Gaston owns a pub. The Beast owns a kingdom. Gaston is bad. The Beast is good. Gaston learns to hate, and the Beast learns to love. They seem so different on the surface, but in reality they share many more similarities. Hello I’m Isaac from Wotso Videos where we discuss fun topics for fun people and today we are going to examine how Gaston and the Beast began their lives as similar people and why they ended up with such different endings.
Are people more likely to lean towards becoming heroes or villains? Are villains destined to to be despicable or are the events they experience the reason they traverse down that path? Sociologists, psychologists and biologists have been arguing for decades on weather nature or nurture is the primary determinant of a person’s personality. When I say nature I am referring to the genetics of a person and the traits they have accumulated from their heritage, the things people are born with, while nurture is how someone is raised in the midst of a society.
When Gaston and the Beast began their lives they are depicted as possessing identical personalities and traits. Gaston ostentatiously puffed his chest and was praised by the town for his masculinity and his robust nature; the town was at his whim. The Beast was allowed to rule over his servants like a tyrant with little consequences and he had the resources to do whatever he pleased with little regard for anyone around him. Both men ruled their domains; even with their identical extreme tempers.
When Gaston is rejected by Belle he turns to bribery and manipulation. When the Beast has someone invited into his home by his servants he forces the visitor be his eternal prisoner; both men have extreme anger issues and nothing makes them angrier than someone opposing them and their masculinity. Anger with beast and gastons face. Both men even enjoy animals in all of their decorating! In addition, they grew some serious amounts of hair, lived with machismo and ego, continued their command and vied for the affections of the beautiful Belle… uhh Belle… does she have a last name? What the heck?! Does anyone have a last name?
At their young age it appears Gaston and the Beast were born with similar behaviors, but they diverged because of how they were nurtured after their early years. As Gaston gets older he becomes…. An older Gaston. He eats more eggs, becomes the size of a barge and holds a great deal of influence over the town. Everyone wants the best for their most respected male citizen. The town even plays into his plot to blackmail Belle to marry him and they go to war against an enchanted kingdom; this town is straight bonkers and they are at Gaston’s fingertips.
The only time Gaston is told his behavior is unacceptable is by Belle, but his response is to cast her aside as odd with rest of the town. He not only plays into the social norms expected of him but takes these norms to knew levels. Gaston is truly the bread winner non thinker which the town has asked all of the male citizens to be. With little opposition to his actions and strong reputation, Gaston continues to grow his ego.
Then there’s the Beast. Because of the Beast’s cruelty to the enchantress because of her appearance, the Beast is cast into a hairier monster than Gaston to mirror the Beast’s personality. The servants still support their master, but that may be because he is the only person who can break the spell; after all he was the person that got them into the rigmarole.
For years after his transformation, the Beast must deal with his ugly appearance and the constant reminder of his toxic behavior furthering his frustration but pushing him towards the realization he should change his ways. When Belle falls into the Beast’s life, he is taken aback by her intellect and kind nature; she sees beyond his appearance and discovers his potential. The Beast learns to think beyond his own desires to help his loved ones, even if that means remaining in the shell of his former self. At the beginning of his life, the Beast’s royal status supported his egotistical nature and need for control, but through his love for Belle he learned he had the ability to change who he was; the Beast realized he could become a man by loving something more than himself.
Both men are the same by nature’s definition. There personalities in their youthful state prior to the influence of their current society mirrored each other meaning they began with similar heritable traits, but when they finally met for the first time we see their personalities have drastically diverged.
Under the admiration of the French town, Gaston learned to be a narcissist while the Beast learned he could give his heart to another after years of feeling ashamed of himself and through the support from Belle. One of the only values they still shared was their need to protect what they believed in; the Beast fought to protect Belle while Gaston fought to protect his honor. When they clash on top of the castle, it is not just two men fighting for the affection of a girl, they are representing the opposing ideologies of this time in history. The social norm versus the deviant. The inflated ego versus the humble. A beast versus a man.