―Beauty and the Beast's narration
The Beast is the male protagonist of Disney's 1991 film, Beauty and the Beast. 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.
Official Decsription Edit
Cursed by an enchantress because he has no love within his heart, a prince is transformed into a terrible beast. The fearful spell can only be broken when he truly learns to love - and can earn the love of another. But who can love a beast? All seems hopeless until fate brings Belle into his world. Angry and despairing due to his long enchantment, the Beast tries to capture Belle's love with fear, not kindness. Then slowly, through her courage and compassion, he begins to discover the secrets of his own heart and learns that even a beast can be loved.
From his first introduction, the Beast originally appeared to be irritable, temperamental and stubborn, and came off as very mean and serious. He had a very bitter and negative, extremely cynical outlook, and was quick to become frustrated and give up when things did not work his way, showing a spoiled side to his personality. According to commentary, as a side effect to the curse, he was somewhat primal and had a habit of animalistic behavior, from serious social regressions like growling and roaring when angry to arbitrary, slightly humorous traits like forgetting his table manners. The commentary also implied during the wolf attack scene that he was suicidal, or at least did not value his life too strongly, due to the hopelessness of ever breaking the curse. This was further supported in the Marvel Comics where Beast, after saving Belle and Chip after they were trapped in a very serious snowstorm, thanked Belle for saving his life, as her presence caused him to realize his own life was not "meaningless" after all.
Though he is stubborn and lacks manners, he is not without a kind side, and is described by animator Glen Keane 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". Once he begins to care for Belle after rescuing her from a pack of wolves, he becomes more agreeable and gentle. He even attempts to become civilized again for Belle's sake, relearning table manners and feeding birds. Learning to care for Belle also reveals a fiercely loyal side to him, as he was willing to give anything and everything to protect Belle and keep her happy, even if it meant sacrificing his own happiness by letting her leave him. He also appeared to feel bad for Belle when he sent her father away without letting her say good-bye.
According to the commentary from producer Don Hahn, his spell is not just physical but psychological as well. The longer the Beast is under the spell, the more feral he becomes (meaning if he stays a beast longer, he becomes more like an animal). If Belle had never arrived at the castle, he would've eventually stopped speaking, walking upright, wearing clothes altogether, and would've gone to live in the woods to fend for himself.
Chris Sanders is responsible for helping come up with the design of the Beast. He went from insect forms, avian forms and fish forms until he finally got the right design. The Beast is not of any one species of animal, but a chimera, 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.
Originally, the Beast is seen shirtless, 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 wine red 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. In the climax, he is shown wearing a mixture of the above, tattered pants, his red cape, as well as a white undershirt, which ended up ripped due to his fight with Gaston, especially when he was stabbed to death.
As opposed to his monstrous form, the Beast's human form is that of a tall and slender young man (though not as tall as the height of the Beast). He has auburn hair, and soft cream colored skin while also retaining his bright blue eyes. Other than the immediate aftermath of his regaining his human form (wearing the clothes he wore as the Beast at that time), he is only ever seen in a more "human" version of his ballroom attire, simply with a pair of added dress boots.
According to the Audio Commentary from The Beauty and The Beast Diamond Edition, it is stated that not a lot of effort was put into the design. The creators claimed that regardless of what he looked like, they felt the majority of those who watched the film would likely end up not liking his human appearance, simply because he no longer felt like the character whom the viewers bonded with through the film. And it is for that same reason most merchandising featuring the Beast tries to aim for the use of his Beast Form, not his human form. This is also why Beast's human form rarely ever appears as a Meet-and-Greet Character at the Disney Parks, as most patrons prefer to interact with the Beast.