- "And when he dismissed her again, the old woman's ugliness melted away to reveal a beautiful Enchantress."
The Enchantress ("Circe" in the Serena Valentino novelization and Agathe in the 2017 live action remake) is a minor character from Disney's 1991 film Beauty and the Beast and its first midquel. She is voiced by Kath Soucie in only the first midquel.
The Enchantress is the one who placed the spell on the Prince and everyone inside the castle for the Prince's cruel ways. She is cunning, taking on the disguise of an old, helpless woman seeking shelter to test the Prince's heart. How kind or good she actually is, however, is up for debate, particularly because of the debate over the Beast's age when he was cursed, and how she cursed everyone in the castle rather than just the guilty party, as well as being implied to have cursed the entire forest surrounding the castle to become too dangerous for anyone to attempt to go nearby.
It seems to be the mission of the Enchantress is to punish the selfish and guilty.
Powers and abilities
The Enchantress is a most powerful and wise being, who uses a wand. She has the power of shapeshifting, or at least glamouring (an illusionary disguise) to hide her true form, she can cast powerful spells or curses, and transform anything into almost anything - the prince into a beast to match his cruel, unfeeling heart, his servants into objects, an entire castle into a bleak fortress, presumably transforming the entire forest surrounding the castle into a forboding place, etc. She may also have teleportation abilities, due to her appearing before the Prince in The Enchanted Christmas after he closed the door on her, as well as disappearing in owl form when Maurice trapped her in a bag. In addition to transformation abilities, she apparently also has the ability to grant sentience to otherwise inanimate objects, as she was implied to have done to the Music Box.
Furthermore, she has the ability to enchant objects with magical abilities of their own: The rose she offered was enchanted to bloom and serve as a reminder to the Beast of both how much time he had to break the spell and as a reminder of what got him into his predicament to begin with, she presumably created the Enchanted Mirror that she gave the Beast as his only window to the outside world, and she can enchant things to come to life and move with a will of their own.
She also has the power of empathy as she could see that the prince's heart showed no love or true beauty, superficially giving him a chance to evolve into a beautiful and full of love person.
It is also implied that the Enchantress can also transform herself into various animals, with her right eye shining in the Disney Comics serial New Adventures of Disney's Beauty and the Beast.
Disguised as an elderly beggar woman, the Enchantress went to the castle of Prince Adam on a cold winter's night (and possibly stormy, due to the presence of lightning and elements of rain on the stained glass windows depicting the event), and she asked if she could stay overnight to be protected from the cold in exchange for a beautiful rose she was carrying. The Prince, unimpressed by the beautiful gift and repulsed by her appearance, refused and shut the door in her face cruelly, despite her warning not to be deceived by appearances for beauty is found within. Then she knocked on the door again and this time she revealed her true form to the Prince. Seeing how powerful she was, Prince Adam sought her forgiveness, but the Enchantress put a curse on him: for being so selfish, mean and cold-hearted, he would become a Beast until he both supplies love for another and finding someone who loved him in return at the same time. She also cursed all the servants turning them into anthropomorphic objects, the castle became dark and lonely and the woods became infested with wolves. In addition, she also gave him a time limit that would enact upon his twenty-first year: After that period, the enchanted rose, which will have fully bloomed by then, will start losing petals, and if the last petal falls without the Beast getting love in return and experiencing love, he will be doomed to remain a beast for all eternity, and his staff, the palace, and presumably the forest will likewise remain cursed. Ten years later, her spell was broken by Belle, and Prince Adam learned of his errors thanks to the actions of the Enchantress.
The enchantress largely has the same role as in the original film, although with a few differences, specifically regarding the nature of the curse: First, the Enchantress had the spell be slow-acting, with all affected, or at least the servants, gradually changing further into their current forms. Second, the deadline for the blooming of the rose is omitted. Lastly, it stated that the reason the Enchantress cursed the entire inhabitants of the castle instead of just Beast was because of their acting as enablers of the prince's bad behavior.
The Enchantress will appear in upcoming live-action musical remake of the first film. She will be played by Hattie Morahan and will possibly have a much larger role than in pervious incarnations. According to the film's IMDb page her real name is Agathe.
The Enchantress appeared in the first and thirteenth issues in flashbacks at the beginning of the issues. In the first issue, it relayed the events from the prologue of the film before Beast woke up and discovered he hadn't returned to his human form, causing a tantrum from him. In the thirteenth issue, an alternate take on the prologue was shown (implied to be the Beast reflecting how things might have turned out differently) where the prince let her inside and even placed the rose in a vase.
The Enchantress appeared in some flashbacks pertaining to the Beast's transformation. Besides her most recognizable form, she also briefly appeared in the disguise of an old lady that Prince Adam told off, and transformed into a crow and flew off before Lumiere had a chance to apologize to her, causing Adam to (correctly, as it turned out) suspect she was a witch. The crow landed nearby where Belle witnessed the prince's behavior and asked her father if all men were monsters. An indeterminate amount of time later, the Enchantress in her crow form also interfered with a shot by Adam, and then became a weasel after he left. In addition, during the present day events of the comic (set a few years before the events of the film proper), it is heavily implied that the Enchantress used shape-shifting to attack Belle at various points, including as a Bear, an Owl, and a Wolf, the first one near a cellar, and the last two while on the way back to the village with Maurice capturing the owl form only for her to disapparate.
The Enchantress, here named Circe, was expanded upon in the Serena Valentino novel The Beast Within with a more sympathetic role. She was revealed to have sisters (who are strongly implied to have been the same characters who manipulated Queen Grimhilde in the earlier novel Fairest of All), and that she had cursed the Prince as revenge for earlier blowing off her request for marriage, and that the beggar disguise was to ensure it. While Circe was against her sisters' antics and did not want to interfere with the Beast, the sisters prevent her from obstructing their trickery by sending her to Ursula to convincing her to give up her deal placed on the Beast's second fiance in exchange for something else. Her sisters then sent the wolves after Belle with the intention of murdering Belle and ensuring the curse can never be broken, though this ironically resulted in Belle and Beast actually developing a romance. When she returns, her sisters trick her into falling into an enchanted sleep. Eventually, her sisters manipulated Belle into returning to her father and for Gaston (a former friend of the Prince) to lock Maurice up and for Belle to expose the Beast to ensure the Beast died and thus the curse was unbroken. They were also revealed to have manipulated Gaston into stabbing the Beast, although Circe eventually removed the curse due to being touched by Belle and Beast's last moments.
In the Kingdom Hearts Series the Enchantress does not make a physical appearance within the Series, she is mentioned by name in Kingdom Hearts II.
When Sora, Donald and Goofy arrive at Beast's Castle they are greeted by Lumiere, Cogsworth and Mrs. Potts. They explain to them that their Master has been acting peculiar and strangely, and not knowing that Sora and friends know the Beast, they tell them the story of how the Beast came to be. After hearing the background story of how the 'Prince' was turned into a Beast Donald and Goofy proclaim together;
Donald: "The Prince is a Beast?"
Goofy: "The Beast is a Prince?"
As the castle servants speak of how to deal with their current situation, Donald states they should find the Enchantress. The way he is speaking and his physical movements give an indication that he was being hostile, maybe even thinking they could force her to change Beast back into a human being. Though Mrs. Potts states they should deal with their current situation at the time.
- At one point in the trailer, Gaston is described as being "one man who wants to keep the spell alive," implying that Gaston was aware of the Beast's curse. If this was indeed the case, it is very likely that the Enchantress had, for unknown reasons, divulged this information to Gaston at some point prior to the film, as she would have been the only one other than the occupants of the castle to know about it.
- Similarly, the above would also hint that Gaston passed her test, which either meant that Gaston, at least initially, did have some good traits in him, or the Enchantress deliberately did not curse him due to planning to use him later on regarding the Beast, whether it be a final test or as a contingency plan to counter Beast breaking the spell, though this is likely untrue since none of the villagers or Gaston believed that the Beast really existed. However if it is true he passed the Enchantress's test and\or was left to counter the Beast's attempts to free himself, then he probably was only trying to keep the Beast from turning back to human.
- It is currently unknown if the Enchantress is a human herself, or a faerie, a spirit, an angel, or some other kind of entity.
- For unknown reasons, her physical appearance in the first film and The Enchanted Christmas were completely different.
- In a flashback in the thirteenth and final issue of Marvel Comics' serial for Beauty and the Beast, an Enchantress was mentioned to have found the Prince's horse, Thunder, after it had escaped, and acted as its new owner, although it was not made clear whether this was the same enchantress as the one who cursed the Prince and his servants.
- The exact nature of the Enchantress's curse varied between sources. The original film, the Marvel Comics serial, the Disney Comics serial, and The Enchanted Christmas strongly implied if not outright showed that the curse's effects were instantaneous; yet the broadway musical as well as Serena Valentino's novel The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty's Prince indicated that the curse process was gradual.
- Similarly, although the musical stated her motive for cursing the staff in addition to Adam himself had to do with their enabling his behavior, the New Adventures of Beauty and the Beast conflicted with this, as Lumiere and Cogsworth were explicitly shown telling off Adam for his rude behavior to an old crone during a visit to town (actually the Enchantress in disguise), as well as Lumiere trying to talk Adam out of killing a fawn with his blunderbuss.
- Her voice actor in The Enchanted Christmas, Kath Soucie, coincidentally voiced Paulette, one of the Bimbettes in the original film, who bore some resemblance to her.
- For unknown reasons (implied by Cogsworth to either be on orders from the Beast or simply a pact not to tell anyone), the servants never actually revealed to Belle the reason behind their and the Beast's current forms, or even that there was a curse. The servants do, however, tell Sora's group in Kingdom Hearts II.