Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ursula in The Little Mermaid

The sea-witch Ursula wields her magic in both The Little Mermaid feature film and its stage version. As with the majority (if not all) of Disney mages, Ursula specializes in transformative magic, which she uses to plot against both King Triton, the ruler of sub-aquatic Atlantica, and his daughter Ariel. Ursula is clearly presented as wicked (like fellow Disney witches Maleficent, Mim, Narissa, and the Wicked Queen), but her evil is compounded by the fact, as revealed in paratexts to the original film, that Ursula is in fact Triton's sister--both are the children of Poseidon--and thus, Ariel's aunt. Ursula presents her raison d'ĂȘtre in the song "I Want the Good Times Back" (below) from the stage show, and works her magics in "Poor Unfortunate Souls", presented in its two incarnations.

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