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Mintz, T. (1969/1970). The Meaning of the Rose in “Beauty and the Beast”. Psychoanal. Rev., 56D(4):615-620.

(1969/1970). Psychoanalytic Review, 56D(4):615-620

The Meaning of the Rose in “Beauty and the Beast”

Thomas Mintz, M.D.

If Zeus had willed it so

That o'er the flowers

One flower should reign a queen

I know, ah, well I know,

The rose, the rose, that royal flower had been.


Universally and throughout history, in literature and art, the rose has been admired and revered for its beauty, regality, and fragrance. As such it has become a truly classical symbol. In order to examine the multidetermined nature of the rose and its symbolism. I shall discuss the meanings of the rose within the framework of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. Barchilon1 traces this fairy tale back to the myth Cupid and Psyche, written in the second century, into the fairy tale “La Belle et la Bete” by Madame le Prince de Beaumont.

In the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Beauty asks her father to pick for her a rose, on his travels back home. It is the picking of this rose, from the Beast's private garden, which causes the Beast to tell the father that he must die and which brings about the relationship between Beauty and the Beast. Why is the rose the specific flower mentioned? Why not just any flower? To learn why, we must review what has been said about the rose. All sorts of religious, mythological and romantic themes intertwine about the rose.


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