Aside from some rather dark aspects of the movie, including Stockholm Syndrome, Beauty and the Beast actually has a decent and mature theme. It teaches you that not everything is the way that it seems, and that you shouldn’t judge someone solely on their appearance.
The setting really plays a big part in the theme, which is both the castle and the town. The castle, before it transformed at the end, had an evil feel to it. But once the Beast changed back into the human prince he once had been, the castle also changed in its appearance, showing what truly lied within. The town and its people also had a kind feel to it, but it was deceiving. The entire town thought that Belle was strange because she loved to read and was literate, unlike the rest of them. They also attempted to help Gaston kill the Beast at the end without any logical reason or proof that he was dangerous. They also agreed to let Maurice and Belle get locked up without any proof they were insane, and didn’t fight for them. They blindly followed Gaston’s word. The castle and town are perfect examples of the theme shining through, because despite its appearance, the caste was beautiful in the end, and despite the town’s kind feel, the people inside were awful and a complete polar opposite of how the town appeared to be.
As for the characters playing a part in the theme, the Beast is the main protagonist that gets the theme rolling. He must be loved, despite his beastly appearance, to set the theme and give it purpose. Belle is also a protagonist because she has to love the Beast for the theme to work. Gaston is the antagonist because he wants to marry Belle. He cant marry Belle if she loves the Beast, so he has to try and prevent that from happening.
For the presentation aspect of it, the entire concept of the Beast’s curse is a metaphor. When Beauty and the Beast was being created, one of the animators had AIDS, and he expressed his pain and suffering through the Beast’s curse.
As you can see, the theme of The Beauty and the Beast is displayed everywhere, from the settings to the characters. Everything in this film teaches you not to judge someone from their appearance, and judge someone for what’s within.