I’m sure I’m not the first person to ask this question. Probably tons of posts out there in the blogosphere with answers galore but honestly I am too lazy to go find them. Plus I have found that those of you that comment on my posts are way smarter than most of the people out there anyway.
So let’s first take a look at the curse. The enchantress states that he had to love someone and earn their love in return. What type of love was required for this curse to be broken? You would hope that if one was going to curse another for the rest of their lives for a small infraction, the least they could do is give some specifics?
Unfortunately she does not, but I am guessing that it wasn’t a family or friend type love that is necessary. Otherwise, why couldn’t he have just figured out how to love Mrs. Potts? Or Lumiere? Just because they are enchanted, did they lose the right to be loved? Of course not. Or maybe the issue here was that none of them loved the Prince? What does that say about the servants in this castle? Maybe they should have all been cursed after all.
And then there is Belle. When she arrives, everyone thinks that she could be the one to break the spell. I don’t think she is the first person there so what besides her beauty makes her more of a option than anyone other visitor? I mean, why couldn’t Maurice fill the role? When he arrived, the Beast didn’t even give him a shot. Locked him up right away. You would think that if you are trying to get someone to fall in love with a beast, someone with a nickname of ‘crazy, ole Maurice’ would be your best bet…but I digress.
The main question here though is not what is needed to break the curse, but what actually did. As Belle weeps over the Beast’s dying body she sobs ‘I love you.’ But what kind of love is it? I could understand the normal kind of brother/sister/friend love. Stockholm Syndrome aside, I could see a closeness forming between those two. And if that was all that was needed, then I should just stop typing. But I think we all agreed that it was something more. So, I ask you, was Belle IN LOVE with the Beast? I mean she kisses him 5 seconds after seeing him as a human…and this ain’t no friend smooch. And if she is, what does it say about a woman who falls in love with a giant monster?
Image Credit: fanpop.com
I’ve already discussed how I think the punishment did not fit the crime in regards to the curse placed upon The Beast and his servants. So I won’t go into that again here. (If you want a refresher, read my Enchantress: Beautiful or Terrible post). However, regardless of the fairness of the sentence, the real question is did the Beast learn his lesson? I offer that he couldn’t have. And here is why…first we need to go back one more time to the stained glass prologue that opens the movie. The Beautiful Enchantress disguises herself as a haggard, old woman to perform her test upon the Young Prince. There are two really important adjectives about her that inform us as to the the nature of experiment being conducted: OLD & HAGGARD. From these critical descriptions we must believe that the appearance of the enchantress is of the utmost significance in understanding the nature of the Beast’s heart. He was ‘repulsed’ by her appearance and is even warned by the woman right before he fails that beauty is found ‘within.’ When this doesn’t sway him to see through her unattractiveness, he is cursed with becoming the thing he despises–ugliness. So it would make sense if he is cursed because he can only see beauty on the outside, the way to undo that curse is to be able to look past something that repulses him and see inner beauty, right? Wrong. He simply needs to find someone who is both beautiful on the outside AND the inside and get her to look past HIS ugliness. WHAT? So the the main character flaw that the Beast was being punished for has no bearing on how he finds redemption?Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to say that both lifting the curse and not learning his lesson at the same time would be easy. He may have had to break a few laws like kidnapping and imprisonment and maybe even need to feign innocence by pretending he didn’t remember how to use a spoon. But surely by the time Belle fell for him and lifted the curse, he would be able to see from her shining example how he should treat others? Unfortunately, that makes no sense. I am sure that the Young Prince was a beast to everyone around him long before he was physically turned into one. There were probably numerous people who were able to look past his horrible nature to love him and that never changed his heart back then. So why would this time be any different? Maybe if the Enchantress would have just appeared in her natural blonde-bombshell state and seen past his human-beastliness it would have saved everyone 10 years of pointless cursedness….
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Image Credit: disney.wikia.com
I was watching Beauty & the Beast the other day and the scene came on when Cogsworth is taking Belle on the castle tour. You remember it? Down one of the hallways they encounter a dozen or so suits of armor. Cogsy makes a lame joke and then rudely commands these knights to return to their positions. Cut to near the end of the film, when the crazy townspeople led by Gaston march to kill the beast and who is left to defend the castle? The servants?! Where are all those knights? These guys would be nearly unstoppable and could easily route the town’s butcher, baker & candlestick maker yet they are strangely absent from the foray. I don’t blame them though. If I was a knight and a castle servant bossed me around, I would make sure he became cognizant of his error when the time was right.
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So let’s not pull any punches here: I think that Mrs. Potts may be the shadiest character in all of the Disney movies. And I don’t make the statement lightly, especially after the true hospitality she shows Belle post-imprisonment. I think there are many good qualities to her that are evident throughout the movie and its midquel, however, it is the unspoken aspects of this castle matron that give me pause.
Let’s take a look at the enigma that is the young boy/cup named Chip. He calls Mrs. Potts momma throughout the film so we have to assume that she is his mother. If this is a biological relationship, many questions spring to my mind. (This is actually a question that many others have asked as well.) After the curse is broken, this boy is in single digits while Mrs. Potts is clearly well into her late-fifties or early sixties. I am not and ageist but even in the world of medicine today, that is not extremely safe let alone the 1,700’s which they inhabit. Plus, if Chip is under 10 years old AND the curse did not stop time PLUS they have all been household items for nearly 10 years…then Mrs. Potts had to both conceive and give birth to Chip while as a tea kettle. Obviously this is not possible for ordinary tea kettles, but I won’t even speculate if it is or isn’t for an enchanted one. And as to Chip’s father, this is one secret that Mrs. P. refuses to blow the whistle on. Why? What does she have to hide here?
But all that seems highly unlikely. It is somewhat better if you think that Chip is an orphan or adopted child as this seems to fit more into the good Mrs. Potts that I want to believe in. And this seems copacetic until the scene when Chip doesn’t want to go to bed. Mrs. Potts chides him saying that he needs to get into the cupboard with his brothers and sisters…and there are at least 6 other cups in there!?! Where did all of those kids come from? And if they are Chip’s siblings, then Mrs. P. is their mother as well. Highly unlikely that she is running an orphanage on a castle housekeeper’s salary, so what is she doing with all of these kids? But the part that scares me the most is after the curse is broken, the other brothers and sisters are no where to be seen in the ballroom, only Chip. I don’t know where she is hiding all of these kids or why but all I can say is something shady is brewing with this lady.
So on a Scale of 1 – Shady…where do you think Mrs. P. ranks?
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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.
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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Image Credit: thebipolarized.com