The Beast is one of the two main protagonists of Disney's 1991 hit film Beauty and the Beast and its midquels. As the film is based on the traditional fairy tale of the same name, the Beast is based on the corresponding character from that fairy tale.
The Beast is voiced in all of his movies and video appearances by Robby Benson. While his true name is never mentioned in the media franchise, it has been confirmed by the CD-ROM tie-in game The D Show that his real name is Prince Adam.
Appearance and PersonalityEdit
In the original tale, the Beast is seen wants to be kind hearted for the most part, and gentleman-like, with only an occasional tendency to be hot-tempered. In Disney's variant of the tale, the Beast originally appeared to be constantly angry and depressed. As opposed to his original counterpart, the creators gave him a more primal nature to his personality, which truly exploited his character as an untamed animal. To reflect his early personality, the Beast is seen shirt-less, with ragged, dark gray breeches, and a ragged reddish-colored cape with a golden colored circular-shaped clasp. Despite the actual color of his cape being a dark reddish color, The Beast's cape is more often referenced to be purple. The reason for this change in color is unknown, although the most likely reason is because the color purple is often associated with royalty. After the Beast saves Belle from a pack of wolves, his dress-style changes, reflecting a more refined personality. His dress style becomes more disciplined, and the most referenced form of dress is his ballroom outfit, which consisted of a golden vest over a white dress shirt with a white kerchief, black dress pants trimmed with gold, and a navy blue ballroom tail coat trimmed with gold, worn during the film's ballroom dance sequence. Upon his reform under his love interest Belle, his personality changes to refined, but naive about the world at the same time.
Supervising animator Glen Keane describes the Beast as "a twenty-one-year-old guy who's insecure, wants to be loved, wants to love, but has this ugly exterior and has to overcome this".
The Beast is not of any one species of animal, but a mixture of several animals. He has the head structure and horns of a buffalo, the arms and body of a bear, the eyebrows of a gorilla, the jaws, teeth, and mane of a lion, the tusks of a wild boar and the legs and tail of a wolf. He also bears resemblance to mythical monsters like the Minotaur or a werewolf. In the original versions, he was described more like a cross between a lion and a mythical animal. He also has blue eyes, the one physical feature that does not change whether he is a beast or a human.
Prince Adam was a handsome young prince lived in a luxurious castle in France who had everything he wanted and as a result he was a selfish and spoiled human. One night, on Christmas Eve, his kindness is put to the test when a beggar woman comes to the castle and asks for shelter from the freezing cold, with a single rose as payment. Repulsed by her appearance, he sneers at the simple but beautiful gift. The woman begs again, and he still refuses. When he shuns the beggar woman for her repulsive appearance, her ugliness melts away and then reveals her true form: as a beautiful (and powerful) Enchantress . Seeing her beauty and realizing her power, the Prince tries to apologize. But, it is too late, for she had seen in her disguise that there was no love in his heart. As punishment for his cold heart, she turns him into a terrifying beast-like creature. She also casts a ghastly curse on the entire castle, transforming it into a dark, foreboding place, its lush green grounds into dangerous immortal wolf-infested woods, and the good-natured servants into anthropomorphic household objects to reflect their different personalities. Ashamed of his new appearance, the Beast conceals himself inside his castle with a magic mirror as his only window to the outside world.
Years later, when Beast locks Maurice, an old man in the tower as a prisoner for trespassing (actually allowed inside by the servants for shelter), his daughter, Belle, confronts Beast and pleads with him to let her father go, on the condition that she herself is a prisoner instead. The Beast accepts, under the further condition that she remain in the castle forever. Beast comes to appreciate Belle when she tends to his wounds after he saves her from the wolves, and strikes up a friendship with her. Eventually, he falls in love with her, and placing her happiness before his own, he releases her to tend to her sick father.
A lynch mob comes to kill the Beast, led by a rival suitor named Gaston. Gaston eventually finds Beast, and the two fight. The battle ends in a stalemate: the Beast is mortally stabbed and Gaston falls from the castle roof to his apparent death. Belle comes to tend to the Beast's wounds, but he succumbs to his injuries. Belle's love for him breaks the spell, and he is revived and turned back into the prince. The next day, a ball is held to celebrate their victory.
In the midquel, which takes place not long after the Beast rescued Belle from the wolves, much to Beast's frustration, Belle wants to celebrate Christmas and throw a real Christmas party. Beast hates the idea of Christmas, for it was the very day ten years ago when the Enchantress cast the spell on him and the entire castle - he also was ungrateful for his gift that day, a storybook. While Beast sits most of the preparations out, a treacherous servant plots to have Belle thrown out of the castle: Forte the Pipe Organ, since he is far more appreciated by the Beast while under the spell.
Unknown to Beast, Belle writes him a special book which he doesn't see until later on. She also meets Forte later on in a chance meeting. Forte tells her that Beast's favorite Christmas tradition when he was a child... was the Christmas tree. Belle becomes frustrated, for no tree she has seen on the grounds has been tall enough to hang ornaments. Forte lies to Belle, saying that a perfect tree can be found in the woods beyond the castle. Reluctant to go against Beast's orders that she never leave the castle, Belle leaves nonetheless in order to find the perfect tree. When Belle does not arrive to see Beast's Christmas present to her, he begins to suspect that she isn't there at all. When Cogsworth, having been ordered to retrieve Belle, explains that the household cannot find her, Beast becomes enraged. He goes to Forte to ask for advice, and Forte lies that Belle has abandoned him. Beast confronts Belle in the woods and saves her in time from drowning, since she fell through thin ice.
Still believing that Belle disobeyed him by leaving the grounds, Beast throws her into the dungeons. But when Forte goads him into destroying the rose to end his suffering, Beast finds Belle's book in the West Wing and reads it, coming to his senses and realizing that all Belle wants is for him to be happy. Releasing Belle from the dungeon, Beast prepares to join in the Christmas festivities. But Forte doesn't give up and even goes as far as to attempt to destroy the entire castle with Beethoven's 5th. Fortunately, Beast finds him in time and destroys his keyboard with Franz Schubert's Symphony No 8. Losing his balance (and his pipes), Forte falls from the wall he is leaned up against and is silenced forever. When the whole castle is turned back into humans, the Prince and Belle give Chip, Mrs. Potts' son, a book to read, which he loves. As the Prince and Belle come out to the balcony, he gives her something too: a rose.
In the final entry of the franchise, made up of four segments from a presumably failed television series, Belle teaches the Beast a thing or two about life itself, consideration and manners. He appears only in the first and fourth segments, and in a cameo in the third. In the first part, The Perfect Word, Beast and Belle have a bitter falling out at dinner when the Beast demands that Cogsworth open the windows to cool him down, despite the fact that he is the only one hot and there is a cold wind, and angrily strikes his servant, Webster, a long-tongued dictionary. Despite Lumiere and Cogsworth's pleas, Beast refuses to apologise for his behavior, until Webster, Crane and LePlume forge a letter of apology from the Beast to Belle. All is settled, until the Beast realizes that it was a forgery. He furiously banishes Webster, Crane and LePlume from the castle, but Belle brings them back from the woods, and the Beast soon learns to forgive them, as their intentions were good.
In the 4th part, The Broken Wing, the Beast loses his temper with Belle again when she brings an injured bird into the castle, as he dislikes birds. As he tries to chase the bird out, however, he falls over on the stairs and hits his head hard, stripping him of his hatred for birds. However, his selfishness still remains, and he locks the bird in a cage in his room, demanding that it sing for him whenever he demands it. The bird, terrified, refuses, until Belle teaches the Beast that the bird will only sing when happy. The Beast lets the bird out, and learns to consider others before himself.
Earlier on, in the third segment, Mrs. Potts' Party, the Beast makes several cameos sleeping in his bed in the West Wing. Dialogue between Lumiere and Cogsworth shows that he had spent the entire previous night mending leaks in the castle roof, and is still resting. An argument between Lumiere and Cogsworth about Mrs. Potts' favourite flowers lead to them having to hide several bunches of flowers around the Beast's bed. At one point, the Beast begins to smell one of the flowers and almost wakes up, but it is removed just in time, and he falls asleep again.
- The Beast is the first male character in a Disney fairy tale to have a role that is equally as significant as the female protagonists'.
- The Beast's actual name isn't revealed in the film.
- The Beast is the first male protagonist to not "save" his female counterpart near the film's climax. He does, however, save Belle from a vicious wolf attack roughly at the film's turning point.
- Casting of the Beast was a true challenge, considering the fact the directors were searching for someone who could alternate between a deep, gruff and rather uninviting voice to a soft, warm and prince-like tone. When Robby Benson surprisingly auditioned for the role, the casting directors were both shocked and pleased, and immediately cast him for the role.
- The Beast in the original fairy tale had a generally welcoming personality, unlike in the film version. The directors felt changing this aspect would help add dimension to the Beast, but also promote the film's primary moral "True beauty comes from within."