Belle moves through the village and greets one person after another, but the activity of the village swirls around her as if she were not there to see it--visually she is shown as different from the rest of the village, and this idea is carried through in what is said to her, what is said about her, and what she herself wonders and how she wants something other than this "provincial life." The beauty of the village and the surrounding countryside changes and emphasizes once more the power of nature and of being one with nature, and as Belle's father travels down the wrong road to the fair, nature turns dark, foreboding, and terrifying as he nears the Beast's castle, again bringing to mind what the Beast has lost and how he must live until he learns to love and so achieves freedom.
nking of the castle with nature is important, for nature evokes a sense of life, love, wonder, and belonging. For much of the film, the castle will be in a more foreboding atmosphere, for the actions of the young Prince caused him to lose his link with nature demonstrated by his unnatural appearance and the changed atmosphere in and around his castle. The story of the change is told in a series of still drawings, not unlike the stained-glass windows of cathedrals. The first "moving" image comes when the newly-created Beast, in despair, scratches his nails through a painting over the mantel. The sense of what he has lost is embodied in the rose that is kept in a glass case, and that bright rose in the darkened house is the image of nature, of what was once part of the castle and part of the Prince's world but that is now kept at a distance or enclosed in glass. Significantly, the first view we have of Belle is when she leaves her cottage and is surrounded by the flying birds and bright foliage of nature.
Now, all this might seem simply harmless to most people, but there are critics who find that Disney is pandering to the audience by presenting images that falsify the intent of