Throughout all types of mythology, spoken, written, performed, or otherwise, by all types of people, similarities between myths always occur. These similarities are evident in the love stories Eros & Psyche, a Greco-Roman myth, and Beauty and the Beast, a motion picture by Disney Pictures Inc. in their themes and the actions and emotions of their characters.
First of all, the theme of fidelity/faith is in both stories. In the story of Cupid & Psyche, Cupid charges Psyche with the challenge to never look upon his face.
He gives her no reason for this order, so Psyche must perform an act of blind faith. But, out of curiosity, she breaks their pact and looks upon his face at night. This is similar to Belle’s curiosity over the “West Wing” of the castle, in Beauty & The Beast. The Beast tells Belle to never, under any circumstances, venture to the West Wing.
Like Cupid, he gives his lover no reason for this, except that “it’s forbidden!” Belle, too, had to perform an act of blind faith, but broke her lover’s rule by going up to the West Wing to view its forbidden contents.
Secondly, the human characteristic of fearing the unknown is presented by the characters in both stories. In the story of Beauty & the Beast, the common people of Belle’s town react to the Beast with fear, drawing wild assumptions about his personality based on his appearance.
The same situation is presented in the story of Cupid & Psyche. Psyche’s sisters, upon hearing that she has been forbidden to look on the face of her husband, automatically fear him. They assume that the reason she is not allowed to see him is that he is a hideous monster, too ashamed to be seen in daylight.
Also, in both stories, the protagonist-lovers suffer the pains of forbidden love, and eventually overcome the hardships others put them through. In the story of Cupid & Psyche, Psyche is not allowed to marry Cupid because he is an immortal god. Aphrodite, Cupid’s mother and antagonist to Psyche, enforces this rule, forcing her to suffer many labors. She completes these labors and joins her lover as an immortal. Similarly, in Beauty & the Beast, the local villagers in Belle’s native town disapprove of her love for the Beast, and seek to make it very hard for them to marry each other. But, Beast and Belle smite the figureheads of the angry mob and join each other in holy matrimony.
In both Beauty & The Beast and Cupid & Psyche, one of the lovers was afraid that the other would be frightened of their appearance. In the story of Cupid & Psyche, Cupid fears that if his bride sees him, she will be frightened and overwhelmed by his splendor, as he is the God of Sweet, Erotic Love. This same fear is shown in Beauty & The Beast, when the Beast grows fearful and puts on a front of spitefulness when he is intimidated by Belle’s grace. He feels deficient.
Also, in both stories, the characters undergo a physical and mental change as the story progresses. In Beauty & the Beast, the Beast is transformed from a pompous, arrogant prince into a hideous, self-loathing beast, then to a handsome, benevolent man. In Cupid & Psyche, Psyche transformed from a mortal into an immortal by eating the bread of the gods. In both cases, the characters became much the wiser after their ordeals.
Therefore, parallels can be drawn between all types of mythology, from the written word to the theatre; spoken tales to the silver screen. The love tales of Eros & Psyche and Beauty & the Beast are prime examples of these mythological parallels.