Critical Examination: The Real Villains of ‘Beauty and the Beast’

I am of course talking about the animated version, not that live action abortion that showed that not only can Emma Watson not act, but she can’t sing either.  But as I have been chilling with my girly-mate guest, we have shared in one of my favorite pastimes – over-analyzing media that we watch.  In this case, it’s a classic Disney film that a lot of people have already over-analyzed, but I think have all been fooled.  It’s all over the Internet that the Beast is actually a horrible guy, but while he is an abusive monster, he isn’t the real villain of the story.  Nor is Gaston, who is actually the hero of the story.  More about that later.  The true villain of this film is more nefarious than you can possibly imagine.  It’s perhaps one of the darkest secrets in all of Disney, that we shall uncover now.

The True Hero

Cracked already did a video discussing this but the real hero of the story is Gaston.  Which he totally is.  The film tries to play it as he just judges the Beast because of how he looks and that’s wrong, because really the Beast is a good guy underneath it all.  Right?  Wrong!  The Beast is a monster!  His outer image has become his inner one, as he has had years of anger and hatred of the world and himself to turn his psyche into an abusive monster.  Gaston, on the other hand, is not really a bad guy.  Let’s look at some evidence.

The entire village treats Belle like she is a weirdo.  After all, she’s reading books and trying to learn things.  In that time period, for a woman to do such a thing is considered alien and they regard her very negatively.  All with one exception – Gaston.  He treats Belle like she is someone he wants to get to know and care about.  But I hear you say – he comes on WAY too strong and is kind of a dick!  Well, yeah.  But there’s a reason.  For starters, he’s kinda dumb.  But that’s nothing to hold against him.  Him being dumb isn’t his fault.  And the reason he is a dick is because he has an inflated ego.  Why?  Because he is the most valuable member of the community.  He shows that he has a vast amount of animal heads and is a very skilled hunter.  In a time when being able to kill animals and get food is a skill that can sustain a community, it makes sense that he is a celebrity.

But think about this – in the song he sings to himself, Gaston shows that there are a ton of women who are after him, but he makes clear that these are not the women he is interested in.  These hussies are just cheap lays that he gets because he can.  The woman he is actually interested in is the woman that the rest of the village treats as something of a pariah, not only because she isn’t very ladylike for the time, but because her father is kind of insane as well and it has gotten around.  So he is a little dumb and kind of boorish, but he still wants to get to know and seek the hand of a woman that no one else in the community likes.  What’s the problem there?

Why the Beast Isn’t the Villain

We’re building up to the reveal, don’t worry.  The aforementioned video by Cracked said that the Beast is the real bad guy in the film, and while I can see where they are coming from, they didn’t go deep enough in their analysis.  See, here’s the real kicker – the Beast is just a victim of his circumstance.  While he is an abusive monster (and that isn’t going to change with him becoming human again), you can track what got him here.  Years of living as an animal in a home where the only companions he had are people who are terrified of him and whom he has probably killed a few of.  After all, it’s shown that pretty much every inanimate object in the house is one of the servants, and we see Beast’s quarters filled with destroyed stuff.  So was some of that destruction servants who made him upset?  Scary to think about what will happen when the Enchantress’ magic wears off and how many mutilated corpses will be found later.

However, the truth is that of all the characters in the film, the Beast is the one with the least agency.  He is just being strung along by the plot.  Sure, he has a goal of breaking the curse placed on him, but he is just being led along by the real villain of the film.  Some of you may have seen this coming, but it’s even more diabolical than you can possibly imagine.

The Real Villain of the Film Is…

The servants.  That’s right, all the fun servant characters, who you grow to love and think are the best part of the film, are the ones who are secretly manipulating everything behind the scenes.  I can prove it, too.  Let’s get down into this.

Have you ever noticed that the servants don’t age?  The film implies that it has been years, many years, since the Enchantress did her spell.  Yet, the little teacup children are still teacup children.  At the end of the film, when the magic wears off, you see them turn back into children.  The little dog stool creature turns into a dog and it is obvious that it would be old as fuck or dead if it had been aging like a normal dog.  But one character does age in that castle – the Beast.  Beast is aging like a normal person, because even though he looks like a monster he is still flesh and blood.  Which means that his body is growing older.  And it also means that at some point he would die.  You know who wouldn’t die?  The servants.  They are now inanimate objects that only age as their parts decay.  Or if the destruction in Beast’s quarters is to be believed, when they are destroyed.  Which means that some of these now living pieces of furniture could have centuries of life to live.  Doesn’t that sound like a fresh Hell to have to suffer through?  Makes you wonder what such a potential fate would compel one to do, doesn’t it?

The servants talk in the film about how they had nearly given up hope that they would be able to escape that fate.  But then, along comes hope!  A girl who can potentially break this curse and save them from this torture existence of being objects for the rest of their potentially eternal existence.

But I hear your rebuttal – how does that show that they are the villains?  I mean, sure they got a stake in the situation but how do you postulate that they are the bad guys because of it?  I’m glad you asked.  Here’s how I know – because they know what Beast is like.  They are terrified of him.  They know what kind of monster he has become.  And while some of them like the Cogsworth may be delusional enough to buy that he will snap out of it when he turns back into a human, others like Lumiere are nowhere near that naive.  He is clearly the smartest out of them, and he knows the truth about what will happen when the Beast is given back his body.  His physical appearance will change, but his internal violence will be right where is was before.  The only difference is that now Belle will be trapped.  Trapped in a relationship with someone who is still an animal that will likely abuse her, physically and emotionally at the very least, and potentially sexually.  There is no way these servants who have had to suffer through this for years won’t have some idea about what is going to happen once all is said and done.

The thing is – they don’t care.  Why would they?  After all, if you faced the reality of living the rest of your life as a dresser, would you?  Which brings to mind another rebuttal I hear – okay, so Lumiere may be playing things to his own end.  But how do we know the others are in on it?  I have an answer to that too.  When Gaston rallies the town to go and save the woman he has feelings for, and they attack the castle, the furniture fights back.  The bureau actually leaps off a balcony and lands on a guy and crushes him.  You even see his lifeless legs after she smashes him into the floor.  That dude is dead!  She fucking killed him.  And you see the rest of the servants doing real damage to Gaston’s posse.  A threat to their freedom means that they are willing to straight-up murder people in order to ensure success.

Everything that the servants to help foster the relationship between the two of them wasn’t to help the Beast.  It was to help themselves.  When Mrs. Potts was singing that iconic song, in the back of her mind she was thinking – get with her, damn you!  I want to leave this teapot body behind!  Hell, the first thing Lumiere does after he turns back is make out with a maid.  You just know that afterwards he took her to a room and got his dick wet for the first time in who knows how many years.  And I bet you that after they are returned to their bodies, they high-tailed it out of there as fast as their legs would take them.  Given back their ability to live, why would they want to stay and watch the relationship between the two titular characters devolve into a destructive pattern of abuse?

And the best part is – they got away with it!  The servants manipulated the situation to their own ends, and they win.  They got their bodies back and condemned an innocent woman with mental problems to a life of abuse all so they could get their own bodies back.  Scary shit.  But also kind of cool.  Makes me like Lumiere as a character more, really.  From the very beginning when he started to make nice with Belle, he was planning his return to his own body because he knew that this was his last chance.  It was his ultimate gambit, and he got the entire servant body (with the possible exception of Cogsworth who was completely the Beast’s bitch) to assist him to this end.  Hell, Mrs. Potts kinds of hints to it in her part of the song.  She says that she has to make sure everything is perfect in every conceivable way for Belle, because she knows what he does too.

Kind of makes me wish that I could have seen the deleted scenes where Lumiere has the servants gathered and is talking to them about what to do next and how they were planning things.  Am I alone in that?  What do you all think?  Let me know in the Comments

Until next time, a quote,

“But that’s just a theory.  A Film Theory.” – Film Theory

Peace out,

Maverick

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