Events in Beauty and the Beast begin to come to a head with “The Mob Song.” To recap, Belle has been allowed to leave the castle to rescue her father who has gotten lost trying to find her (Belle) and is now dangerously ill. Belle’s return is exactly what Gaston has been waiting for: unless Belle agrees to marry him, he’ll have her father taken away to the insane asylum. I’m not sure that Gaston is thinking rationally at this point: no girl in her right mind would agree to that kind of proposal, and even if she did, it wouldn’t be a happy marriage. Belle unwittingly makes things worse when she fetches the magic mirror to prove that everything her father has been saying is true. Gaston is visibly shocked to see that Maurice WAS telling the truth, but is almost as quickly filled with jealousy because it’s crystal clear to him (if not to Belle) that she has feelings for this “monster.” Belle finally snaps and tells Gaston the cold truth:
“He’s no monster Gaston, YOU are!”
The truth hurts, doesn’t it? Enraged at this final rejection, Gaston decides that “if I can’t have her, no one can” and begins to paint a picture of the Beast as this terrible monster that MUST be destroyed. This pack of lies that Gaston feeds to the townspeople is the basis of “The Mob Song” and is a perfect illustration of how mob mentality works. Keep in mind that up until five minutes ago, no one in the town believed that the Beast even existed, and they certainly didn’t consider it a real threat. But now, with Gaston painting a picture of their darkest fears, it doesn’t take much to turn the crowd into a ranting mob bent on one thing: killing the Beast!!
The Beast will make off with your children! He’ll come after them in the night!
We’re not safe ’til his head is mounted on my wall! I say we kill the Beast!
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
So it’s time to take some action, boys
It’s time to follow me!
Through the mist, through the woods
Through the darkness and the shadows
It’s a nightmare, but it’s one exciting ride
Say a prayer, then we’re there
At the drawbridge of a castle
And there’s something truly terrible inside
It’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 ’til he’s dead
Good and dead! Kill the Beast!
Belle, to her credit, tries to intervene, but Gaston is way ahead of her this time. He locks both Belle and her father in the cellar and gathers the crowd to head to the castle. And thanks to the magic mirror, he’ll have no trouble finding it. At this point, the song becomes a choral number, with the townspeople carrying the melody. Meanwhile, back in town, Belle is trying to break out, but she can’t do it. Thankfully, little Chip stowed away with her and is still outside the house. He sees the invention that Belle’s father made still sitting on the hill and notes that it has a very sharp axe in front. To make a long story short, Chip uses the device to break the door down, freeing Belle to race to the castle.
But at the same time, the townspeople have nearly reached the castle, still singing of death and vengeance, while the Beast broods upstairs, deep in depression. There’s one verse the townspeople sing that basically sums up how these people think:
We don’t like what we don’t understand/in fact it scares us/and this monster is mysterious at least
All of this really boils down to fearing what you don’t understand, and now Gaston is going to use that fear to destroy the Beast and the castle (though the enchanted occupants aren’t about to make it easy for him).
“The Mob Song” really is a great Disney song because it serves to drive the story forward toward its climax. Gaston is firmly in place as the story’s true villain (reinforced by riding a black horse), and the stage is set for the final battle.
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