I’ve been listening to a lot of Disney music lately because it generally makes me happy and produces that feel-good fuzzy feeling, and Lord knows in today’s climate some warm fuzzies are much-needed. The Beauty and the Beast soundtrack comes up often (because it’s awesome), but one song in particular is resonating with me lately: The Mob Song. It’s such a prime example of how people can be so easily incited to anger and violence.
But Shannon, that’s a Disney movie. It’s a work of fiction, not real life.
Is it? I mean, of course it is on many levels. But the greatest thing about fiction is that it gives us parables and analogies to real life. Some of the greatest lessons can be taught through fiction. And the lesson we learn here is not to be fooled into being led so easily.
Let’s take a look.
We start off knowing that Belle has rushed back to her father’s side because she has seen that he is not doing well. The Beast lets her go, despite their original contract that says she must stay, because he has developed tender feelings for her. In fact, he is thrown into despair when she leaves as she has taken his heart with her. As viewers we know that there is nothing actually wrong with the beast. (Yes, I’m well aware of the argument that Belle is basically experiencing Stockholm syndrome. Let’s leave that one at the door and argue it later, shall we? That’s not what this post is about.)
In comes Gaston, a man whose pride has been severely injured by Belle’s previous rejection, who has insisted that the Beast is something dangerous, something to fear.
The beast will make off with your children
He’ll come after them in the night
We’re not safe ’till his head is mounted on my wall
I say we kill the beast!
With just these few words the crowd begins to mumble, adding their own opinions of a situation they know nothing of except for what Gaston, their trusted leader, has told them. They all begin to chime in one after another:
We’re not safe until he’s dead
He’ll come stalking us at night
Set to sacrifice our children to his monstrous appetite
He’ll wreak havoc on our village if we let him wander free
Getting what he wanted, Gaston calls them to action and asks them to follow as he begins to describe to them how exciting it’s going to be to go after the ‘bad guy’. He describes the beast in great detail, having only seen him through the mirror just like most of the rest of the crowd. This thing is something to fear.
Through the mist, through the woods
Through the darkness and the shadows
It’s a nightmare but it one exciting ride
Say a prayer, then we’re there
At the drawbridge of a castle
And there’s something truly terrible insideIt’s a beast, he’s got fangs razor sharp ones
Massive paws, killer claws for the feast
Hear him roar, see him foam
But we’re not coming home
‘Till he’s dead, good and deadkill the beast
Light your torch! Mount your horse!Screw your courage to the sticking place!We’re counting on Gaston to lead the way!Through a mist, through a woodWhere within a haunted castleSomething’s lurking that you don’t see every day!It’s a beast! One as tall as a mountainWe won’t rest ’til he’s good and deceasedSally forth! Tally ho!Grab your sword! Grab your bow!Praise the Lord and here we go!
We don’t likeWhat we don’t understandIn fact it scares usAnd this monster is mysterious at leastBring your guns!Bring your knives!Save your children and your wivesWe’ll save our village and our livesWe’ll kill the Beast!
Lyrics by Howard Ashman
Performed by Richard White and Chorus
Produced by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken
Arranged by Alan Menken and Danny Troob
Orchestrated by Danny Troob