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File:Beautytobeast 918.jpg

For who could ever learn to love a beast?

Vanity, like fashion, is a harsh mistress. Beauty fades with time after all, but then there are times that it's taken away before it even has a chance to. Whether because of an accident, Curse or illness this character loses their extreme good looks and becomes ugly as sin.

Which is rather appropriate, considering that since Beauty Equals Goodness most characters who suffer this will do a Face Heel Turn, or if already a villain constitutes a Freudian Excuse for even worse villainy to "get back at the world" that did this to them/mocks them. Of course if this happens to a Jerk Jock or a Alpha Bitch - or simply a physically attractive Butt Monkey - it may all be played for comedy and be undone by episode's end.

This is named for the fable of Beauty and The Beast, and since then this trope is closely associated with the Aesop of the vain losing their beauty for boasting of it, and only getting it back if they become humble.

This trope is the foil for Beauty Is Never Tarnished; in fact, one might say it is its masculine counterpoint, since male characters are almost always the victims.

Often leads to a "My face! My beautiful face!" moment, should the villain be a large enough ham. Expect them to go and break every mirror they come across.

Compare the more extensive and Laser-Guided Karma related Karmic Transformation. See also Broken Angel, What Have I Become? and Emergency Transformation. Contrast Gorgeous Gorgon.

Also related to I Just Want to Be Beautiful as the most likely reaction to losing beauty.

Examples of Beauty to Beast include:

Anime & Manga

  • In Berserk, Griffith's good looks are absolutely ruined by torture.
  • A rare female case exists in Glass no Kamen. The reclusive actress Tsukikage Chigusa was forced into early retirement when a lamp lighter fell during a stage accident and burned half of her face off. When she's shown in the series as an old woman after her accident, her face is always half-covered by her hair, thus ensuring that the audience never actually sees her scars every episode.
  • In an episode of the rather obscure anime Saban's Adventures of the Little Mermaid, the sea witch Hedwig got ahold of a bottle of the potion that Prince Justin regularly used to allow him to breathe underwater, adding a drop of another potion that also changed him into a monster after he drank it. Appropriately, the episode was entitled "Beauty and the Beast". His true love, Marina (the "little mermaid" of the title) later kissed him to change him back.
  • In Claymore, the Claymore warriors definetly seem pretty, but let's not forget the whole Awakening thing.

Comic Books

  • Batman: Harvey Dent's transformation into Two Face.
  • Fantastic Four has both Ben Grimm and Doctor Doom.
    • Some versions play this trope straight with Doom, others have him as only suffering a small scar (which he considers horrible because he's such a narcissist). Yet other versions expand on the small scar by having Doom make it worse in an attempt to cover the scar.
      • To further detail what you said, when Doom's mask was created for him, he pressed it to his face while it was still scorching hot from the forge fire. Needless to say, if Doom's face hadn't been badly scarred before, it certainly was after that.
      • Doom has never bothered to heal his face (he once had the power of the Silver Surfer, after all) because he judged himself to be "too beautiful for humanity".
      • He did heal his face when he stole the power of the Beyonder.
  • Iron Man: Tony Stark, after being badly injured by his own land mine in Vietnam Afghanistan Vietghanistan. His chest was torn open by the shrapnel badly enough that some of it lodged in his heart—obviously, damage that severe scarred his chest badly. He gained another scar (though a far less noticeable one) after his open-heart surgery later in the comics. Whether or not Marvel's artists would actually acknowledge the scars that would come from such physical trauma seemed to change depending on who was drawing the run at the time.
  • Watchmen: Although already pretty much a Psycho for Hire, when the Comedian's face is slashed open in a bar during the war in Vietnam by a pregnant Vietnamese woman, he reacts by pulling out a gun and shooting her in her very visibly-swollen belly. And the child she was carrying? Was his. The gash on his face, made with a broken glass bottle, scarred horribly.
  • One of the Punisher's Rogues Gallery is a prime example. Billy Russo was originally nicknamed "The Beaut", but after the Punisher introduced him face-first to a glass pane, he now goes by the name Jigsaw.



  • In the Harry Potter series, the stylishly handsome Bill Weasley has his face clawed by a werewolf, leaving permanent extensive scars. But people aren't worried about how his personality will change - they hope that his beautiful fiancée will dump him now that he's ugly. Fleur knows damn well that she is good looking enough for two.
    • For the record, this was his family hoping for the break-up; none of them really liked the fiancée very much, in part because of how vain and picky she always seemed. This incident helped warm the Weasleys up to her a bit.
    • Voldemort was originally very good-looking, but his dark magic and his curse backfiring on him when he tried to kill Harry Potter corrupted him into a snakelike creature.
  • In the book of The Princess Bride, the first part of "Chapter One: the Bride" is about the most beautiful women in the world, and how they all lost their looks. (One lost her figure to chocolate; one survived smallpox, even if her skin did not; and one worried so much about whether she was "perfect" that she prematurely aged herself.)
    • "To the pain" is arguably an example as well; it disfigures someone's body and face, leaving them with their ears perfectly intact to hear how repulsed everyone is with them.
  • In the modern "Beauty and the Beast" adaptation Beastly, the Jerk Jock is cursed by a witch to become a beast because he's so shallow and self-centered that all anyone likes him for are his looks.
  • In one of Jack Vance's Dying Earth stories, a beautiful witch curses her victim by giving him the hideous face of a demon. At the end of the story, he regains his rightful appearance, and she... well, guess.

Live Action Television

  • Cassandra of Doctor Who is a camp comical character, but she is also a bit of a tragic example of this. In her extravagant efforts to preserve her beauty and also to remain a "pure human" (while other humans had long since mingled with aliens, producing hybrids), she has turned herself into quite a freak. By the time she's introduced, she's literally a stretched out sheet of skin with a face on it, requiring frequent moisturization to survive. The Doctor, to punish her, lets her dry out at the end of her first appearance.

Myth and Folklore

  • Older Than Feudalism: Very common in Classical Mythology. If a parent's boasting about their daughter's good looks didn't get them sacrificed to the nearest sea-god, then the girl herself, saying she was lovelier than the goddesses, would find herself transformed into a horrible monster of some sort. Meet Medusa.
  • Of course, this is the backstory of the fairy tale "Beauty and The Beast".
  • A number of The Search for the Lost Husband fairy tales all involve a prince cursed into some animal form and forced to live like that for a set period of time. Circumstances lead to the protagonist, a young girl or princess, marrying him as a beast. Inevitably, the girl (or sometimes her mother) learns of his actual form and breaks a prohibition that forces him to stay cursed and/or leave her forever, but the girl undertakes a long and difficult journey to fetch him and restore his true form.
  • There's an old legend of a beautiful young lady who, instead of helping her family with the daily chores, spent all of her time by a pool of water, brushing her hair and admiring her beautiful reflection. One day, a single hair from her head disturbs the serene surface of the pool, releasing a water nymph. The nymph, angry at the woman for her vain and shallow ways (and possibly jealous of the woman's beauty), cursed her, changing her into an enormous, man-eating dragon, cursed to devour anyone who came near, until a knight appeared who was brave enough to remain unafraid of her, and pure enough to find her beautiful. The story ends on a downer note, as it's never said whether or not such a knight ever finds her.
  • Cu Chulainn of Celtic Mythology is describes as being an extremely and supernaturally beautiful man... as long as he's not in a Warp Spasm. What does he look like during one of those? Well...

 The first warp-spasm seized Cúchulainn, and made him into a monstrous thing, hideous and shapeless, unheard of. His shanks and his joints, every knuckle and angle and organ from head to foot, shook like a tree in the flood or a reed in the stream. His body made a furious twist inside his skin, so that his feet and shins switched to the rear and his heels and calves switched to the front... On his head the temple-sinews stretched to the nape of his neck, each mighty, immense, measureless knob as big as the head of a month-old child... he sucked one eye so deep into his head that a wild crane couldn't probe it onto his cheek out of the depths of his skull; the other eye fell out along his cheek. His mouth weirdly distorted: his cheek peeled back from his jaws until the gullet appeared, his lungs and his liver flapped in his mouth and throat, his lower jaw struck the upper a lion-killing blow, and fiery flakes large as a ram's fleece reached his mouth from his throat... The hair of his head twisted like the tange of a red thornbush stuck in a gap; if a royal apple tree with all its kingly fruit were shaken above him, scarce an apple would reach the ground but each would be spiked on a bristle of his hair as it stood up on his scalp with rage.



  • Lola in Damn Yankees was once the ugliest woman in Providence, Rhode Island, before Applegate turned her into a vamp. He punishes her for rebelling against him by changing her back temporarily.


  • In Bionicle, the narcissistic Toa Matau considers himself to be this trope after his transformation into a Toa Hordika.

Video Games

  • Cassiopeia in League of Legends was once a beautiful noble's daughter who seduced other men in order to gather secrets for her father. This proves her undoing when one of these lovers makes her take a vow of secrecy upon a serpentine blade...turning her into a monstrous lamia after she betrays his secrets.
  • One of the Vahzilok arcs in City of Heroes deals with an Eidolon, which in this game are the most humanoid of the reanimated corpses Dr. Vahzilok creates, who tries to regain her former human beauty.
    • In one of the Devoured Earth arcs, a woman named Tanya Tyler is transformed into a hideous monstrousity named "Terra".
  • Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines has Imalia, a Nosferatu vampire who used to be a supermodel. It's said that the Nosferatu clan like to do this to vain, beautiful people in order to Break the Haughty.
  • Jump Start Adventures 4th Grade Haunted Island anyone? Look at Tiffany, the princess girl. She now looks like a warthog!
  • The BB ("Beauty and Beast") Corps in Metal Gear Solid 4 are beautiful women cursed to become "Beasts" in Power Armor, due to getting mixed up in wars and forced into Heroic BSOD. Snake also undergoes this transformation via Rapid Aging, at least as far as the other characters are concerned.
  • In The Game of the Ages, you rescue a group that's under a curse that mutates their looks and leaves them mentally retarded. Just asking about them earns you some indignation from townsfolk, who turn out to be relatives.
  • Quelaag and her Sister in Dark Souls went from being beautiful women to being beautiful women with horrible demonic lava-spider lower bodies.

Western Animation

  • Played for comedy on an episode of The Simpsons where Krusty the Clown temporarily loses Sideshow Mel as the co-host of his children's TV show and hires actor Luke Perry, who is his half-brother (don't think about it too much), as a replacement. In a big all-star special edition of the show intended to boost ratings, Krusty fires Luke out of a cannon that sends him shooting all the way across town. He crashes into the Kwik-E-Mart and smashes right through several dozen jars of battery acid; we don't see what happens to him immediately afterward, but we hear him screaming, "AAAH! MY FACE! MY VALUABLE FACE!" Interestingly, the next time we see him, the acid scarring has completely healed.
    • Also in The Simpsons, Moe gets plastic surgery to look attractive, but then later a wall falls on him and he goes back to normal.
  • Similarly, Peter in Family Guy gets addicted to becoming more beautiful through plastic surgery. Eventually, he crashes his car and after suffering numerous scarring injuries, lands in a lard vat and drinks all the lard. This ends with him looking exactly as he always does.
  • Rocko's Modern Life: Ed Bighead was once known as "The Handsomest Man in O-Town" before an accident involving a giant blender.
  • In a late episode of Batman the Animated Series, we get "Calender Girl," a woman who was a former model who turned 30 and is alleged to have had a nasty facial scarring beneath her mask. However, she's still quite beautiful, but her obsession has rendered her unable to see anything but the flaws. Crosses over with Gorgeous Gorgon, since she's actually not ugly under the mask.
  • In one episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles April O'Neil gets mutated into a fish woman. Both the turtles and April are horrified about how hideous she now looks. Of course by the end of the episode she is transformed back.