Who is Gaston?
In Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’, Gaston is the main antagonist who tries to force Belle, the main protagonist, to marry him. After sending her father away, he tries to kill The Beast, even after Belle has clearly explained that he isn't at all harmful. Gaston is arrogant, misogynist, violent and a total meat head.
So let’s start off with why Gaston is NOT the villain.
He’s right to want to kill The Beast.
One of the main things that makes Gaston the villain in the story is that he tries to kill The Beast despite Belle’s best efforts to explain that The Beast is harmless and actually a good guy. One would argue that Gaston is only basing his judgement on appearances, and as you know, you can’t judge a book by its cover!
So, in the story Belle’s crazy old father, Maurice, gets lost on his travels and ends up imprisoned in The Beast's castle for no rational reason. Belle goes to find him and takes his place. When Maurice returns for the village he seeks Gaston’s help but, naturally, Gaston doesn’t believe him until Belle returns to the village to tell THE ENTIRE VILLAGE about The Beast.
To Gaston, The Beast is an ugly monster that captured the love of his life and her father. The Beast is a threat to the village and its people. Gaston is the village hero and hunter. He wants to protect the woman he loves and his community. And yeah, he does seem excited about hunting The Beast, but fair enough! That’s his job! He’s just doing his job! I’m a youth worker, so I get excited about working with teenagers and many people think I’m insane because, frankly, teenagers are hard work!
In a lot of stories and films we see people perceive a threat to society, who then try to neutralize the threat without attempting to understand it, too quick to brandish 'others' as ‘villains’. We do exactly the same with spiders and insects! Here’s a few examples in other movies:
Frollo and Quasimodo
The Government and Superman
The Government and The Hulk
The Government and… other Governments…
And there is one guy who does exactly this and we’re all okay with it!
NICK GODDAMN FURY!
That’s right! In ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ he gets shield to create heli-carriers that kill people before they commit crimes. Yeah, Hydra was behind it, but he was okay with it!
And you’re okay with it! Wanna know why? Because he’s played by Samuel L Jackson. Who starred as your favourite character in your FAVOURITE MOVIE!
If you think Gaston is a villain, systematically you like ‘The Phantom Menace’. But if you don’t then you agree with me! Have some grey stuff!
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
Another reason why Gaston is perceived as the villain in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is because he’s seen as a real arsehole to Belle.
But if you think about it, he does love Belle. He wants to marry her! He could have anyone else! He could have one of The Bimbettes!
But he chooses Belle! Why? Because she’s beautiful and smart! Yeah, he makes fun of her for being an intellectual, but that’s like the only main quality that sets Belle apart from anyone else. Gaston might not realise it, but he wants someone who’s intelligent. Gaston is the muscular fighter, and he wants a smart, caring, creative half to complete him!
I mean, in the entire village he literally only has two options to do this…
And you’ve gotta remember, even though Gaston would be a total dick in modern society, back in the olden days this is how you would treat and court women. I’m not saying I agree with his ‘methods,’ but contextually it’s socially acceptable. It’s why Belle and Maurice are ridiculed by the village for coming up with crazy concepts like feminism and science.
And it’s all about perspective! Maybe we’ll see a different side to Gaston when Luke Evens played him in the live action version we’re getting in a couple of years.
Gaston could have been the hero. It’s totally logical for him to want to kill The Beast. And for context, he’s probably the most rational person in the village, even France and maybe THE WORLD!
Plus, The Beast is the real villain here. It’s his entire fault!
DON’T ANSWER THE DOOR TO STRANGERS!
OH! And one last point that really just ties the knot with the whole thing…
He uses antlers in all his decorating.