Consequences of Being Too Pretty in Fiction

Last week I went and saw the live action version of Beauty and the Beast. Now it’s a musical so there was only so much I was ever going to be able to enjoy it, BUT I did get one very important bit of life advice out of it.

I couldn’t believe that I’d never noticed it before but the story is essentially a Beast utilising his library to give himself a bit of sex appeal. Books are pretty brilliant like that, its just an easy kind of collection to sex up – I would love to see the Beast try the same tactic using a less enticing collection like stamps, or train sets.

In fact I have a confession, studying publishing and owning a shit ton of books has all been one big ruse to appear hotter – I actually hate books and can’t read you fools muh-hahahaha!!!!!

Anyway, on that note, I want to talk about the consequences of vanity, or even just being too pretty, that have come up in classic literature.

Remedios the Beauty (One Hundred Years of Solitude, 1967)

Up until this point I’ve really wanted to write something on One Hundred Years of Solitude, but I just love that book so much that every idea I’ve had for it just doesn’t seem like it’s going to do it justice.

As One Hundred Years of Solitude belongs to the magic realism genre, a lot of odd shit happens in it and often its hard to keep track because things are constantly happening and majority of the male characters have similar or even the same names.

The narrative is all tied to the history of the Buendía family and the isolated village of Macondo. Remedios the beauty is a minor character who belongs to the second generation of Buendías.

Her beauty has such a strong power over men that it leads to accidental deaths of those who are trying to watch her. She is angelic and lucid to the extreme however; she has no self-awareness and cannot take basic care of herself. Her brief appearance ends when suddenly without warning, she literally transcends up to the sky.

Dorian Gray (A Picture of Dorian Gray, 1890)

You all know this story. It’s just such an incredible metaphor – the idea of a physically seeing the moral character of your soul.

This was Oscar Wilde’s only novel, and it centres around pretty boy Dorian Gray. What happens is that when Dorian is an innocent, un-corrupted youth, he sits for portrait  painted by an artist, Basil Hallward, who is obsessed with his beauty.

After months of work Dorian finally sees the completed portrait – and its the first time it dawns on him that he’s really actually attractive. In that moment Dorian is bitter that he will have to grow old, and wishes that the portrait could take his place (the book’s very much like a late-Victorian era style Freaky Friday). 

Dorian then later begins to notice that the portrait changes and becomes uglier the crueller he acts. He is blessed with eternal beauty but this horrible painting sits hidden in the attic revealing his true nature.

Narcissus (Metamorphoses, 8 ADish)

In the story of Echo and Narcissus, the beautiful youth Narcissus sees his own reflection as he’s getting water by a stream, and not realising that its just a reflection he falls madly in love with it – we’ve all been there right guys?

The Oval Portrait (Tales of Mystery & Imagination, 1842)

This is one of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories. What happen is, for weeks an artist is so enthralled with his painting and obsessed with capturing the “rare beauty” of his wife, who is sitting for him, that he doesn’t notice that she has died during the portraits creation.

Shitty Things Greek Gods Did

Momus was the Greek God of ridicule and sarcasm. He sounds like the god for me, I’d definitely build him a shrine.

So this week I’ve written a quick list of my personal favourite times Greek Gods made a bit of a dick move, or had ego’s that were far too sensitive.

Because the Greek Gods were quite entertaining: they were incredibly powerful and tended to be ridiculously attractive so their ability to handle disappoint in a calm, adult manner, left a lot to be desired.

Cronus – the God of time and father of Zeus swallowed each of his children as soon as they were born

Zeus – the ruler of heaven/Olympus. This’ll take a while, he was quite a prick. We may need to do this in dot-points

  • That time he was massively pissed off with Prometheus –Prometheus made an agreement with the Gods that he would slay an ox and half would be given to the Gods. Zeus selected one portion that would henceforth be set apart for them, but Prometheus tricked him by making the shittier half look more appealing and Zeus was not impressed. Zeus tried to punish Prometheus by refusing humans the gift of fire, so in retaliation Prometheus gave Zeus a big fuck you by stealing some sparks from the sun. So Zeus took it up a notch: he sent the creation of Pandora as a gift to Prometheus’ house and she opened a jar filled with all the blessing reserved by the gods for mankind, which he had been forbidden to open. All the blessing flew away except for Hope. Then Zeus chained Prometheus to a rock and sent an eagle every day FOR THIRTY YEARS to gnaw away at his liver, which would grow back again every night. Dude you’re Zeus, is the ox that big a deal? Kill your own friggen ox you lazybones!
  • Tricking Europa – One day while Europa was innocently gathering flowers in a meadow, Zeus disguised himself as a white bull as some kind of bizarre dating tactic. Europa was surprised by the bull’s gentleness and seated herself on its back, Zeus immediately swam across the sea with her to the island of Crete. I like the reasoning behind this decision – I’ll dress up in a bull costume, bitches love bull’s right?
  • Persephone – Another example of why you shouldn’t go wandering around a lovely meadow, they are dangerous places dammit!! Persephone was gathering flowers one day when suddenly an abyss opened at her feet and Aides (ruler of the underworld) appeared and took her away to the underworld. It was Zeus who gave Aides permission to steal his daughter, in order that she could become his wife – and no he hadn’t discussed this decision with Persephone or her mother Demeter (prick).

Eris – the goddess of Discord. This particular story really does sound like some that would be on Real Housewives. So there was a wedding between a sea-nymph, Thetis, to a mortal, Peleus, and all the Gods and Goddesses had been invited except Eris. Eris therefore was determined to ruin this wedding, and did this by throwing into the room a golden apple with the inscription ‘For the Fairest’. All the goddesses begun fighting over who was the hottest (love how no one thought maybe we should just give this to the bride to be nice), and finally after long debate it was agreed that the three finalists Hera, Athene and Aphrodite would accept Paris’ decision. Paris chose Aphrodite, and Hera never forgave him and persecuted Paris and his family.

Demeter – the goddess of agriculture. In general she was nice enough, but once she cracked the shits with a youth who made fun of her for eating porridge too quickly, and turned him into a lizard.

Phoebus-Apollo – the god of light, prophecy, music, poetry and the arts and sciences. I have two favourite times Apollo acted like a shit. The first was the contest he had with Pan (god of shepherds) over who sounded better – Pan on the flute or Apollo or his lyre. Apollo had WON this contest yet still chose to punish the one judge who disagreed with the decision by giving him the ears of a donkey.

The second story is once his favourite bird, the crow, told Apollo that his wife was in love with another. Apollo was so upset that he instantly killed her with one of his death-bringing arrows. Then he actually thought about it, realised he might have been too hasty, and decided to punish the crow by changing the colours of his feathers from white to black. The crow was just the messenger dude!

Hephaestus – the god of fire in its beneficial aspect and son of Zeus (who wasn’t though, try keeping it in your pants Zeus). As revenge he gave his mother, Hera, a golden throne which once she was seated she would be unable to get back up from.

Amphitrite – the wife of Poseidon, god of the sea. Because she was quite jealous of a beautiful maiden called Scylla, Amphitrite threw herbs into a well where Scylla was bathing and this transformed her into a monster with twelve feet, six heads and the voice that resembled the bark of a dog.

Artemis – the goddess of hunting and chastity, and interesting fun-fact was raised by a she-bear (imagine the yo’mamma jokes she survived in high school, that’s why is was angry). Once a King neglected to include her in a general sacrifice to the gods. Artemis responded to the snubbing by sending a huge boar to destroy his kingdoms grain and cause famine.

Dionysus – the god of wine. He sounded like a bit of a ragamuffin you’d find on schoolies week, and was often depicted riding a panther. Dionysus invented wine and gained a devoted following, however the King of Thrace often had to have a stern word with him as he disapproved of the behaviour of Dionysus’ followers.