- “He's handsome, all right, and rude and conceited. Oh, Papa, he's not for me.”
- ―Belle expressing her dislike for Gaston to her father
Gaston is the main antagonist of Disney's 1991 animated feature film Beauty and the Beast.
Physical Description Edit
As noted throughout the film, he possessed an extremely athletic build, a double chin, and possessed a handsome appearance. His hair was long and tied into a ponytail. He possessed icy blue eyes. He generally wore yellow hunting gloves, although he discarded them by the midpoint. He also wore a red tunic and black tights, alongside boots. He also wore a cape during cold evenings and his final battle with the Beast. He also had a lot of hair on his chest.
During the failed wedding attempt, Gaston wore a red tailcoat trimmed with gold fabric, a waistcoat, breeches and even black boots, and also had white tights.
As a child, his hair was slightly disheveled with its ends standing on top, although he retained the ponytail. In addition, he possessed freckles, and his outfit consisted of a shirt, pants, and elf-shoes.
Gaston is strong and handsome, and exploited these traits to the fullest. He is very popular in his village, who seem unaware of his true nature (Gaston reprise in the original film notwithstanding), and this serves to fuel his already massive ego. A narcissist who sees himself as superior to everyone around him, Gaston is boorish, uncultured and sexist. He was also arrogant, as evidenced by his (in the original film) setting up a wedding before he even proposed to Belle under the expectation that she'd approve of becoming his wife, and later his fight against the Beast. However, his arrogance may have been justified due to his abilities. Despite his belief that thinking is "a dangerous pastime" (suggesting that he is anti-intellectual) however, Gaston is not unintelligent; in fact he is quite cunning which is emphasized twice in the story, showing that he is not all brawn and no brains. He comes up with a clever plan to get Belleto marry him by threatening to have her father, Maurice, thrown into an asylum, and when that plan is foiled by Belle showing the Beast with a magic mirror, Gaston simply improvises and quickly turns the tables by manipulating the villagers into forming a mob to kill the Beast.
However, in the film, he is also depicted as being very reckless in regards to planning, evident with the Gaston reprise where he managed to blurt out key details about his plan to blackmail Belle with the threat of locking her father up in front of a crowded tavern, and without indicating anything that would indicate it was either morally imperative or otherwise beneficial for anyone to follow the plan. His vocabulary skills are also slightly inconsistent: When Belle refers to Gaston as being "positively primeval" early in the film, the latter apparently takes it as a compliment, clearly not knowing what the term actually means. However, in the Gaston song, Gaston at one point accurately used the word "expectorating" in reference to his skills at spitting ("expectorating" being a more fancy way of saying the term "spit.").
Gaston's view of women is rather sexist considering the time period in which the movie takes place (1700s, pre-revolution France), and while he appears charming to most of the women of the village, such as The Bimbettes, Belle is the only woman in the entire town to be able to see him for what he really is from the start of the film on. Because of this, Gaston's attempts to charm Belle always fall flat because of his chauvinistic and boorish behavior. He believes that women should not be able to think for themselves or even get ideas, and even stamps Belle's book into the mud in an attempt to get her to focus on "more important things" such as himself. If he had actually succeeded in persuading her to marry him, he would have only treated her as if she were his property and as inferior to him (as was the case for marriages in those days) rather than as an equal (like most marriages today).
His sexism is also shown by the fact that he does not seem to even consider the possibility of having daughters with her as he states he wants "six or seven strapping boys" like himself. Gaston suffers from obsessive love which is shown by his intense infatuation with Belle. Indeed, he is so obsessed with her that he ignores all the other pretty women in the village who would be happy to be his "little wife," even ironically, those who technically matched Gaston's standards of how women should behave. When Gaston is singing about wanting to marry her in the opening song, he says "When I met her saw her I said she's gorgeous and I fell", implying that he fell in love for Belle at first sight. The Marvel Comics serial likewise strongly implied that he had feelings for Belle since they were children. Gaston is also adulterous (at least in the musical), as he states to Claudia and her sisters that his "rendezvouses" with the girls will continue after he marries Belle, which makes it clear that he does not know or care that marriage is a one-woman commitment or that is it supposed to be based on love and affection rather than ownership of property.
Gaston is incredibly arrogant and is convinced that he is powerful enough to defeat the Beast by himself. He even taunts the Beast, wanting him to fight back as he wants to prove that he can kill him in a fair fight. However, his arrogance makes him underestimate his opponent and once he realizes his life is on the line, his apparent façade disappears and will beg for his life when overwhelmed. Despite this, he was not arrogant enough to believe there was no risk to being killed by the Beast, as he freely admits that fighting the Beast does have the likelihood that he or the other villagers might very likely die during the Mob Song. Gaston is not above using underhanded tactics, which had earlier been implied with LeFou's claim about Gaston being "slick" as well as Gaston's admission about being good at "taking cheap shots," and confirmed when he shows himself to literally be a backstabber in his final moments, showing that he also cheats at things and breaks his promises.
He is extremely shallow, only loving Belle because of her physical beauty and assuming that the Beast is a monster based only on his physical appearance. Gaston not only sees the Beast as a monster, but also a rival for Belle's attention. Even when Belle points out that Gaston himself is the real monster, he dismisses her claim, thinking that she is "as crazy as the old man. He is also extremely petty and unfair because he does not want any other man to be with Belle, or for her to like him in any way at all. Apparently, he wants women all for himself, viewing them as property rather than as people.
At the start of the film and musical play, Gaston did not seem truly evil. Rather, he was simply conceited, male-chauvinistic, boorish and rude than a true villain, but as time goes on his pride and obsession with Belle becomes so intense that it turns him into a twisted, sadistic and murderous monster. His speech to get the mob to kill the Beast in order to protect the village is nothing more than a ploy to get them to help him infiltrate the castle. Gaston does not care about the village very much, even if he genuinely does believe that the Beast is a threat. All he wants is to kill his rival so he can have Belle as his property. By the time of his death, Gaston feels that if he can't have Belle, nobody can. In an earlier version of the story, he was even going to commit suicide after killing the Beast as he knew that no matter what he did, Belle would never love him.
In the Marvel Comics serial, his personality was largely the same as in the movie, albeit somewhat toned down. However, he ended up not acknowledging that the Bimbettes were in love with him other than in general terms, not taking the hint that they wanted him to return the love, which resulted in many of his plans being foiled. Despite it taking place after making plans with the Asylum Warden to falsely incarcerate Belle as well as forcing LeFou to remain on lookout for either Belle or Maurice's return, he seemed to come up, either by himself or with LeFou's input, with various plans to impress and get Belle to marry him, such as a wife auction, killing a bear, and going to the bookstore, implying that he may have put aside that plan temporarily. In addition, one of the plans had Gaston deciding against killing the bear immediately due to it hibernating, implying he was capable of honor, although mostly because he wanted to impress Belle. In addition, in the same issue, he also attempted to fight the bear head on when it was prematurely awoken by the Bimbettes (in a plan to stop Gaston from marrying Belle), although he got shoved out effortlessly.
Although Gaston was fully aware of his popularity with the women in the village, his actual interactions with the village females besides Belle varied between sources. In the film and comics, he largely ignored all of the females in favor of Belle, even specifically refusing all of the girls who sought to marry him as soon as he was informed by LeFou that Belle was among the people at a wife auction and then reacting with anger that "Belle" was actually one of the triplets, Laurette, in disguise in the case of the third issue of the Marvel Comics. It seems he only wants Belle, despite the fact every other girl loves him. In the musical, he was implied to have had "rendezvouses" with several of the women (specifically the Silly Girls), and has insinuated his intention of continuing them as postmarital affairs after he married Belle, again showing that he views marriage as a minor matter and he does not care about loyalty and commitment to one wife only.
Gaston is shown to possess a tremendous amount of physical strength, evidenced by his effortlessly lifting up a bench with three adult females (the Bimbettes) on it, as well as holding it up with only one hand. He later effortlessly rips off a stone ornament from the castle to use as a makeshift club during his battle with the Beast. He is also able to fire his blunderbuss with pinpoint accuracy, noted by LeFou proclaiming, "Wow! You didn't miss a shot, Gaston!" This, however, was briefly contradicted in the Marvel Comics, where he managed to miss a Rabbit despite it being fairly close by. In addition, he has proved that he is a skilled archer during the climax at the castle. He is also shown to be skilled at stealth attacks, as implied in the song "Gaston" with the lyrics: "No one's slick as Gaston," and confirmed when he manages to stab the Beast in the back while the latter was distracted with joy that Belle returned even though he had to climb up several areas to reach him.
As noted above, despite his otherwise revulsion to the idea of reading, ideas, and overall intelligence (specifically for wives), he is shown to be a somewhat skilled plotter, having come up with the blackmail idea. In addition, he also had decent enough observation skills to pick up the hint that Belle may have had feelings for the Beast just from a few subtle clues late into the film. He is also very good at manipulation; after discovering that Belle was in love with the Beast, he used the villagers' ignorance and prejudices (as well as his own popularity) to rally them into killing the Beast. Despite this, however, he has ultimately shown himself to be very reckless regarding his planning. This is especially evident in Gaston's reprise where he loudly divulged in a crowded tavern enough key details about his blackmail plan to have all but ensured that everyone knew his true nature.
Beauty and the Beast Edit
Gaston is the local hero of a small French village at an unknown point in French history (presumably the mid-to-late 18th century). He owns a large tavern where he and the villagers drink and talk. Inside, there is a large portrait of himself along with "trophies" from his hunt consisting mostly of animal antlers. He also says he eats five dozen eggs every morning to help make him "roughly the size of a barge" (even though he earlier mentions to Belle that he would have his latest kills roast over the fire).
He starts off in the film shooting down a waterfowl headed south with perfect accuracy (implying that he had just returned from a hunting trip) and declaring his intent to marry Belle after acknowledging from LeFou his popularity with the females in the village. He then started pursuing Belle throughout the village as she returns home after buying a book from the local bookstore. Their meeting starts off well, but Gaston's remarks about women reading and thinking drive Belle away from him, and she goes home, leaving him disappointed. In addition, Gaston, after LeFou, learning Belle was going to aid her father, mocked her father, scolded LeFou for mocking Maurice (although it was implied that he mostly did that in an attempt to impress Belle rather than out of any genuine concern for Maurice).
The next day, however, Gaston organizes a wedding outside Belle's cottage in an attempt to "surprise" her, complete with various decorations, a priest, and a wedding cake. He forces his way into the cottage and attempts to strong-arm her into marrying him, again making sexist remarks about women and housewifery (he even envisions the home they would live in as a "rustic" hunting lodge, with his latest kill roasting over the fire and Belle massaging his feet while their children—six or seven boys—play on the floor with their dogs). While he attempts to corner Belle, her using her wiles to keep him at bay, she manages to open the door that he has pinned her against. This causes him to lose his balance and fly headfirst into a large mud puddle (complete with cat-tail plants) in front of Belle's cottage, where we find out that a pig (Pierre) is there too. Furious and humiliated, Gaston storms off but not before vowing to make Belle his wife regardless of her refusals and throwing LeFou into the mud to boot.
Later, during a snowstorm, the villagers in the tavern, along with LeFou, sing a song about Gaston's greatness to cheer him up after being rejected by Belle. Maurice suddenly interrupts and warns the villagers about a monstrous beast who has locked up Belle as a prisoner in the tower of his castle. Thinking he is talking nonsense, the villagers throw him out of the tavern, but Gaston realizes that he can use Maurice's outrageous claim to his advantage. In a surprising display of animalistic cunning, he bribes the owner of the local asylum, Monsieur D'Arque, to threaten to throw Maurice into the asylum in order to pressure Belle into marrying him. While D'Arque realizes that even Maurice's nonsense about a beast and his odd inventions do not make him dangerous, he is willing to accept the bribe, mostly because he liked the despicability of the plot. Considering the management of asylums of the 18th century (the time that the film takes place), this is an extremely harsh threat. However, just before Gaston and LeFou barge into Belle and Maurice's cottage, Maurice left for the castle on his own. Gaston orders LeFou stay outside the cottage and wait for their return.
When Belle and Maurice eventually return to the cottage, LeFou immediately informs Gaston, and he sets his plan into motion. With the villagers gathered outside the house, D'Arque has his men drag Maurice towards their carriage, while Gaston makes Belle his offer - he will clear up the "misunderstanding" if she marries him. Horrified and disgusted, Belle refuses, and Gaston allows Maurice to be dragged away. Belle, however, manages to prove her father's apparently insane claims about a beast inhabiting a huge castle in the woods to be true by using a magic mirror that the Beast had given her. Gaston grows even more frustrated after his plan fails and shocked that Maurice was indeed telling the truth but becomes increasingly jealous when Belle begins referring to the Beast as "kind and gentle," realizing that she prefers a "monster" over himself. When he refers to the Beast with this insult, Belle angrily retorts back that he is the real monster, which makes him snap.
In his jealousy and pride, Gaston snatches the mirror from Belle and successfullyconvinces the villagers that the Beast is a threat to the village and therefore must be brought down immediately. Belle tries to stop Gaston, but Gaston, perceiving that Belle is against him, has Belle and Maurice locked in the basement to keep them from warning the Beast. He then leads a lynch mob to attack the Beast's castle and leave no one alive while declaring that he himself is to take down the Beast. Gaston bypasses the ensuing battle between the rioters and castle servants and confronts the Beast alone. He fires an arrow into him, tosses him out of a window onto a lower section of the roof and taunts him. When the Beast doesn't respond, having lost his will to live since Belle's departure (to rescue her lost father, who was searching for her), Gaston uses a castle statue as a makeshift club to try to kill the Beast. The Beast, however, regains his strength when he sees Belle return (she had escaped from the basement with help from Chip, who stowed away with her) and viciously fights back with strength and animal ferocity. He grabs for the club and the two struggle.
Though roughly even with his adversary, Gaston soon learns that he cannot rely on brute strength alone to kill the Beast, and instead begins taunting him in order to infuriate him enough to let his guard down, pushing the final button by claiming that Belle can never love a monster. The plan works but immediately backfires: the Beast lunges forth, overcome by animalistic urges and emotion, snapping viciously at him, and then holds the terrified hunter at his mercy by holding him above the castle moat by the throat. With his life at stake, Gaston abandons his pride and pathetically begs for mercy; the Beast grudgingly accepts, ordering Gaston to leave immediately and never return. In spite of this, when Gaston sees the Beast embracing Belle, his great hatred and jealousy arises again, which leads to his ultimate downfall. Determined to kill his rival once and for all, Gaston stabs the Beast in the back with a knife while dangling rather precariously from the balcony. The Beast swings his arm backwards at him in pain, which makes Gaston lose his balance as he tries to avoid it and plunge into the deep moat below, to his death.
Despite laying a deep stab on the Beast, Gaston would die alone that night; just as the Beast nearly succumbed to his own wounds, Belle confessed her love for him just before the last petal of the enchanted rose that kept him bound to his beast form fell, breaking the spell and healing the Beast's injuries.