Belle, the heroine of the wonderful story we all know and love: Beauty and the Beast. Let’s examine Belle’s character traits: adventurous, opinionated, feminine, caring, kind, tender, loving, virtuous, intelligent, confident, open-minded and last but certainly not least, an extrovert. As you can see, Belle is quite the model woman.
Belle is adventurous, intelligent, and open-minded. She is constantly reading which shows she wants to know what is beyond the walls of her little village. She longs for a life that is not the “provincial life” that she is leading thus far. Books and Belle’s imagination are her outlet to the world until she is able to leave and see everything with her own eyes. Reading also enhances one’s vocabulary and knowledge of many subjects.
Belle is also caring, tender, loving, and overall a virtuous young woman. She loves her widowed father Maurice very dearly. She encourages him to persevere in his inventions even though the rest of the town thinks he is just crazy. She takes care of him and the small house they live in. In order to protect him, she sacrifices herself as the Beasts prisoner. Belle gives up on all her dreams to save Maurice from rotting away in a deep dark dungeon. If this doesn’t show such love for her father, I am not sure what does. After the Beast saves Belle’s life she saw past his mean and ugly front and saw a creature in need of help,so she took him back to the castle to nurse his injuries. All her interactions with the staff of the castle are very pleasant, and Belle never has an unkind word to say to them.
Belle is a very confident woman. First, she does not really care about the villagers opinion of her because she is comfortable in her own skin. Gaston, the pompous and boorish man of the town, thinks he could get any woman in the village but chooses Belle because she is the most beautiful. However, Belle has standards that Gaston does not reach. She is confident enough to keep those standards and to turn his advances and marriage proposal down.
With all these traits we can see that Belle is one of many virtuous extroverted heroines. Now the cartoon embodies all of Belle’s best qualities, I find that Belle in the new live-action movie starring Emma Watson, does not.
First, Belle’s big personality really comes out in her singing voice. It is clear, strong, and confident sounding. Emma Watson’s voice was just not enough for the part. I found it too weak for such a strong, feminine character. Next we have the scene where Belle is cleaning the Beast’s wounds. In the live-action the Beast and Belle argue about how the situation could have been avoided. Instead of continuing to help the Beast, Belle gets annoyed and walks away. With Belle’s tender and loving nature, she never would have walked away from someone who was in need of assistance. Even if the Beast was being difficult Belle wouldn’t have allowed it to get to her. Emma Watson put a feminist attitude into Belle’s character. Belle is not a feminist. She is virtuous, feminINE, and has a mind of her own. Yes, some would think that is what makes up a feminist, but it does not. I believe that Watson did not bring enough virtue and femininity to the character. Belle’s wardrobe in the newest version of the story was also not great. Watson refused to wear a corset for the part because of her feminist opinions. Even though women in the 1700’s wore corsets, so it would have been historically appropriate to dress for the time of the story. Belle’s dress was constantly tucked up in her bloomers, with her bloomers showing, and looked somewhat thrown together. Sure it seems like a small detail but it takes away from her feminine side. As a woman, Belle should try to look her best even with the simple clothing she possessed. Also it was simply annoying and not with the times.
With that, I find I am similar to Belle. We share some of the same extroverted qualities. I am sure there are many extroverted people who can identify with the beautiful, confident, and loving Belle.