According to Richardson, Belle and the Beast's relationship does not qualify for Stockholm Syndrome, which is defined by the Medical Dictionary as having three basic characteristics: "the hostages have unfavorable views about the police or other authorities."
However, she says, "it's possible that someone in a similar situation might feel some degree of sympathy for the person who kidnapped them," especially if the hostage-taker shows no signs of violence.
Belle is described as a strong-willed young woman who refuses to be treated like a slave. She also loves animals and has been taught how to read and write by her father. So it can be assumed that she is intelligent and has received some form of education.
During the course of the story, it becomes clear that Belle's father, Maurice, has married again. The new wife does not like Belle and tries to get rid of her by sending her off to the Beast. When this fails, she sends her to live with the evil Marquis de la Tour du Pin. The Marquis lives in a huge castle by himself, with only his servants for company. He treats Belle as though she were nothing more than a pet.
When Belle meets the Beast, she learns that he is actually a prince turned beast after his kingdom was destroyed by pirates.
Belle is not suffering from Stockholm Syndrome in any manner. Rather, the Beast is demonstrating Lima Syndrome, the reversal of Stockholm Syndrome, in which the kidnapper sympathizes with his prisoner (see the next point for more on this).
Lima Syndrome can occur at any time after the initial kidnapping, although it most commonly occurs within a few days to a few months after the abduction. It can also develop at any time during a hostage situation, such as when a prisoner begins to feel sympathy for their captor.
People who suffer from Lima Syndrome try to win their captives' confidence by apologizing for their actions and expressing concern for their welfare. They may even suggest possible ways that they could be released without further harm coming to them.
In addition to showing signs of sympathy, the kidnapper must want to release the victim alive for Lima Syndrome to come into play. This can be seen in cases where victims are held against their will but allowed some degree of freedom. They may be given limited authority over minor matters or simply allowed to leave the room whenever they like. In these situations, the victim cannot be said to be in captivity because he or she has taken an active role in preventing being captured.
If the kidnapper shows no signs of releasing the victim then Lima Syndrome cannot occur.
Belle is continually arguing and disagreeing with the Beast. She does not exhibit any of the symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome since she maintains her independence and freedom of mind.
Disney has painted Belle as a feminist role model in promoting the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, while star Emma Watson has specifically refuted the charge of Stockholm syndrome. However, some psychologists believe that Belle's character is based on a real woman who they call "the beauty and the beast". Her story is told in documents called "curricula vitae" or "biographies". This type of document was popular in the 18th century when it was used to describe important people. It is now used in academia to highlight significant figures.
Belle is described as being both beautiful and bright. She is also shown to be very kind and loving towards her family members before she meets Beast. However, under his spell, she becomes jealous of them and starts to neglect her duties which leads to trouble with her father. When Beast realizes what has happened, he breaks his enchantment with Belle and brings her back to her true self. At the end of the movie, it is revealed that she has been hired by Gaston to be his princess wife.
Psychologists say that Belle's personality matches that of someone who has experienced symptoms of depression. They cite her description of herself as a "lost girl" and "an ordinary peasant" as evidence for this claim. In addition, they point out that she behaves kindly towards Beast even though she feels threatened by him.