Long ago, in a far away kingdom, there lived a selfish and cruel Prince. When an old woman arrived at his doorstep, he turned her away without a second thought as he was raised a spoiled young man. In a flash the woman transformed herself into a beautiful enchantress after realizing his heart was filled with darkness. The prince begged for mercy, but the enchantress had already determined he needed to be taught a lesson, so she turned him into a hideous beast; to undo his curse, the beast had to allow his heart to fall in love and to earn love in return before his 21st birthday. The tale of Beauty and the Beast is familiar to us all except for the origin of the enchantress. Is she someone we have seen before? Or is she someone completely new?
Was the enchantress’s decision to curse the Beast to teach him a less or to make him suffer? Whether her motivations were to benefit the future of the kingdom or to torture the cold hearted is a determination we need to make to allow us to narrow our search for the enchantress’s identity.
To begin, cursing the Beast and his subjects, including innocent children like Chip, seems to reveal dark intentions. It appears unfair and unhelpful to damage the lives of faithful servants. In addition, the Beast seems a little young to deserve such a terrible curse. Since Lumiere explains they have been rusting for ten years, and the rose will wilt when the Beast turns 21, then that means he was cursed as an eleven year old!
But I don’t think the enchantress is evil. I don’t even think she meant to turn him into a beast. The Beast transforms into the physical manifestation of his behavior. His appearance derives from how he is perceived by other people and since he is almost only around his servants that means his servants believed he was a monster. If the Beast was cursed by creating him into what his servants thought of him, then this would explain why his servants turned into furniture and utensils: that’s all the Beast believed his servants were. They were merely objects to him. I think the curse was suppose to show the servants and the prince how they were seen by one another. Maybe the enchantress knew something like the kingdom’s situation would occur, but nothing could have prepared her for the monster that manifested from the prince.
Furthermore, the curse did teach the prince and his kingdom a valuable lesson. The kingdom was saved in the end and they are better because of it; the Beast’s heart changed along with his servants. It was unfair to curse all of his subjects, but their transformation brought them closer and appeared to not take away from their time on earth; the curse merely pressed pause. We know this because Chip looks like a 7 or 8 year old when the curse is broken and if the curse truly began 11 years ago, then this shows he was frozen in time. Although the servants never got a say in the curse or deserved to be manipulated by magic there lives were not harmed because of it.
The enchantress had the best intentions cursing the kingdom, so then who could she be? Let’s look for someone who has behaved like the enchantress in another Disney film. Is there an individual who disguised themselves as an elderly person to reveal the nature of an individual’s heart?
In the live action “Cinderella” from 2015, the fairy godmother does just this! In Cinderella’s darkest moment, the godmother begs for a gift of milk, and when Cinderella does so she reveals the kindness in her heart. To reward her for her kind nature she uses her magic to allow her to make her dreams come true.
Could it be? Is the enchantress a fairy godmother? Let’s look at the similarities. Both Cinderella and the Beast are approached originally by an old lady who seeks the true nature of each of their hearts. When they both expose their hearts, the magical women reveal themselves in grand fashion and use their powers on the individuals. Furthermore, they both are given magical items. Cinderella had the gown and slippers while the Beast was given a mirror to see the outside world and an enchanted rose. And finally, they both are given time requirements to the magic placed upon them. For Cinderella, midnight ends her time at the ball and the Beast will take on the monstrous form forever after his 21st birthday.
Not convinced? Consider this. Fairy Godmothers protect dreams. They provide individuals with the tools to rise out of the worst points in people’s lives or to achieve their dreams when they believed they never could. When King Stefan’s daughter is cursed by the wicked Maleficent, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather step up to protect Princess Aurora. After Gepetto wishes upon a star, the Blue fairy gives him a son because of years of showing his kind hearted nature. These magical protectors live with a common goal; to gift magic to those who need it.
The Beast was cursed by an enchantress who is his fairy godmother. At his most self obsessed moment in his life a magical women looked inside his soul and saw darkness. To save him from himself and change his kingdom for the better, she cursed the land. The enchantress gave him a situation that may have been hard, but provided the kingdom an unforgettable lesson; beauty is within. The Beast’s fairy godmother’s magic may not have been used to instantly make his life perfect and wonderful like in some of the other cases but nonetheless she did bring him to his happily ever after.