ByTisha Mae Eaton, writer at
Verified Creator. I like a little bit of everything. Resident know-it-all of all things Disney
Tisha Mae Eaton

While many view it as a classic, and fans have been waiting with growing anticipation for the release of the live-action version, some people take issue with . Why? They believe that its portrayal of the story shows Belle may have Stockholm syndrome and fell in love with her abusive captor for that reason.

Credit: Disney
Credit: Disney

By definition, Stockholm syndrome is a condition "that causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captors as a survival strategy during captivity." After all, the Beast captured both her father as well as herself and locked her in a tower. He yelled at her near-constantly, either when she wouldn't have dinner with him or when she went into the forbidden West Wing. It is easy to see where fans may get the idea that the Beast was abusive, and that Belle just grew fond of him as a defense mechanism, thus falling in love with him, as a means of self-preservation.

Credit: Disney
Credit: Disney

It seems even more likely when you look at the four components that psychologists say are present in a person suffering from Stockholm syndrome:

  • Development of positive feelings toward a captor
  • No previous relationship with the captor
  • Refusal to testify against or work with authorities against their captor
  • Belief in the humanity of their captor

See f you swap out "authorities" with "the village's angry mob," can see why people have taken this darker view of Beauty and the Beast over the years.

But when asked by People mag about whether or not she believes that Belle has Stockholm syndrome, was very adamant that that was not the case:

"Stockholm syndrome is where a prisoner will take on the characteristics of, and fall in love with, in this really strange way, their captor. Belle actively argues and disagrees with [the Beast] constantly. She has none of the characteristics of someone with Stockholm syndrome. Because she keeps her independence. She keeps her independence of mind."

She does make an excellent point there. In watching the original film, you'll notice she only begins to soften with the Beast once he starts to have less of a temper and acts, in Mrs. Potts' words, "more like a gentleman." She saves him because he rescued her, and being the kind heart that she is, she can't just leave him out in the snow after the wolf attack. It is her choice to go back, not the Beast forcing her, both after the attack and when she returns to warn the Beast about Gaston and the villagers.

You can see the rest of the interview here.

See Also:


Is Belle really just someone with a bad case of Stockholm Syndrome?

[Source: Entertainment Weekly]


Latest from our Creators