Ariel is the main protagonist of Disney's 1989 animated film The Little Mermaid. She is the youngest daughter of King Triton, ruler of Atlantica, and she is best friends with Flounder, Sebastian and Scuttle, a seagull who Ariel visits at the surface with her fascination of the human world. After saving the life of Prince Eric and yearning to be in his world, Ariel visits Ursula the sea witch to transform her into human in exchange for her voice. She is voiced by Jodi Benson.
Why She Is Part Of Our World
- Her character design is incredibly cute and attractive, both in her mermaid and human forms, making her one of the most iconic Disney characters of all time.
- Although she is bright, spirited and rebellious, Ariel isn't as cringeworthy as most strong, independent females and she has plenty of redeeming qualities, such as her compassion for her friends, curiosity, resourcefulness, bravery and adventurous spirit.
- She doesn't hesitate to rescue others. When Prince Eric is knocked unconscious after the ship exploded from gunpowder, Ariel rushes to rescue him from drowning and bring him to the shore, making her the first Disney Princess to actually save someone.
- Unlike her father, King Triton, she genuinely doesn't show prejudice towards humans as she learns that not all humans are bad. This is evidenced in the TV series when she witnesses a young Prince Eric (who she only sees from behind) rescuing a dolphin who is caught in a net. She even relentlessly tries to convince him that not humans are bad, and during the confrontation in Ariel's grotto, she refuses to be intimidated by Triton's prejudiced view of humans by rightfully defending her saving of Eric and even calls him out on his racism by saying that he doesn't even know him.
- Though she may not get along with her father due to his bad temper and stubbornness, Ariel truly loves him. Which during her visit with Ursula to turn her into human and although Triton has destroyed her grotto out of anger in a misguided attempt to protect her which effectively strained their relationship, she cannot bring herself to fully disown her father as she tells Ursula that she'll never see him or her sisters again if she is transformed into human.
- She is the first Disney Princess to actually battle against a villain. In Ariel's case, she fights Ursula in the final battle when she transforms her father into a polyp and as well as preventing the evil sea witch from vaporising Prince Eric with King Triton's trident after he tried to harpoon Ursula in an attempt to rescue Ariel.
- She builds up her character development in the original film as she learns that she should be sticking to her convictions about the human world regardless of the backlash and trust her instincts. Ariel realises that she should be more cautious without being overly reckless since her actions of making a deal with Ursula to become human nearly jeopardised her father and the rest of Atlantica under Ursula's temporary reign and wrath. When she become a mother in the sequel and while being a bit overprotective of her daughter Melody, Ariel has become more mature and level-headed that she was as a teenager.
- Jodi Benson did a remarkable job voicing her and doing her beautiful singing in Ariel's famous song "Part of Your World".
Poor Unfortunate Qualities
- In regards of her rebellious nature, she does have a tendency to disobey her father frequently.
- Ariel unfortunately was flanderized as a bland-as-wheat clone of her father as well as making a hypocrite in the sequel. Despite having a good reason to protect her Melody from Morgana, she tells her off for going into the sea because it's dangerous, yet Ariel herself does disobey her father's strict orders of not going to the surface and making contact with humans in the original film.
- Relating to the above, she lies to her daughter about her mermaid heritage in order to protect her from Morgana and refuses to tell her the truth when scolding her for going into the sea. Ariel does regret it shortly afterwards and in the ending of the film after Morgana is defeated, she apologises to her for not telling her the truth about her mermaid heritage and Morgana.
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