Enchantress: Beautiful or Terrible?

When anyone asks who the villain of Beauty and the Beast is, the first and most obvious answer is Gaston. But is it really him? Certainly he is a self-absorbed, chauvinist pig who uses the loose legal standards of his time to his own advantages, but I just don’t think he is the main bad guy. Who is? The beautiful Enchantress of course. Now, this character is not technically in the movie save for a few stained glass images of her featured at the opening of the movie. How could she be the villain if she isn’t even in the story? Well let’s take a look.

beautiful enchantress beauty & the beast
There is a lot of this story that is told during the voice-over prologue. The Pre-Beast Prince is cursed because he refuses to board a beautiful Enchantress who is disguised as a homeless beggar trying to pay her way with a rose. Looking at just that from the outside, I think the he made a sound decision from the facts presented to him. To me she sounds crazy and does not have the makings of a good house guest.

But it’s when you understand the timeline of the story and see that the Prince was only roughly 11 years old when this went down that you really start to see the Enchantress for who she is. (Ref: The rose he received post-curse would bloom till his 21st year & per Lumiere they had been ‘rusting’ for 10 years when Belle first arrives.) Now I don’t know why the 11 year old prince is answering the door for strangers, but I do know boys that age do not always make the soundest of decisions. It seems like a potential lifetime curse for him and hundreds of servants may not be the proper punishment for this crime. Who made this Enchantress judge & jury anyway? And the whole set up seems to be weighted against the Prince…almost like she wanted him to fail so she could show how powerful she was. If she cared so much about the Prince’s heart, where was she when the curse was broken. Shouldn’t she have been there congratulating him at the ball?

So I ask you, who is the true villain? Gaston, who takes his crush a little too far or the beautiful terrible Enchantress who curses hundreds of people because a prepubescent child makes a poor decision. I say the latter. What do you say?

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More to come… @dadsquestions

Image Credit: thebipolarized.com

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23 comments

    1. It’s never answered but if you go with the timeline provided by dialogue in the film…he is definitely 11. Not sure how he had a portrait done of him as an adult though….maybe that was his dad and he just looked a lot like him.

  1. My first thought is if Prince Adam had everything he wanted and lived in a castle with servants, wouldn’t it be expected that they would have a hired butler to answer their door? I get that it’s not Wayne Manner but were they fresh out of Alfred’s at the time? The enchantress showed up on Christmas Eve. Most people are with their families and friends to celebrate the holiday and who is to say Prince Adam’s family wouldn’t have company over to “Be Their Guest” to share their luxury lifestyle? In which case, any of the guests could have opened the door and received the curse. Let’s say there was no party. You mean to tell me that Prince Adam wouldn’t be playing in some sick playroom on the other side of the castle with all his new toys from Christmas (or ones he already had) and instead be walking by the front door at the exact time this enchantress knocked? Seems a little far fetched to me.

      1. Now I think about it in those days only the richest most important people went through the front entrances of Castles. If the enchantress was a real old woman looking for shelter from the storm then there would have been at least one back entrance for the servants and any beggars that wanted shelter. So if the prince opened the door personally he must have been expecting someone- royalty were normally announced.

        Also the prince wasn’t crowned- probably because of his age- but I don’t see any parents anywhere. Then there’s the fact that Belle’s provincial town didn’t complain about being abandoned(and we can assume that there would have been other towns and villages dotted around the kingdom.) and why did so many people come to stare at the beast? How did they know he was there when the prince’s subjects didn’t?

        I think that the prince was recently orphaned. Obviously he would be too young to be king, so one of his relatives would probably have to step in and act as regent.
        So we have this kid, all alone at Christmas (the staff don’t really count do they?) and he’s waiting for his uncle or grandfather or whatever to come over and look after him. He hears a knock at the door and rushes over, but is dissapointed ’cause it’s just some old hag looking for shelter from a storm.
        He turns her away (because that set up is a bit suspicious and as a new king he’d have to look out for asassins.) perhaps he’s a bit rude because he’s been through a lot recently.

        The hag turns to an enchantress and she curses the prince and all his staff. Later the regnent shows up, but there’s nobody home. A lot of the funiture is gone and there are claw marks on the walls.
        A hideous creauture runs at him, calling him “uncle” or “grandad” or something- and of course the guy naturally assumes that this thing has eaten the prince. He screams that it is a beast (why doesn’t the prince call himself a monster- or even by his own name?) and leaves.

        Later he tells all the surrounding noble families about the tradgedy and a few of them come over, but the beast scares them off. The regent of course assumes power and starts managing the neighbouring villages (who, being commoners, are not informed about the beast.)
        The prince spends the rest of his childhood alone in a castle surrounded by staff- who clearly show no true affection for him. This causes him to have deep physcological issues, showing themselves as anger management issues and inexperience with women- and manners.

  2. This used to be my favorite Disney cartoon back in high school. I listened yo the sound track everyday. Now that I have a kid, I thought it would be great to share something with him that I enjoyed back then. Bad idea. Some months ago, hr and I watched Beauty and the Beast almost every night. And now the movie has lost its magic. Some of the questions you posed also came into mind — where were the prince’s parents? How come the townspeople were not aware that there was an enchanted castle and prince nearby? I assumed the castle was nearby because it was just walking distance as the mob song proved (people reached the castle I guess about halfway through the song). But what really ruined it for me was Belle’s choice in books. Shewas supposed to be this really smart chick but her choice in books is like that of a kid’s! It is nice to appreciate fairy tales and romance but at her age ( I assume she’s in her late teens or early 20s) A beanstalk and an ogre and a prince in disguise are still THAT exciting?

    1. Yeah. That happened to me too. I used to watch with my younger sister all the time. Now watching with my daughter these things seem so obvious. I never thought about the books. That is a great observation. I wonder if it is because at that time, most women and many men didn’t read at all so even reading a childish book was amazing…that being said, Disney has really pushed Belle as the smart one. Thanks again for stopping by. I have more posts on Beauty and the Beast coming that I think you will like. Hope to see you back soon!

  3. Gaston is a brute, who pretty much tries to force himself upon Belle at every turn. That’s kinda rape-y. The Enchantress turned the kid into Beast and placed a curse upon him, but also everyone else in the castle. Then Beast kidnaps Belle’s dad, who was just seeking help, but if he never did she’d never have found the castle, or him. Technically there could be 3 villains here. But ultimately without the Enchantress, there’d be no story. So your argument is pretty valid.

    To me, the true villain is Belle herself, because she falls in love with Beast and lifts the curse transforming him back into the prince, and I was strangely more fond of him in Beast form than as Prince Adam. I was a strange child.

    1. I think everyone likes The Beast better than Prince Adam…probably why they made a midquel instead of a sequel. No one cares what happens to everyone after the curse is lifted…I would like to see a sequel that Adam and Belle go on a hunt to find the Enchantress. She could be a really cool villain. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I realize this is a relatively old post, but it is worth noting that Gaston’s version “taking a crush too far” involved murder and imprisoning an old man in an asylum (also, he arguably only wanted Belle as a status symbol – I’ve written on my blog about the similarities between him and Lady Macbeth). The Enchantress’s actions seem unreasonable, but little enough is known about her that it seems pre-emptive to frame her as the villain. Besides that, the fact that the Beast isn’t human is only presented as a secondary issue – and from Belle’s point of view, not really an issue at all. In fact, the movie almost seems set up in such a way to make the viewer find it disappointing when the Beast appears to change into someone different at the end. If the Enchantress’s curse had continued uninterrupted, it would have been a disappointment to Lumière and Co., but not much more. If Gaston continued unhindered, the castle’s residents would be dead, Belle’s father would be imprisoned, and Belle herself would be Gaston’s unwilling prisoner/wife.

    1. Thanks for finding this post. Honestly I have thought about this one more than most and I kind of disagree. Maybe I let Gaston off a little too easy in my post, but I think you have to look at the sheer magnitude of these two character’s actions. If Gaston had his way, I think the only person that would be dead would be the beast while the castle staff just got in the way. Maurice wouldn’t have been imprisoned if Belle agreed to marry him. So, honestly 2 people would have had their lives majorly affected: Beast & Belle. The enchantress, on the other hand, has imprisoned potentially hundreds of people. You said the castle staff would be disappointed…I don’t think that captures it. They have been this way for 10 years so they might have lost hope & resigned themselves to their fate. So I ask you, is killing one and imprisoning one worse than imprisoning hundreds?

      1. I forgot to check this post for comments ’til now, and I do have to admit that I significantly underrepresented the scale of the enchantress’s actions. Gaston’s actions strike me much more forcefully, but I acknowledge that the differing styles of narration had a lot to do with that – the detached method of describing the Enchantress’s actions versus the graphic method of showing Gaston’s. I’m also much more comfortable assigning the Gaston the title of villain because I can reason my way through his motivations and still see his actions as horrible, whereas I can’t do that with the Enchantress because not enough information is given about her. All in all, though, I would agree that while the Enchantress’s villainy doesn’t discount Gaston’s, she is certainly a more effective villain in terms of scale, and the main reason she isn’t perceived as such is how little attention she’s paid in the narrative.

  5. I agree. The Enchantress is the real villain. What 11 year old boy would allow a stranger beggar woman into his home? He was probably taught not to let strangers in. Also, if she cared about people’s hearts, why didn’t she target and curse Gaston? He was the shallow, cold-hearted one. Also, it would have been nice to see her in the final scene. There should be a sequel where Belle and Prince Adam go after her and ask her those questions.

  6. Im with you on this! I said to my own kid that if he were cursed everytime he made a bad choice at eleven he would have never seen twelve!

    I always thought the timeline was a bit wonkey on this one!

  7. I’ve thought of this recently but I still love the film. Every movie you can have these kind of questions. Does it ruin the movie for you because you are a great writer. Very witty

  8. This is my take on the story. A beauty and the beast prequel as you will.

    Beauty and the Beast: The Enchantress Curse. By Tamera Miller. Inspired by Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

    Once a upon a time….

    There was a there was a small kingdom in the French countryside called Jone. It ruled by the sweet and benevolent King Peter and Queen Mary. One day, just Two Days after Christmas queen Mary had given birth to twin boy and girl named Adam and Eva. And for a while everything was perfect. But then three years after the birth of the little Prince and princess, on a trip to south island to visit queen Mary’s sister, Elizabeth, that the first tragedy befell the kingdom. Adam and Eva was playing in the snow near the lake on bright sunny day.

    Eva kept trying to go and walk across the ice of the lake. Adam tried to stop her. He thought he succeeded when tried to get his sister to build a snowman with him, but while collecting things to decorate their snowman, Eva had wandered on to the ice and fell through. She drowned. Adam tried to tell his parents that Eva said she saw an old woman on the ice singing to her. Begging Eva and Adam to come out on the ice. Adam claimed he saw the old woman too, just seconds before Eva broke through the ice. The old woman was holding a rose.

    ” there was no one there.” Said queen Mary. “Aunt Elizabeth was watching both of you from the window. ” trying to comfort her son. But that didn’t stop the nightmares. Especially when his parents had to go away on a diplomatic mission. But one day, upon their return, Prince Adam had been given a magic hand mirror by his mother as Christmas present. “This is for you to use, should you ever become scared and need to know where we are. Just ask it to show you what you want to see, and you will see in the glass.” Said queen Mary. Adam held up the mirror. “Show me my dad! ” said Adam. And the mirror showed him King Peter just outside the ballroom, awaiting his wife and son. “Mommy it works.” Adam exclaimed. The queen could help but laugh and smile to see her son’s happiness. And give him a big hug. She hoped that this would finally put Adam’s nightmares to an end. And for a while it did. And for a while when his parents were away, he used the mirror to look in on them. But as he got a little older and at times a little more spoiled, he put the mirror away and all but forgot about it.

    Two weeks before Christmas is the second time tradgey befell the kingdom. The king and queen was out riding horses. a pack of wolves attacked them. Queen Mary was thrown from her mount and hit her head against a tree. King Peter in a attempted to protect his queen, shielded her with his body and was killed in the process. Queen Mary was found just outside the castle gates by Lumerie and Cogsworth. Mrs. Potts did all she could to tend to all the injuries the queen suffered, but in the end she died. And so after the funeral it was Christmas day and because Prince Adam was only eleven, The Duchess Elizabeth was appointed his guardian until his twenty-first birthday, when he could be courante King Adam of Jone.

    It was six fourteen, in the evening when the servants and staff of the castle began the annual gift giving exchange. But with the death of the King and Queen and rumors being whispered about the Duchess Elizabeth, it was sufficient to say it was not going to be a very merry Christmas. Adam sat in the corner by the fire. Saltan tired to cheer his master, but at this point just lay at Adam’s feet looking up at times and sighing. There’s only so much a dog can do. The servants got together to buy Adam a gift. A book. A book his mother was going to get him before she died. Adam loved books. His mother read to his as child and she taught him to read. But now they reminded him of her. So when Lumerie gave the book to on behalf of himself and the rest of the servants, Adam’s reaction was less than warm. Cogsworth and Lumerie gave a look of forgiveness. They knew all that Adam had been through. They known him all of his life. Mrs. Potts sat down in the chair next to Adam’s. “Pardon me master, said Mrs. Potts. But if could talk to you in private, it’s about the Duchess Elizabeth…” “Not more nasty rumors about my aunt. I want those to stop when she gets here soon.” Adam grumbled. “But sir, it more about something your mother said to me just before she..” Mrs. Potts didn’t want to say the last word. “Died.”Adam said to break the silence. “You can say it.” He continued. “You might as well tell me what she said now.” “Well, know your mother was found babbling about an old woman with a rose.”said Mrs Potts. “Yes, like the one i thought i saw when Eva drowned.” Adam’s voiced grew cold. It had been a long time since he said his sister’s name. “She became more clearer those last few hours until she died. She told only me, Lumerie and Cogsworth what I’m about to tell you. ” “Tell me what? ” he intruded. “That the old woman with the rose is real. She was once in love with your father, but your father only had eyes for your mother. And that the old woman is….” There was a knock at the door. Cogsworth answered but starting arguing with the person at the door. Mrs. Potts’s blood ran cold. She knew who it was. ‘Not now’. She thought. She opened her mouth to tell the name, but by that instant Adam has left his chair to see what the fuss was about. Lumerie raced over to Mrs Potts. “Did you tell him? ” Lumerie asked. “I almost did.” Mrs Potts answered. “We may have to get him out of here sooner than we thought. ” Lumerie helped Mrs Potts up out of the chair and signaled to Babette to get Chip and the baggage as they raced to the door. “Madame, I’m not letting you even come near the master as long as i got a bone in my body.”yelled Cogsworth, just as Adam, Mrs Potts and Lumerie arrived. Adam was horrified! There stood the old woman with the rose. “You! You’re same old woman who killed my sister and my parents! ” Adam screamed. “And soon it will be your turn.” cackled the old woman. “Who are you? “Adam asked. “That was I was going to tell you master.”said Mrs Potts. “It’s Elizabeth! ” Elizabeth smiled in agreement. For a very moment she showed her real face and became the old woman again. “And we all know what you are.’ Mrs Potts continued, ‘and prepared to do whatever it takes to protect Prince Adam from the likes of you. ” “So I guess I’m not welcome here, i’m I?” Elizabeth asked. “Not ever you monster.” Adam yelled. “A monster am I? Perhaps you like to be one yourself. Beastus. Objectto. Metamorphoto.” Said Elizabeth as she waved the glowing magic rose in her hand. And before they could do anything they had all transformed Lumerie was turned into a candlestick, Mrs Potts was turned into a tea-pot. Cogsworth was now a clock. Adam got the worst of it curse. He was transformed into a beast. At that same time Elizabeth transformed back into herself wearing the garbs of a queen. Adam lunged at Elizabeth. At that same time a local hunter named Peru was passing by the gate. He was asked by an old beggar woman to meet her daughter by the castle at seven to help her kill a beast. The hunter raised his bow to shoot at Adam. “Right on time”. Whispered Elizabeth. Adam looked up and caught the arrow mid-flight. He lunged at the hunter. Elizabeth running towards her unknowing assassin was then shot by one of the hunter’s bows right though the heart. Adam chased the hunter off the castle grounds. As he arrived back at front door Elizabeth lay on the brink of death. Adam tried to get his aunt to tell him how to break the curse. she said “the rose will bloom until your 21 birthday. If can find someone to love and earn her love in return by time the last petal falls, the spell will break.” “And if i can’t? ” Adam asked. “You will be an ugly beast forever. Just. Like. Your. Mother.” She dies.

    Adam buried his aunt’s body the family cemetery. Peru told the tales about beast he killed. The one that ate the Prince and Duchess. He even told them to his son Gaston.

So, what do you think?

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