A tableau, or tableau vivant (living picture), refers to a scene staged by a group of costumed actors or models as a representation of a particular event or ideal.
This form of entertainment was popular during the Victorian and Edwardian eras, and could be enacted on a smaller scale in a drawing room.
Descriptions of the Beast vary. In some tales, he is imagined as a lion or bear-like creature; however, some of the early, French versions describe the Beast as a tusked creature with a trunk. Often the Beast's features are associated with several different animals, resulting in a combination of animal parts not unlike that of a griffin. In most tales, Beauty is struck by the Beast's ability to walk and talk like a man, as well as his human mode of dress.
In McKinley's retelling, Beauty's decision to join the Beast comes of her own free will.
The reason behind Beauty's decision to join the Beast varies with the telling, though Beauty's sense of filial duty generally influences her decision to agree to the terms of the Beast's bargain with her father. In some versions, Beauty's wicked sisters play on her sense of duty to convince her to sacrifice herself in their father's place.