy to resist the drain of his powers, and Dagger needs a safe outlet to release the energy that builds up inside her or it'll kill her.
    • The Enchantress: Amora takes great pride in her own beauty and appreciates handsome men just fine. But being an immortal ages-old goddess, she is able to see beyond mere physical attractiveness. She kept Skurge, an imposing brutish warrior, at her side for centuries and cherished him. She also once took Keep, a huge and only vaguely humanlike thing of green wood and tendrils with a truly monstrous face, to her bed. She remarked that it was a suitably epic experience.
    • Fantastic Four: Benjamin J Grimm, a.k.a. The Thing, and the blind girl Alicia Masters. Lampshaded in the second movie, where Johnny asks Ben about the details. Ben is not amused.
    • X-Men has an interesting example, where Beast is in a relationship with Abigail Brand, an attractive woman with green hair. Personality-wise, Beast is kind and gentle and Brand... isn't.
    • The Ballad of Beta Ray Bill: Beta Ray Bill is an alien of the Korbinite race technologically transformed into a bio-machine resembling the "most ferocious carnivore in the Burning Galaxy" , although its head looks like a horse's. On her turn, Sif is a hot warrior goddess and Thor's romantic interest. Unusually, it's Bill's gentle heart that helps Sif to become more compassionate during their adventures on space. It has never been clear if they were "just friends" or something else.
  • DC Comics:
    • Angel and the Ape, a fairly obscure detective series from the late 1960s, avoided Exactly What It Says on the Tin only by virtue of the fact that Angel is her name, not a literal description. The ape, on the other hand...note 
    • In Suicide Squad, June Moone is a beautiful woman working as a graphic designer. She's romantically linked with her teammate Killer Croc, who's a giant cannibalistic lizard-man.
    • Swamp Thing: Alec is an elemental plant-man with regenerative powers. Abby is a beautiful, white-haired woman with such a Dark and Troubled Past that it's a wonder she hasn't lost her sanity. They eventually marry and have a child... with John Constantine's "help".
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Ferdinand (a Kythotaur) has always been a good guy, but despite his strength and size, he was always content to remain in the background and act as a chef until he fell in love with the lovely Dr. Leslie Anderson, at which point he became more proactive and even embarked on a heroic quest with Diana after mistakenly believing Anderson was repulsed by his appearance.
  • Sin City: Marv and Goldie are a tragic example. He has a single beautiful night with a Hooker with a Heart of Gold. Then she is murdered horribly, and Marv framed for the murder. Cue the Roaring Rampage of Revenge...
  • G.I. Joe: Snake Eyes and Scarlett. She's a beautiful, cheerful (her file-card mentions it's difficult to believe someone as deadly as her could have such a good sense of humour) redhead. He's a mute, orphaned killing machine suffering constant pain from a face so horribly scarred it's been known to shock people who see it into a sort of traumatic paralysis. Scarlett isn't just the love of his life, she's the main reason he bothers to go on living in the first place.
  • Astro City has Rex and Natalie of the First Family. He's a giant orange dinosaur monster with rocky scales and the prince of Monstro City; she's an energy being who internalizes her powers to become a Sizeshifter giantess.
  • Fables: Snow White and "Bigby" Wolf. She's a fairy-tale princess, he's, well, the Big Bad Wolf himself. Of course, it helps that she's actually an iron-willed political leader ("You dumb bastards! I'm Snow White! I run Fabletown, and I'm never outgunned!") and that he can take on human form (making him essentially a Wolfwere who can also turn into a Werewolf).
  • Rowlf: The first fantasy comic created by Richard Corben depicts the story of a wolfdog with a lustful passion for his curvaceous owner, princess Marayara, a.k.a. Yara. She is kidnapped by "demons" (probably a mutant race, since the story happens in an apocalyptic world); Rolph seeks help from Yara's suitor, Raymon, but the genius hates the dog so much that he thinks that Rowlf killed her. He asks a mage to transform Rowlf into a human, so they'll torture him into telling where Yara's corpse is. The magic turns Rowlf in a tall, muscled dogman, still unable to talk but much more intelligent than Raymon and the magician. He decides to save Yara by himself. A curiosity: Hayao Miyazaki wanted once to animate Rowlf, but the project was abandoned.

    Comic Strips 
  • Deconstructed in Mutts: Doozie decides to recreate the film with Moochie, believing that the cat will become a prince if they'll dance together and fall in love. They dance briefly, dressed (in her imagination) as Belle and Beast, but she is disappointed to see that Moochie is still a cat. He tells Earl that he loves happy endings.

    Fairy Tales 
  • This is a recurring theme in European fairytales and legends, which share strong thematic links with one another.
    • In "The Singing, Springing Lark" a man is asked by his daughter to bring her a singing, springing lark from his travels, but he's only able to find one at the very end of the journey. However, the lark belongs to a lion who demands that, in exchange for the lark the man stole, he must give him the first creature to come to him when he returns home — which ends up being, of course, that same daughter. The two end up marrying and remain together for some time, with the lion becoming human at night, until the lion is turned into a dove when candlelight falls on him and flies away. His wife has to track him down by asking after him to the sun, the moon and the winds, who give her gifts as they send her on her way, and eventually learns that he is once more a lion and fighting a dragon who used to be a princess. The protagonist is able to turn them back, but the princess flees with the former lion and intends to marry him; the lion's wife is able to buy the right to spend a night with him by giving the princess each of the gifts she was given — one gift, one night — but the princess gives her prospective husband sleeping draughts to ensure he does not wake. He does not drink the second night, however, and they're able to escape.
    • In "East of the Sun, West of the Moon", a bear marries a young woman in exchange for making her poor father rich and reveals to his wife that he's a cursed man who must take bear form by day and can only shed it in the dark. It shares several themes with "The Singing, Springing Lark" and the Greek tale of Eros and Psyche, including the betrayal of trust revealed when her candle's wax falls on him, the wife's search for her husband, and the winds' gifts to her being used to buy the right to be with him for a night.
    • In The Black Bull Of Norroway, three sisters consult a witch to seek fortune. The witch tells them to look at the back door. The first girls find rich coaches that take them away, but the youngest finds just a bull. The bull takes her to the castles of his three brothers and each of them gives the girl a gift to open when she'll need help. After this, the bull takes her to a valley of glass and tells her that he's going to fight the Devil. If the sky gets red, it 'll mean the bull has lost; if the sky gets blue, he won, but the girl must not move an inch or he'll not be able to find her. The sky becomes blue, but the girl naturally moves and gets stuck in the valley. She meets a blacksmith, who says that if she'll work for him for ten years, he'll repay her by making her a pair of shoes to climb out of the valley. The rest of the story happens just like "The Singing, Springing Lark" and "East Of The Sun West Of The Moon", with the girl using her gifts to stop her now human fiancé (a knight) from marrying another woman - the witch's daughter, this time.
  • In "The Frog Prince", the beauty breaks the frog curse on the prince by killing him (resurrected as a human, he then reveals that his curse could be broken only by a female killing him). This tale predates the classic "Beauty and the Beast" tales by centuries. Much later versions of the Frog Prince make the cure a kiss instead of a killing, but in most of the original tales, death or beatings at the hands of a woman were the only ways to turn the beast into a man.
  • "Prince Lindworm": A queen's attempt at a fertility cure goes wrong and, while she has twins, the first one is born as a lindworm and thrown into a nearby forest. Years later, he confronts his human twin when the latter is searching for a bride and demands that, as the elder, he should marry first. All of the maidens presented to him are afraid and repulsed, so he eats them, but a shepherd's kind, beautiful daughter manages to trick him into shedding his skins until he turns into a human and marry him.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Boxballet: the short shows what happens when a rude, big, ugly boxer falls in love with a frail ballerina. Realistically, their worlds are too different... but living in them is very hard, sometimes unbearable, so both boxer and ballerina find support on each other.
  • Brother Bear 2: Subverted with Nita and Kenai. Kenai is a bear (a literal beast), and Nita is his childhood friend. In the end, she transforms into a bear (courtesy of the spirits) so they can be together.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Quasimodo and Esmeralda. She ends up with Phoebus in the end, but it is indicated that she and Quasimodo remain good friends. An absolute subversion of the original story, in which Esmeralda is just as revolted by Quasimodo's looks as everybody else. The sequel plays it straight all the way with a girl named Madellaine hooking up with Quasimodo.
  • Megamind: Roxanne is a spirited, brave reporter who’s not interested into the handsome, beloved-by-everyone superhero Metroman. Megamind is a bald, big-headed, blue-skinned alien who became a villain to earn attention and respect, but is not truly evil. She slowly brings the best out of him, unaware that the man she is dating is Megamind in disguise; when Roxanne finds out the truth, she rejects him not because of his appearance, but because of his crimes, especially Metroman’s murder. She forgives him later, after learning that Metroman is actually alive, but mainly because she realizes that Megamind's efforts to atone are sincere.
  • A Monster in Paris - a non-romantic example. Francoeur is a flea accidentally transformed into a Gentle Giant with an angelic voice because of a chemical explosion caused by Raoul, the supposed-to-be protagonist. Lucille, a beautiful singer, is the first person to realize that Francoeur is not a monster, but they're more Like Brother and Sister. Besides, Lucille already has a crush on Raoul.
  • My Sweet Monster: Barbara is a lovely princess that dreams of freedom and love, while Boogey is the furry, horned, down-to-earth protector of the woods. In spite of her good heart, Barbara initially bosses around everyone that is not her dad, until Boogey teaches her humility. The movie is subtitled as "The Cutie and the Beast".
  • The Princess and the Frog has a grand time playing with this. Charlotte adores the fairy tale and wishes that she could find a frog prince, while Tiana finds the entire thing disgusting. Later, when Tiana meets the transformed Prince Naveen, she is visibly creeped out and none too impressed with him. She doesn't fall in love with him (or he with her) until both have transformed into frogs.
  • Shrek:
    • Shrek and Princess Fiona, with a few interesting twists: Fiona is the one with the curse that turns her into an ogre after dark. When Shrek gives her True Love's Kiss, instead of Shrek turning into a prince, Fiona turns into an ogre. She takes this rather well considering her already ogre-like behavior. It comes back again in the first sequel when Shrek takes a potion that makes him a handsome human and restores Fiona's form... and when given the chance to make this permanent, she passes it up because they were both happier as ogres.
    • The "original" Beauty and the Beast from the fairy tale exist in this same universe too, according to a tie-in guide to the world of the films published by Dorling-Kindersley. It seems that these two had a twist to their relationship too, given that the book comments that they usually share a "glittering palace" in Far Far Away, but the Beast still has a spacious kennel to indulge his animal instincts in as well, implying that he never changed into a prince and Beauty's just fine with that.
    • They also have the Frog Prince variant with Fiona's parents, although her dad turns back into a frog and his wife is just fine with it.
  • In Strange Magic, Marianne, a fairy princess, falls in love with the Bog King, a haggard goblin. Slightly subverted as the movie shows that his standard of beauty leans towards his race — according to his culture, Marianne is the one who would be seen as beastly. They fall in love regardless.
  • The Swan Princess: Princess Odette is cursed to become a swan by day and in moonless nights by the evil sorcerer Rothbart, because she refuses to marry him and make him king. Of course, prince Derek's love can break the curse, but here's the subversion: they were childhood 'friends' (at least that's what their parents wanted), so Derek knew how Odette looked before she was cursed. Double-subverted because he is so shallow that he can't find a reason to love her besides her beauty; also, he almost kills Odette when she is in her swan form. So, although Odette is still pretty as a swan, Derek has to learn to see beyond appearances.
  • WALL•E: Inverted in both ways. WALL•E is an ugly and outmoded robot, but also the kind and sensitive one, whereas EVE is an extremely attractive and state-of-the-art robot but is the insensitive and hot-tempered one, and WALL•E is the one that calms her down and teaches her to be more caring.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Beauty and the Beast (1962) is the first English language adaptation of the fairy tale, although it has a completely different plot. Lady Althea pays a visit to Duke Edward Marc, her fiancé and heir of the throne, but finds out he transforms every night into a werewolf, because of a curse tossed by an alchemist that his late father killed many years ago. She decides to help him break the curse, but a rival of Edward discovers his secret and stirs the townspeople against him. It’s not hard to guess what happens next.
  • The Bride and the Beast is a '50s B-Movie about a woman who was a gorilla in a past life. The gorilla her new husband keeps caged in the basement (for unclear reasons) seems to recognize this and is oddly drawn to her. Later, when she and her husband go hunting in Africa, she is repeatedly pursued by gorillas, and the movie ends with her being willingly carried into a cave by one of them.
  • The Dark Knight Rises has a villainous example: Bane and Talia Al-Ghul. He's a hulking brute with a permanent gas mask, while she's a high-society seductress.
  • Deadpool (2016): Post-disfiguration Wade as the Beast and Vanessa as the Beauty. He's a scarred-up unkillable mutant Heroic Comedic Sociopath who is disturbingly good at stabbing people, she's a beautiful Hooker with a Heart of Gold. Fitting the cheerfully cynical tone of the movie, however, the Beauty is not idealized - Vanessa is beautiful and reasonably good-hearted but she's also a very snarky Good Bad Girl.
  • In Freaks, Hans is a dwarf who performs in a traveling circus despite being heir to a small fortune. He develops a crush on a beautiful trapeze artist named Cleopatra, but he's too blinded by this trope, his excitement over getting with a "big person", and his own his own self-hatred that he can't see that she's only interested in his money, barely hides her disgust for him and the other "freaks", and is planning to murder him so she can inherit.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas! has the Grinch and Martha May Whovier. The Grinch is, well, The Grinch, except even more manic depressive than in the original book and TV special, and alienated from his peers for his odd looks and behavior. Martha is a Ms. Fanservice who always had a crush on the Grinch since childhood, but couldn't admit it until the end of the movie where they finally get together. A more platonic example that takes up significantly more of the movie's run time is the Grinch and Cindy Lou Who, the latter who's an innocent 8 year old girl struggling to find the meaning of Christmas and thinks she can find it by helping him. No matter how much the Grinch tries to scare her and convince her he's a Card-Carrying Villain, she never gives up on seeing the good in him, and he eventually becomes a welcome citizen of Whoville after his Heel–Face Turn.
  • King Kong:
    • King Kong (1933): Kong and Fay Wray. In this case, it's deconstructed: the Beauty most emphatically doesn't love or redeem the Beast. He dies because of her rejection.
      Police Lieutenant: Well, Denham, the airplanes got him.
      Carl Denham: Oh no, it wasn't the airplanes. It was beauty killed the beast.
    • This is emphasized in the 1976 remake, which plays the whole thing with a peculiar sense of eroticism, and has Denham specifically referring to Kong as having "tried to rape" the heroine.
    • In Peter Jackson's King Kong (2005), the two actually communicate through actions several times. Word of God is that the affectionate interactions between Anne and Kong were based on the story of Koko the gorilla and her pet kittens.
    • Downplayed in Kong: Skull Island as the human heroine, Mason Weaver, does share a connection with Kong, who even rescues her at one point, but it is not the focus of the story, nor is it remotely sexual or romantic in nature. Furthermore, we don't get any sense that he is forever changed by meeting her, the way the original Kong was changed by Anne.
    • In Godzilla vs. Kong, the Skull Island version of Kong eventually forms a much stronger, life-altering bond with a human being, a native Skull Islander girl named Jia, who - like him - is last of her kind. Jia being a child, their relationship is emphatically non-sexual, and she seems to see him almost as an older brother.
  • Ladyhawke: Etienne of Navarre and Isabeau d'Anjou are Star-Crossed Lovers cursed by a corrupt Bishop rejected by her. She becomes a hawk by day and he turns into wolf at night, so they only can see see each other (as humans) briefly, when the sun rises. Even non-sentient in his wolf form, Navarre is protective of Isabeau, and she calms him down, keeping him from attacking Phillip, the young thief who helps them.
  • Lili : Played with. Paul the puppeteer is an attractive man but he doesn't see himself as such because of his bad leg. His bitterness and self-hatred take him to be very harsh to Lili, so it really takes a loooong time for her to see the best in him (actually, their interactions remind a lot Belle and Beast, before Beast's change of heart). To not leave doubts, Paul tells Lili he is like his puppet Golo, the oger: ugly and yearning for love.
  • In The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2004), a B-Movie spoof, the Damsel in Distress faints at the sight of the alien mutant who carries her off in a Mars Needs Women fashion, only for her to be returned unharmed.
    "It looked at me, with those eyes, those ugly eyes, and they looked deep into me, deeper than any human ever has, with a kind of understanding that frightened me to my very soul."
  • Maleficent: Though both are female and the relationship is akin to mother and daughter, Maleficent and Aurora fit this. The first is a winged, horned fairy who loses faith in love and curses the latter, who, through her sunny personality, inadvertently teaches Maleficent how to love again.
  • In Mask (no, not The Mask), the main character Rocky has a disorder that causes his skull to be very enlarged and twisted, looking like a mask. He falls in love with blind girl Diana Adams, who he met at a summer camp for disabled teenagers. He teaches her how to "see" colours by using various objects to represent them. She still stays with him even after she feels his face and sees how deformed he is.
  • Meridian Kiss Of The Beast: A 90s darker, erotic version with Romanticized Abuse. Catherine, a "modern" girl moves to the Italian castle she inherited from her family. Along with her best friend, she is drugged and then raped by the twins working in a nearby circus. Both are cursed to transform in beastmen and Catherine falls for the "good" twin.
  • The Mummy Returns has a villainous example with Meela Nais and Imhotep. She's the reincarnation of Anck-su-namun, who was Imhotep's lover when he was mortal, and he's a mummy. Note that Imhotep becomes fully human much sooner than most examples of this trope.
  • Penelope (2006) with Christina Ricci as a blue-blood woman with an inoperably deformed nose Gender Flips the story.
  • The Polar Bear King: King Valemon, a king who has been placed under a curse by a sorceress he refused to marry, was turned into a polar bear and told he must marry within seven years to be human again. He becomes human temporarily at night, but only if his face is not seen. If it IS seen, he'll be trapped in the curse forever.
  • Queen of Outer Space: Turns out this is not a Gender-Inverted Trope. Queen Yllana hates men because her face was hideously disfigured by radiation in a war. However, she secretly just wants to be loved and implies that she might give up her gendercidal ways if the hero becomes her Hot Consort. Instead, he recoils in horror. In fairness, Yllana is too bitter and angry to show a different side to her personality that Laird would be attracted to.
  • The Scorpion King: Non-romantic example with Enkidu and Amina in The Book of Souls. He is a clay golem created to protect her and gets very pissed off if someone so much lifts a finger on her, while she is the only one capable of calming him down.
  • The Shape of Water, about the romance between a Fishman and a human woman, puts a few twists on this trope. For one, the "Beauty" is a fair bit older than most of these other examples, though still very beautiful, and for another, the sexual aspect is not glossed over. They definitely have sex. Furthermore, the ending implies she may not have been wholly human herself, when the Amphibian Man's kiss gives her gills so they can live together under water, inverting the "Magic Kiss makes the Beast human again" part of the trope.
  • Slither: Subverted. Grant and Starla are married, Grant is forced to share a body with the head alien and ends up with Body Horror in the extreme. She ultimately rejects him.
  • X2: X-Men United has a Ship Tease between the beautiful Storm and the Demon-esque mutant Nightcrawler who is blue, scaly with More Teeth than the Osmond Family. In a slight subversion, he is the kind and gentle pacifist when he's not Brainwashed and Crazy that is, whilst she is more likely to kick some serious ass if she feels her fellow mutants are in the slightest danger.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Being Human (UK): Played with in the case of Nina and George. While George is a werewolf, he's a normal person most of the time. Nina still loves him after learning what he is though, and later episodes reveal that even as a werewolf, George is capable of recognizing Nina as his "mate" and refraining from attacking her.
  • Buffyverse:
    • In the third season episode of Buffy, "Beauty and the Beasts", a fledgling Mad Scientist takes a potion which results in him transforming into a monster. His girlfriend is the only one who can calm him down. In a subversion, he's a murderer and the relationship is abusive.
    • On the other hand, Buffy's relationships with Angel and Spike both played this fairly straight. Although Buffy also abused Spike, which might make it better or worse depending on just how jaded you are.
    • Willow and Oz count in a way, as he was a werewolf. The above-mentioned episode also focused heavily on Buffy/Angel and Willow/Oz to focus on different possibilities and aspects of this trope.
    • After Buffy and Angel break up, this also applies to Angel and Cordelia.
  • Doctor Who: An "intelligent and cynical beast" example: When lovely young Clara Oswald first meets the humanoid alien Doctor in Series 7, he's in his youthful, boyish, amiable eleventh life and they quickly bond. Then he regenerates into a much older-looking man whose gaunt, grim appearance (particularly his Big Ol' Eyebrows and death glares), pricklier, more pragmatic personality, and lack of social skills are off-putting to everyone he meets, including Clara for a significant chunk of Series 8. Even as she travels with him, she is also romancing a handsome fellow schoolteacher close to her own age. Gradually she comes to understand and accept Twelve and remains his Morality Chain. His biggest Berserk Button is the prospect of her being harmed or killed, whereupon he's willing to go to desperate lengths (verging on Unstoppable Rage) to save her or have vengeance. After her boyfriend dies (and the Doctor tries, unsuccessfully, to save him), their relationship becomes more affectionate and his personality and appearance soften. Sadly, the final stretch of Series 9 has her Killed Off For Real, in part because their personalities have become too similar and she has developed his Chronic Hero Syndrome. When this is followed by horrific torture being inflicted on him, his full potential for beastly behavior is revealed as he temporarily becomes a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds in hopes of bringing her back. When all is said and done they are separated forever.
  • Forever Knight Nick and Natalie, vampire and human.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Brutish burn victim Sandor Clegane seems to equally hate and love Sansa for being a pretty little idealist.
    • Jaime and Brienne, the handsome knight with a bad reputation and the ugly woman with a stubborn code of honour.
  • House: Hugh Laurie compared Gregory to both the Beast and The Phantom of the Opera. Any of his Love Interests might contend for the role of the Beauty/Christine analogue, but Cameron is the most straightforward choice — female, idealistic, bringing out the best in him (relatively speaking), and able to see the good in House even when no one else can.
  • Lucifer (2016): Lucifer Morningstar is the Devil himself. He's hedonistic, cynical and doesn't miss the chance to display his sculpted body, but this is a façade to hide his longtime (read millennial) family issues. Deep down, he is a decent guy (differently from his comic counterpart) who despises the worst of humanity. Chloe Decker is the no-nonsense, incorruptible detective that reluctantly accepts his help to solve the Mystery of the Week. She helps him to change for better, but that doesn't keep him from showing his horrifying devilish form to whoever he thinks deserves it.
  • Deconstructed in the Millennium episode "Somehow Satan Got Behind Me". A demon starts a relationship with a stripper, who accepts him even though he eventually reveals his true form to her. Just when the demon looks like he's going to make a love confession, he instead dumps her in a humiliating fashion so she's Driven to Suicide and he can claim her soul. He then expresses his contempt for the Puny Earthlings who need to form such connections out of physical and emotional need.
  • Once Upon a Time: Mostly deconstructed and subverted.
    • In the first season, Rumplestiltskin is the beast, and while he softens a bit, love does not redeem him; the Evil Queen Regina is more then happy to point out all the A Match Made in Stockholm implications of the setup as an Evil Plan to ruin him; and Belle almost de-powers him trying to cure him. He sends her away and the Queen gloatingly tells him that her superstitious village locked her up and tortured her until the poor girl threw herself off a tower, leaving our "beast" bereft with only a single chipped teacup as a Tragic Keepsake. Of course, her Majesty was lying about the suicide part, but Belle's real-world counterpart is locked in a Bedlam House.
    • In season two, Belle, her Identity Amnesia removed, reveals that she was actually abducted by Regina before the curse, kept alive as a trump card in case Regina ever decided that she needed to do something against Rumple since he still has his powers. So the whole situation ends up being awful for both parties involved, even if they do love each other.
    • Played straight in season three when Rumple tells Belle that her love gives him the strength he needs to kill Peter Pan.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation uses the "appearances" of this trope, but without the "redemption by love" aspect, in the Canon Pairing, Troi/Worf.
  • Tales from the Crypt: Deconstructed in the most twisted way possible in "Dead Right". Kathy is a beautiful Gold Digger (played by Demi Moore) who marries Charlie, an obese, sloppy, gluttonous man because a Fortune Teller told her he would inherit a large amount of money and die violently. As months pass, she can't stand to be in the same room as him, but Charlie doesn't die, to her total frustration. Then she suddenly wins millions in a lottery and dumps him, but he kills her in a rage. The prophecy is fulfilled, for Charlie inherits Kathy’s money and dies violently in the electric chair for her murder.
  • V (1983): Wherein all the aliens look human but are really reptiles.
    • The alien Willie (played by a pre-Freddy Robert Englund) is a kindly, nerdy bumbler who strikes up a relationship with a human woman named Harmony. When she learns the truth, the horrified look on her face as his fake hand is ripped open was one of the most poignant scenes in the mini. Later, they hook up again as she admits that she didn't fall for his looks in the first place. Unfortunately, she is tragically killed in the end.
    • This mini also subverts the trope on a routine basis, but the nastiest example is with the character of Robin Maxwell. Long story short, she falls for one of the aliens but it turns out she was only being manipulated into sleeping with him to conceive a hybrid child, and their night together technically counts as rape. After she gives birth to two children, one mostly human and the other mostly reptilian, she murders the father with a bio-weapon engineered from the blood of the less human child.


    Myths & Religion 
  • Greek Mythology:
    • Hephaestus, son of Zeus and Hera, was so ugly he got thrown off Mt. Olympus as a baby and was crippled upon landing (or was defenestrated because he was born crippled). When the goddess of love, Aphrodite, needed a husband, all the unwed gods (including Hephaestus) were lined up for her to make her choice. Zeus chose Hephaestus for her — and she was completely and utterly unfaithful to him.
      • In one version of that story, she chose him.
      • In another version, Hephaestus built a chair that trapped Hera in it, and he refused to free her unless he could marry Aphrodite.
      • In yet ANOTHER version, Hera set Hephaestus up with Aphrodite to make up for throwing him from Olympus. And, being the goddess of marriage, she told him what to tell her so that she'd agree to marry him when she wouldn't marry any of the other gods: "I work late." So really, he had to know what he was getting into...
    • Hades and Persephone could also fit this trope — though Hades is not always depicted as physically monstrous, he is the God of the Dead, which tends to give everyone else an aversion to him. And true, Persephone was kidnapped against her will, but still ends up Queen of the underworld. They're also one of the very few Happily Married pairs in the entire pantheon. And by the usual standards of the Greek Gods, Hades was actually quite fair. A common Fanon theory (which may or may not be true, given Ancient Greece's Values Dissonance) is that they loved each other before Hades abducted her, and the kidnapping was orchestrated because Demeter, Persephone's mother, wouldn't let them be together.
    • The story of Psyche and Eros fits most of the same elements of the tale, but acts as a whopping subversion: Psyche was considered to be as pretty as/prettier than Aphrodite. But she found it difficult to find a husband for plot reasons. An oracle deemed that she was to be left on the side of a mountain as a bride to a "monster that neither gods nor men can resist." Psyche was taken to a beautiful palace, attended to by invisible servants, and her husband would come by night, but not stay until morning. In the darkness, she could not see his face. Her sisters convinced her that her husband was a terrible beast that meant to devour her and their unborn child, and to hide an oil lamp and a knife for the next time he comes to visit. Turned out, her unseen husband was anything but a beast — Aphrodite's own son Eros had decided to marry her.
    • Another subversion can be found in the story of the giant cyclops Polyphemus and his unrequited love for the beautiful nereid Galatea. While Galatea accepts Polyphemus as a friend, she ultimately falls for Acis who is the son of Pan. Polyphemus doesn’t take it well. Played straight in the versions of the story where she does accept his love.
  • Arthurian Legend: Gender inverted where the handsome Sir Gawain must marry Dame Ragnell, who is cursed into the form of the Loathly Lady, in order to gain the answer to the question "What do women want the most?" Interestingly, a kiss is able to break half the spell: she can be beautiful only by day or by night and Ragnell tells Gawain he can choose which it will be. The spell is only fully broken when Gawain gives her the choice instead, thus standing by the answer to the riddle which is that what women want the most is their own will.
  • The European fairy Melusine was cursed by her mother into turning half-serpent on the Saturdays, until she married a man who would respect her privacy. She eventually married the nobleman Raymondin, promising him she would make him wealthy and famous as long as he left her alone on the Saturdays. Both fulfilled their promises until Raymondin's family talked him into spying on her on her bath in the forbidden day. She leaves him, returning only to visit her children or to fulfill her obligations related to the curse - to warn death or predict fortune.
  • Another gender inversion can be seen with the Chinese myth Legend of the White Snake, where a powerful snake spirit named Bai Suzhen falls in love with a man named Xu Xian when she assumes the form of a human. However, the romance trope is subverted when Xu Xian dies of shock when he sees Bai Suzhen's true form, but later played straight when he maintains his love for her after coming back to life.

  • In The Gamer's Alliance, Omaroch is a demon warrior and Delora ia a human cleric. Despite their opposite alignments, they bond and learn valuable lessons from one another, and eventually get married.

  • Cyrano de Bergerac has the ugly Warrior Poet Cyrano fall in love with his beautiful childhood friend (and cousin) Roxane but never tell her until his deathbed, instead setting her up with the handsome-but-tonguetied Christian. When Roxane tells the dying Cyrano that she loves him, he jokes that he won't be magically made handsome and brought back to life like the Beast in "Beauty and the Beast".
    Roxane: Live, for I love you!
    Cyrano: No, In fairy tales
    When to the ill-starred Prince the lady says
    'I love you!' all his ugliness fades fast—
    But I remain the same, up to the last!
  • Wicked has a gender-flipped version of this with Elphaba and Fiyero. At one point in the show, Elphaba says to Fiyero: "I wish I could be beautiful for you".

    Video Games 
  • Bronze: A darker retelling of the classic fairy tale. Beast is morally ambiguous and Beauty must decide if she'll save or kill him.
  • Chibi-Robo!: Mort is a shy, melancholy mummy action figure who literally kills every plant he touches, and who dearly wishes he could properly express his feelings for the princess doll Pitts. Unfortunately, Pitts is terrified of anything even remotely monstrous. However, she's so touched by the kindness Mort shows her that she begs Chibi to help her overcome her fears. In the end, they get Happily Married, and live happily in Mort's shoebox under the bed with their children.
  • Final Fantasy VI: The furry, horned, and cloven-hooved satyr/Giant Maduin and the human woman Madeline. They even had a half-Esper half-human daughter, Terra. There is a minor subversion though, as it turns out Humans Are the Real Monsters who drive them apart, leading to the deaths of the lovers and the capture of the infant Terra.
  • Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade: Gonzalez becomes a bandit after being rejected by his fellow villagers due to his monster-like appearance, only to join the heroes once Lilina talks to him, as she's the first person to speak to him kindly. Both are even able to upgrade their Relationship Values.
  • Jak and Daxter: A variation: Daxter meets a girl who falls in love with him, despite him being a two-foot-tall ottsel (he was originally a humanoid just like her). Inverted in that she does most of the protecting, indirectly by giving the powerful weapons she makes to his Heterosexual Life Partner Jak and threatening hell on anyone who harms him. In the third game, Daxter finally gets the chance to become normal again, but he decides against it. But it works out, when the girl in question gets turned into an Ottsel herself shortly afterward.
  • League of Legends:
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots: In the ending, Raiden makes this comparison between himself and Rose. Rose fiercely denies this, saying that he is not a beast — he is their son's father as well as the man she loves.
  • Odin Sphere: Cornelius (Sheltered Aristocrat cursed into Pooka, a rabbit-like creature) and Velvet (Stripperiffic princess). Just like the Shrek example, Velvet also turns into a Pooka. However, if the bonus ending is achieved, both turn human again.
  • Persona 4 Golden: The tag-team combo Kanji and Naoto have is named Beauty and the Beast. Appropriate in that Kanji is over six feet tall, bulging with muscle, has a delinquent look going on, is feared by his peers as a bit of a brute, and is a grappler/brawler character with some of the most brutal physical skills in the game. Naoto on the other hand is absolutely tiny and exudes an androgynous charm that makes her very popular with the ladies and quite a number of guys (including, naturally, Kanji). Turns out that Kanji's actually a really nice guy, whereas Naoto starts as something of an apathetic jerk before the Character Development kicks in.
  • Planescape: Torment plays with this trope: The Nameless One looks the beast part, being horribly scarred due to every kind of possible damage inflicted on his body, while his two romantic options Fall-From-Grace and Annah are also incredibly attractive. The catch is that they have fiendish heritage themselves, but other than Annah having a long tail and Grace having demonic wings, they are otherwise indistinguishable from humans.
  • Warcraft:
    • Although it's unofficial, the orc warlord Thrall and the human mage Jaina are implied to be an example of the trope. Though that's more on the fact that Thrall is considered a Noble Demon among his kind...
    • There's also the more canonical example of Thrall and Tabetha Foxton.
    • Also played with Tyrande Whisperwind and Malfurion Stormrage. He's starting to grow antlers, but she's the more zealous one.
  • Xenosaga: Ziggurat 8 (Ziggy) and MOMO, a killer cyborg and an adorable Robot Girl. Their relationship is parental in nature, however.

  • Megan Kearney's Beauty and the Beast is a retelling of the fairy tale with references to the Disney movie and deep Character Development of both protagonists. Differently most versions of the fairy tale and movies, however, Beast's past is very detailed.
  • The Bride Of The Fox : Nubia is a pretty, selfless princess from the Thandiwe kingdom that has serious self-esteem issues. Taiga is a Little Bit Beastly Kitsune she saves from drowning. He is also the king of the Makai Kingdom, a mystic world, and sees himself as unable to love because of his Dark and Troubled Past. Guess what?
  • The Flower And The Nose: An interesting gender-flipped version. Lani is cursed with a humungous nose by a flower that blooms once every thirty years. She builds a very successful perfume industry thanks to her keen sense of smell, but the bitterness caused by her appearance makes her drive people away. Until she meets a handsome, mysterious man who is surprisingly interested on her.
  • Kevin & Kell reversed this in every way imaginable — not only are the genders reversed, the "beast" is the Human since the comic takes place in a world of Funny Animals. It all, of course, culminates in a perfect replay of the ballroom scene from Disney's Beauty and the Beast... with the only difference being who is the Beauty and who is the Beast.
  • Count Mickey Dragul: Count Mickey Dragula and Mina Murray are this, although, uncharacteristically, it's Mina who ends up turned into a vampire.
  • Drowtales: The original version had this set up with Ariel and Rik, with Rik eventually growing selfish and possessive and betraying everyone so he can have Ariel for himself. The remakes retconned this, turning Rik into a Stalker with a Crush who tried to rape Ariel twice and had a bridge dropped on him the second time, taking all potential future plot he was meant to be implied in with him.
  • Erma: The title character, a half-human Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl, and Connor, her human classmate, have a gender-inverted Puppy Love variant.
  • Slightly Damned: The "beast" (a demon) is told an in-universe variant of the trope-naming story. He doesn't like it, since even if he is loved by his "beauty" (an angel), he'll never stop being a demon. This becomes less and less of an impediment as the story progresses.
  • Homestuck has a platonic version between Equius and Nepeta. Equius is a Fantastic Racist With a Heart of Gold who builds robots so he can beat them to bits with his bare hands. Nepeta spends most of her time roleplaying and being a Shipper on Deck for all their friends. Equius specifically mentions that he's scared of what he might be without Nepeta tacklepouncing him and making him talk about his feelings.
  • MK's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde: Hyde (a troll) and Lucy (a human) are definitely this, but Lucy wants nothing to do with Hyde romantically unless he overcomes his commitment issues and is willing to take the relationship seriously rather than treat it as another escapade.
  • The Non-Adventures of Wonderella: Wonderella gets kidnapped to be the "beauty" part of a parody on the Disney classic. She opts instead to reassure the Beast that there's a fetish for everything, and hunts down the enchantress who cast the spell, as the enchantress also cursed the completely innocent castle servants.
  • Spina Cage is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast in modern times with an attractive young man named Adrian in Beauty's place.
  • In El Goonish Shive, this is gender-flipped, well... usually, with Grace and Tedd. Grace's default form is furry, has a large tail, and two furry antennae sticking out of her head. She's a shapeshifter so other than the antennae (which can be disguised as hair, and, later, morphed away entirely) she can pass as human. However, Tedd loves her regardless of her form and this is even more so the case with her.
  • Cursed Princess Club has a gender-inverted example with Gwendolyn and Frederick. Princess Gwendolyn of the Pastel Kingdom looks more like a witch or a goblin than a princess, while Prince Frederick of the Plaid Kingdom is a handsome blond boy. Their respective fathers set up an Arranged Marriage between them — as well as between Gwen's (more conventionally pretty Princess Classic) sisters and Frederick's brothers — but Frederick is initially very resistant to a union with such an ugly and frightening girl (the fact that several misunderstood conversations with Gwen makes him think she's trying to hex him doesn't help). The "Beast" part of the dynamic is downplayed, as Gwendolyn's personality isn't remotely beastlike — if anything, she does more to help Frederick overcome his insecurities than he helps with her's, making her a better fit for the "Belle" archetype despite how she looks.
  • Demon King is about the relationship between Toru Akujin, a disfigured quarter-demon with a history of problems with humans, and Aya Chihiko, a normal human high schooler. They start off just being friends but as the story goes on, it becomes clear they have deeper feelings for one another.

    Web Original 
  • Mystery Skulls Animated: Lewis is a muscular, vindictive ghost whose head is a floating skull, who wants to take revenge on his former best friend Arthur for killing him; also, he is still in love with his former girlfriend Vivi, a cheerful, naive girl who took Lewis' place as the leader of their paranormal investigator group. The point is, neither she or Arthur (who was possessed when he committed the crime) remember Lewis' death and don't even guess that the ghost that terrified them is their dear friend.
  • The animated music video from DAT's "Showtime" depicts a depressed devil that falls in love with an eccentric woman. He eventually decides to become human, or at least less demonic, since his horns and wings just get small, but he can't remain in this form much long and painfully turns back into a full devil. With the woman's consent, he erases her memories of him as he cries, before they have a last dance and he leaves her for good.

    Real Life 

  • The story of Petrus Gonsalvus (1517-1618) probably served as inspiration to Gabrielle de Villeneuve conceiving Beauty and the Beast. He was a Guanche, an indigenous tribe of the Canary Islands, with a rare medical condition called "hypertrichosis", which covers one's face and body entirely with hair. Because of this, he was captured at a young age and given to Henri II of France as a "wild man". Henry II, however, soon noticed that Petrus was actually calm and docile in spite of his captivity, and decided to have him transformed in a true gentleman. Petrus learned to speak and write French as well as social manners; after Henri II's death, his wife Catherine de Medici decided to marry him out of curiosity, to check if his children would be hairy, too. The chosen one was one of the the prettiest ladies of her court, who was also called Catherine and had no idea to whom she was marrying until the bridal night. Legends say that she fainted when she saw Petrus for the first time; however, as it was said before, he was a good, patient man. They had seven children; four of them were born with hypertrichosis and thus sent as gifts to European courts, so the story of Petrus and Catherine is far from being happy. The registers hint that they truly loved their children, and there is an image were she is represented touching Petrus' shoulder as a sign of affection, which was very unusual in couple portraits.

  • Percilla Lauther (1911-2001) and Emmit Bejano (1915-1995) lived a true love story in spite of their adversities. She had hypertrichosis and two rows of teeth and he had a calloused skin that earned him the nickname of "Alligator Man"; but she was also a graceful woman with an enchanting singing voice, while he was gentle and kind. They saw past their physical differences and lived together for many years, until Emmit's death.

Tale as old as time...
Song as old as rhyme...


Video Example(s):


Rumpelstiltskin and Belle

The love that they share was so real, their first kiss nearly broke Rumpelstiltskin's curse.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / BeastAndBeauty

Media sources: