Come on, Tumblr…
The Beast was one of the most complex characters ever attempted in animation at the time. His complexity came from the drastic change he makes: not only does his appearance transform, but his entire character. He is initially gruff and antisocial, but by the end of the film he has evolved into the romantic lead. The question as to whether The Beast should even be considered a villain in the film was up for debate in the Disney studio throughout production. Lead animator Glen Keane even questioned The Beast’s motives.
“He probably wouldn’t have minded killing Maurice [the father], in the beginning of the film. That was the extent where someone like The Beast, who had the potential to be good, could become a villain.[…] His actions do cause some pain, and he starts to get a glimmer that he’s not entirely comfortable with the role of villain.”.
In the director/producer commentary for the 2002 DVD release, Don Hahn commented on the Beast’s internal struggle. The longer he was a beast, the more that part of him took over and diminished his humanity. Hahn also said that if Belle had never arrived at the castle, the Beast would’ve stopped wearing clothing altogether, would’ve stopped speaking, and eventually would be a beast inside to match the outside. There are few shots of the floor in the West Wing lair because it is littered with animal carcasses from his hunts. He had stopped acquiring food and eating like a human. This also would explain his inability to read, despite having learned before.
Beauty and The Beast