Study Guide

Beauty and the Beast Identity

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The last time you had an identity crisis, it was probably something along the lines of "I'm not as generous/good-looking/amusing/klutzy as I thought I was." In this film, it's more of an "I was a human being, but now it looks like I'm a lamp/teapot/cup/hideous beast" sort of thing. Identity is a lot more than personality; it's how we think about ourselves.

There are some serious identity challenges in Beauty and the Beast, namely for all those castle residents who lost the most fundamental identity of all. The Beast's struggle to regain a human identity is what drives our plot. The message? We form our identity in relationships. It's our interaction with others that ultimately shows us who we really are.

Questions About Identity

  1. Whose identities change during the course of the film? Whose stay the same?
  2. Which aspects of the Beast and the servants remain unchanged even when they go through their various transformations?
  3. Why is Gaston's identity so dangerous? How is it defined by other people more than himself?
  4. Does the ability to change identities speak well or ill about the characters who do? Why or why not?

Chew on This

Identity is ultimately defined by the characters themselves, who determine what and who they are.

Identity is largely determined by outside factors, and the characters can only adapt to what's imposed on them by others.

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