We all know the backstory to the Disney film “Beauty and the Beast”. An old woman visits the great castle of a rich and haughty prince. She begs for shelter from the cold outside, but in his arrogance he shuns her and sends her away. Being more than an old lady, the woman shows her true form, a great, beautiful, and powerful enchantress. She punishes the cruel prince by placing a curse on him and his home, turning him into a horrid beast and the staff into the furniture they tended to. She also gave him a rose, which was his lifeline. If he found TRUE love before it wilted, he would be free of the curse. It seems like the story of a bad man being set into his place and taught a lesson. But is that all there is to it? Not at all.
The curse stated that the rose would wilt on the beast’s 21st birthday. That’s not very old at all, and we know that the beast has been there for a while, so it has been a few years since the curse was placed upon him. But how long are we talking?
Well, if you go by the lyrics of “be our guest”, Lumierre states that they have been rusting for “ten years”. Its a very specific time frame. Some may say he’s being metaphorical, but if he were surely he would say many years or something less specific, but he doesn’t. He specifically says ten years. Since the rose wilts during the timeframe of the film, I think it’s easy to say that this proves that the prince must have only been 12 at the oldest, depending on how much time takes passes during the film.
Now let us look at the enchantress again. She curses not a noble and arrogant prince who should know better and deserves what he got, but a bratty kid who was just being a kid. He sees an old lady at the door asking for shelter, offering a rose, and he says no. He was a brat, yes, but surely no more than other kids, and definitely not deserving being cursed to be a beast for so long. The enchantress in the introduction is just as wicked and cruel as any Disney Villain in any other film, and the facts that prove it are right there in the film. No digging, no stretching the facts, no interpretations. It’s all there, and if you know that, it also lets you see the film in a different light.
The beast was 11 or 12 when cursed, then he locked himself away from the world. Keep this in mind and now think about how he acts. During the snowball fight, when he fails at eating correctly, or even when he gets angry at Belle going into the old wing. When you factor his age into it, it all makes a lot more sense. He has been alone with his transformed staff for so long that he never really grew up. Inside, he IS still a child. Belle shows him how to grow up. That, in the end, is the story of Beauty and the Beast.