The Beast Within illustrates how, as property, food and sexual objects, animals in the middles ages had a distinct, and at times, odd relationship with the people and world around them. For example, animals viewed as property during the period shared in labor and increased their owners' status. However, these animals were regularly punished for the act owners were held responsible for the animals' behavior as well. When animals served as sexual objects for humans, much reflection, debate and even legislation was the result. Mythological and metaphoric animals also played important roles in the fables and religion of the day changing the views of humans about the beasts and themselves.