Once Upon a Monster

Mathilde Stener Jørgensen, Line Chalmer Rasmussen, Camilla Skjøtt Foged, Tone Rosenberg Stauning & Ida Grue Johansen

Studenteropgave: Basisprojekt


This project seeks to investigate the function of monsters in the periods of the published versions of our chosen fairytale; Beauty and the Beast, based on philosopher Michel Foucault’s (1926-1984) theory about the abnormal. From a historical and cultural point of view the monsters were used by the society to control discourses of acceptable behaviour and appearance of its individuals. The traditions of excluding and/or punishing individuals, not serving the norms of the biopolitical interests, has caused devastating effects in the discourses regarding certain ethnicities, gender identities or religious beliefs. The tradition of scapegoating derived from the institutional power of controlling discourses.
This paper investigates the development of the function of monsters from the period of enlightenment to the present way of handling the monsters in the society. The subject field is an analysis of the fairytale Beauty and the Beast from 1756 by Jeanne Marie Le Prince de Beaumont and the animated movie by Walt Disney Animation Studios from 1991. The analysis is based on a hermeneutic, structural and post-structural approach by using the actant model by Algirdas Julien Greimas. Furthermore the project discusses the portrayal of the monster according to release dates of the two versions. The project also discusses the power of portraying the monstrous from the creators point of view, as this contributes to the discourses in society. At last the project will discuss how the view of evil is connected to the concept of monsters.
The project concludes that the tradition of scapegoating is society’s way of protecting its own interest. Society has a responsibility in the production of discourses regarding the norm and what is viewed as abnormal. For Foucault the monster is the image of traits that defies the norms of society, and therefore becomes the visible threat to society. The comparison to evil has risen from this discourse. The investigation of monsters can be used to understand the consequences of excluding individuals in society and to accept the presence of monsters as a way of letting go of the uncontrollable.

UddannelserBasis - Humanistisk Bacheloruddannelse, (Bachelor uddannelse) Basis
Udgivelsesdato27 maj 2019
Antal sider73
VejledereMonna Dithmer