Cruella De Vil, a name that immediately evokes a striking vision of a fur-clad, chain-smoking villainess with a sadistic passion for Dalmatians, is a classic antagonist that transcends generations. From the heart of Disney’s storytelling universe, her character has perplexed audiences for years with a paradoxical question, why does this sophisticated socialite harbor such a vehement disdain for dogs, specifically Dalmatians?
The rationale behind Cruella’s dogged obsession traces back to complex character nuances, thematic symbolism, and the legacy of Disney’s animated storytelling, all of which we’ll delve into within the folds of this article.
Why Cruella Hates Dogs?
Cruella de Vil’s hatred for dogs, specifically Dalmatians, is not so much about hatred as it is about obsession and her extreme materialism. Cruella is one of the most iconic villains in Disney’s universe, first introduced in the 1961 animated classic “101 Dalmatians.” Her character was created by author Dodie Smith in her 1956 novel, which was the basis for the Disney film.
Cruella’s Obsession with Fur: A Materialistic Drive
In the story, Cruella is portrayed as a wealthy and spoiled woman who has a mania for furs. She is attracted to Dalmatians, not out of spite, but due to their distinctive coats, which she believes would make a unique and valuable fur coat. This perspective reduces the dogs to commodities rather than sentient beings, illustrating her lack of empathy and extreme materialism.
Psychological Perspectives on Cruella’s Animosity Towards Dogs
Some interpret her hatred for dogs as a projection of her inner self-loathing and dissatisfaction. Cruella’s inflated self-image and pursuit of material possessions could be seen as overcompensation for her perceived inadequacies, a common trait among some antagonistic personalities.
The Role of Antagonists in Disney’s Storytelling
Disney often uses their villains to explore darker themes and to act as foils for their heroes. In this case, Cruella’s cruel intentions towards the Dalmatians highlight the themes of greed, selfishness, and the importance of valuing life over material possessions.
Cruella De Vil: A Reflection of Societal Fears
Cruella’s character, who prioritizes fashion and vanity over the welfare of animals, might be seen as a critique of a materialistic society that disregards the value of nature and animals.
“Cruella”: A Sympathetic Backstory or a Villain’s Justification?
The 2021 film “Cruella,” gives a backstory to Cruella De Vil. This film shows her as a fashion-obsessed orphan who comes to resent Dalmatians because of a traumatic incident in her childhood when a trio of Dalmatians, owned by an evil fashion mogul, cause the death of her mother. While this explanation may help to contextualize Cruella’s hatred for Dalmatians, it’s worth noting that it diverges significantly from the original portrayal of the character.
Cruella De Vil’s hatred for dogs, especially Dalmatians, is multifaceted and is a combination of her obsession with fashion, her character role as an antagonist, societal critique, and according to the recent film, her traumatic past.
Examining Cruella’s Relationship with Dalmatians in the “101 Dalmatians” Franchise
Cruella De Vil’s relationship with Dalmatians in the “101 Dalmatians” franchise is one marked by obsession and a complete lack of empathy. From the moment she is introduced in the original 1961 Disney animated film, Cruella is painted as an antagonist whose desire for a Dalmatian fur coat outweighs any regard for the welfare of the animals she wishes to use.
The Animated Classic
In the original “101 Dalmatians,” Cruella is a former schoolmate of Anita, one of the dog owners. When she learns about the birth of Anita’s Dalmatian puppies, Cruella sees an opportunity to create her dream fur coat. She initially offers to buy the puppies, but when Roger and Anita refuse to sell them, she hires henchmen to steal them instead.
Her obsession with obtaining the Dalmatians’ unique fur illustrates the depth of her disregard for the dogs’ lives and her prioritization of her desires.
The Live-Action Adaptations
The live-action films, released in 1996 and 2000, maintain the basic premise of Cruella’s character as a fur-obsessed villain. Glenn Close’s portrayal adds a layer of dramatic flair and eccentricity to the character, further emphasizing her disregard for the dogs’ welfare and the lengths she’s willing to go to obtain their fur.
In the sequel, “102 Dalmatians,” Cruella is released from prison on parole, seemingly cured of her fur obsession through psychological treatment. However, when she hears Big Ben’s tolling bells, she reverts back to her old ways and once again obsesses over the idea of a Dalmatian fur coat.
Cruella’s New Backstory
In the 2021 film “Cruella,” a backstory is given that provides an explanation for her particular animosity towards Dalmatians. In the film, a young Cruella (then known as Estella) experiences a traumatic incident in which her mother is killed by a pack of Dalmatians owned by a wealthy, cruel woman. This tragic event fuels her resentment towards Dalmatians and cements her path towards becoming the infamous Cruella De Vil.
In each iteration of the “101 Dalmatians” franchise, Cruella’s relationship with the Dalmatians is marked by obsession, animosity, and a complete lack of empathy. Her desire for a Dalmatian fur coat consistently outweighs any moral qualms about harming the dogs, painting her as a true villain in the world of Disney.
A Dive into Cruella’s Aesthetic: Power, Prestige, and Pups
Cruella de Vil’s aesthetic, much like her character, is unapologetically extravagant, menacing, and extravagant. The high-fashion socialite’s style is characterized by a black and white color palette, opulent furs, and an over-the-top demeanor, all mirroring her obsession with power, prestige, and, of course, puppies.
Signature Color Palette
Cruella’s iconic color palette is a stark black and white, mirroring her Dalmatian obsession and her dualistic nature. These colors signify the polarity of her character – the black representing her dark and malevolent intentions, while the white signifies the façade of charm and sophistication she often presents to the world.
Furs and Luxury
Cruella’s over-the-top love for luxury is epitomized in her fixation with furs. Furs have traditionally been a symbol of wealth and high social status, and Cruella’s desire to possess a coat made from Dalmatian fur represents her extreme materialism and vanity. Her fixation on fur also ties into her lack of empathy towards animals, viewing them solely as commodities to enhance her own prestige.
High Fashion and Eccentricity
Cruella’s high fashion aesthetic, with its flamboyant and avant-garde elements, symbolizes her larger-than-life personality and her desire to command attention. The character’s exaggerated silhouette, her sweeping coats, and her penchant for extravagant headpieces and accessories highlight her eccentric nature. In the 2021 film “Cruella,” her fashion-centered backstory paints her as a rebellious and ambitious designer who uses fashion as a medium to express her audacity and to challenge the status quo.
A Bold Red Accent
Cruella’s fiery red gloves and lipstick serve as the only non-monochrome elements of her wardrobe. This dash of red, often associated with danger and power, further emphasizes her threatening nature and her indomitable will.
Her Signature Hairstyle
Cruella’s hair, half black and half white, is perhaps one of her most defining characteristics. Much like her wardrobe, her hair symbolizes her dualistic nature and her obsession with Dalmatians.
In essence, Cruella’s aesthetic is a reflection of her character traits: power-hungry, self-centered, and extravagant, with an insatiable desire for prestige, perfectly encapsulated in her pursuit of the perfect Dalmatian fur coat.