An Epideictic Dimension of Symbolic Violence in Disney's Beauty and the Beast: Inter-Generational Lessons in Romanticizing and Tolerating Intimate Partner Violence

  • Olson K
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Abstract

This criticism analyzes one epideictic dimension of Disney's Beauty and the Beast to demonstrate how the film's combination of sophisticated rhetorical strategies might cultivate a romanticized understanding of and tolerance toward intimate partner violence among inter-generational audiences. The film departs from earlier legend versions by focusing exclusively on the romantic arc and introducing various kinds of violence and new characters to exercise, interpret, and accommodate that violence. Pivotal to this particular epideictic dimension's operation are Beast's violent acts toward Belle relative to Gaston's violence toward her, adult characters minimizing, justifying, or romanticizing in the presence of a child character the repeated signs of intimate partner violence, and those adults' efforts to facilitate a romance in spite of Beast's violence and Belle's reluctance. Disney featuring child character Chip, with his questions about romance and front-row seat to the title characters' relationship (including violent episodes that resonate with the phases of Walker's Cycle Theory of Violence), underscores a coherent ideology explaining, on the approving community's behalf, the troubling intersection of violence and romance and (unintentionally, yet powerfully) endorsing that ideology's socially conservative, individualistic prescriptions for handling it. Adapted from the source document.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Epideictic Dimension
  • Inter-generational Audiences
  • Intimate Partner Violence
  • Romance
  • Symbolic Violence

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Authors

  • Kathryn M. Olson

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