For this post I will be referring to the original 1991 Disney classic: Beauty and the Beast.
Lumière and Cogsworth, I believe, are two of the most important characters in the film; two whose symbolic importance are probably overlooked by some viewers. They represent light and time.
Lumière is the epitome of gentlemanly, civil behaviour and optimism. His name is significant as I see it to be a reference to the Age of Enlightenment; in French: le Siècle des Lumières! He is a character who literally brings reason to light. After Belle leaves the castle before she runs into a pack of wolves, his flames are blown out by the gusts of wind. Later they are burning brightly again. It could be argued that this is a metaphor for hope; however, I see it as symbolic of maintaining the Self. Even if you are knocked back by something or someone, you shouldn’t let that put out who you are. In the context of the Disney film, Lumière is a bringer of light (to the castle), and so he continues to carry out that job.
Cogsworth, the less optimistic of the Disney duo is, as you all probably know, a clock. I find it interesting that Belle’s father (Maurice) picks up Lumière and Cogsworth on entering the castle. When he picks up Cogsworth, he messes around with the clock hands on Cogsworth’s face. When Belle, later, offers to take his place, her father says that she shouldn’t. He tells her that he has ‘lived [his] life’ – demonstrated through his symbolic turning of Cogsworth’s clock hands, playing/spending time. With Cogsworth’s more uptight personality, in comparison to Lumière, I see this as a message to viewers that time is unstoppable and it is inevitable – it is stubborn to say the least, as is Cogsworth. Therefore, why spend life being too uptight and not stepping out of your comfort zone occasionally, as you are only, metaphorically, entrapping yourself.