Within the Beauty and the Beast inspired ten pages of Angela Carter’s short narrative “The Courtship of Mr. Lyon”, the narrator employs the contradicting nature of the Palladian house prior and succeeding the presence of Beauty to express both the mental and physical deterioration of the Beast. When Beauty first returns to the house after several months hiatus, she notices a rather “doleful groaning of the hinges” as she opens the door (Carter 50). Such a noise is reflective of the fact that they have not been physically oiled for a long duration of time, and that the Beast has ceased to maintain their smooth transition for her return due to an ever weakening state of hope. Similar to the lamenting of the hinges, it is only his desolate cry that plagues the once silent tranquility of the manor.
The extent of his despondency is further illustrated with the interior of the house that was now shrouded in “perfect darkness” (Carter 50). The dwelling no longer possessed its benevolent light, but was rather stripped of it, and only an absolute darkness remained in its absence. The supreme obscurity symbolizes the fact that no light found refuge within the confines of the house, and since light is viewed as an indicator of hope, the extinction of it reinstates the fact that the Beast had been deprived of the indemnity of her return.
Another instance in which his anguish at her abandonment is connoted is when the “house [echoes] with desertion” (Carter 50). Despite the fact that the house is rather grand and is beautifully furnished, there fails to be the reverberations of any sounds that would deem the dwelling alive. Rather, it is only the sounds of emptiness which engulfs the house. Comparatively, the mindset of the Beast is st...
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...h, but was now strangely cold, even though it remained equally desolate. Such a shift in the atmosphere alludes to the fact that Beauty had become the house’s warmth; she had become the Beast’s warmth and his life. With her departure from the manor, she had captured the warmth, and thereby it was analogous to slowly taking his life, and as the house got colder and colder, the beast became evidently nearer and nearer to death. Coincidentally, it is the lack of warmth, the coldness, which classifies one as a corpse, which additionally suggests that the Beast is about to reach the limits of his mortality.
To conclude, by comparing the vibrant and static house which seemed to exist in a dimension of itsat the beginning of the narrative, to its forlorn condition after the departure of Beauty, the extent of the suffering in which the Beast endures is visually revealed.
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