Beelzebub: Milton’s Disney Villain?

Beelezebub appeared in the first book of Paradise Lost mainly as the second- in-command character to Milton’s Satan. Yet, as we see in the second book of Paradise Lost, we see Beelzebub becomes more of a voice in Satan’s ear, egging him on to wage war on God for their banishment to Hell. This characterization of Beelzebub reminds me of many of the villains I remember watching in Disney movies while I was growing up.

In Aladdin, Jafar wanted power of Agrabah, so he used mind control over the Sultan to do Jafar’s dirty work. In The Little Mermaid, Ursula wanted control of the ocean; therefore, she put a spell on Ariel in order to obtain that power over King Triton. In Hercules, Hades schemed to take over Mount Olympus and he used Meg to try and stop Hercules from becoming the hero who would foil his plan as well as using his lackeys Pain and Panic to assist with the mission. Granted, all of these villains were stopped by the hero of the story and never achieved their plan of domination. So, what do all of these Disney villains have to do with Milton’s Beelzebub?

I noticed several manipulative traits of Beelzebub that coincide with those of the Disney villains. First, he is the one to suggest a war on God’s newest earthly creation and on man (Adam and Eve). No one else at the counsel meeting (Pandemonium) were suggesting anything near the grandeur of messing with what is regarded as God’s greatest creation. Second, he suggests someone must go scout out this land, and Satan himself volunteers to be that scout. Beelzebub appears to get the only person above him in terms of power out of the picture by creating this mission for Satan to go on.

Is this a calculated move on Beelezubub’s part?  Is Beelzebub relying on the notion that Satan will fall to God in a battle in order for himself rise to power? Is Beelzebub the Jafar, Ursula, and/or Hades equivalent of Milton’s Hell?

-Marie Burns Spring ’20