Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Brief Intro

“Beauty and the Beast” (1991) is a beloved animated musical romance film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation. Directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, it tells the story of a young woman named Belle who is imprisoned by a beast in his castle, only to discover that he is an enchanted prince. The film is celebrated for its charming characters, enchanting music, and profound messages about love and inner beauty.

Literary Devices Used in Beauty and the Beast

Here are ten literary devices used in the film, with specific mentions for each device in various scenes.

1. Symbolism

Movie SceneDevice Example
The Rose in the Beast’s CastleThe rose symbolizes the Beast’s time running out to break the spell.
Belle’s BookThe book symbolizes Belle’s longing for adventure and a life beyond her village.

2. Foreshadowing

Movie SceneDevice Example
The opening prologue about the Prince’s curseForeshadows the Beast’s transformation.
Belle’s father getting lost in the woodsForeshadows Belle’s journey to the castle.

3. Irony

Movie SceneDevice Example
Belle, considered odd by her village, finds magic and adventure.Irony of Belle finding the life she desires by being different.
Gaston, the town hero, becomes the villain.Dramatic irony in Gaston’s transformation from hero to antagonist.

4. Metaphor

Movie SceneDevice Example
The Beast’s transformationMetaphor for inner beauty and redemption.
Belle’s description of the villageThe “quiet village” represents her mundane life.

5. Allusion

Movie SceneDevice Example
References to classic fairy talesThe film alludes to stories like “Cinderella” and “Sleeping Beauty”.
Gaston’s song referencing Greek mythologyAllusion to Hercules and other Greek heroes.

6. Imagery

Movie SceneDevice Example
The ballroom dance sceneVivid imagery of romance and magic.
The enchanted objects’ musical numberColorful and lively imagery bringing objects to life.

7. Personification

Movie SceneDevice Example
The enchanted objects (Lumière, Cogsworth)Inanimate objects with human traits.
The castle’s furniturePersonified to enhance the magical atmosphere.

8. Hyperbole

Movie SceneDevice Example
Gaston’s boastful song about himselfExaggeration of his abilities and charm.
The Beast’s roar when angryExaggerated to emphasize his monstrous nature.

9. Simile

Movie SceneDevice Example
Belle describing the Beast’s eyes“Eyes like the sea after a storm.”
Gaston’s song comparing Belle to the most beautiful girl“More beautiful than a rose.”

10. Allegory

Movie SceneDevice Example
The Beast’s transformationAllegory of redemption and change.
The villagers’ attack on the castleAllegory of fear of the unknown.

Character Analysis Through Literary Devices

1. Belle

SymbolismBelle’s books symbolize her desire for knowledge and adventure.
MetaphorBelle’s beauty represents not just physical attractiveness but inner virtue and intelligence.

2. Beast

AllegoryThe Beast’s transformation is an allegory for personal growth and redemption.
IronyThe ironic contrast between his monstrous exterior and kind heart.

3. Gaston

HyperboleGaston’s boastful nature is exaggerated to highlight his arrogance.
IronyThe dramatic irony of Gaston being the true beast of the story.

Character Dynamics

ForeshadowingBelle and Beast’s initial hostility foreshadows their eventual understanding and love.
SymbolismThe enchanted objects’ efforts to bring Belle and the Beast together symbolize hope and unity.

Thematic Analysis

Love and Inner Beauty

MetaphorThe Beast’s transformation as a metaphor for seeing beyond appearances.
SymbolismThe rose as a symbol of love and the passage of time.

Redemption and Transformation

AllegoryThe Beast’s journey from a cursed prince to a redeemed man.
ForeshadowingThe prologue setting up the Beast’s need for redemption.

Prejudice and Fear of the Unknown

IronyThe villagers’ fear of the Beast despite their own monstrous behavior.
SymbolismThe castle representing the unknown and fearsome exterior hiding something beautiful within.

Cinematic Techniques That Enhance Literary Devices

Visual and Sound Techniques

Literary DeviceTechniqueExplanation
SymbolismLightingSoft lighting during the ballroom scene enhances the romantic symbolism.
PersonificationAnimationThe lively animation of the enchanted objects brings personification to life.
ForeshadowingMusicOminous music during the prologue foreshadows the curse.

Key Scene Analysis

Scene Selection and Breakdown

  1. Ballroom Dance Scene: Watch on YouTube
    • Analysis: This scene uses vivid imagery and symbolism to highlight the romantic development between Belle and the Beast. The grand visuals and sweeping music enhance the magical and transformative nature of their relationship.
  2. Be Our Guest: Watch on YouTube
    • Analysis: The lively and colorful animation in this scene exemplifies personification and hyperbole, bringing the enchanted objects to life and showcasing their personalities.
  3. The Transformation Scene: Watch on YouTube
    • Analysis: This pivotal scene uses allegory and metaphor to depict the Beast’s redemption and transformation. The dramatic music and lighting emphasize the significance of this moment.


To test your understanding of the literary devices used in “Beauty and the Beast,” take this interactive quiz:

Interactive Quiz:

  1. What literary device is used with the enchanted rose?
  2. Which character’s development is most associated with redemption?
    • A) Belle
    • B) Gaston
    • C) Beast
    • D) Lumière
  3. What does Gaston’s song primarily use to characterize him?
  4. The castle’s interior representing the unknown is an example of which device?