- “So, you want me to throw her father into the asylum unless she agrees to marry you? Oh, that is despicable. I love it!”
- ―Monsieur D'Arque
Monsieur D'Arque is the tertiary antagonist in Beauty and the Beast.
Although he does not have much screen time compared to the film's other villains, enough of Monsieur D'Arque is seen for people to judge him as a callous, self-centered man who will do anything for money. However, it's implied that he may be far more motivated by sadism than money, to the point that he even notes that Gaston's plan to blackmail Belle into marrying him is despicable, only to claim immediately afterwards with an evil laugh that he actually loves it, clutching a gold coin tightly in his fist. Also, when he arrives with his men and the lynch mob to take her father away to his establishment Les Maison des Lunes, he promises Belle with a wicked smile that they will "take good care" of Maurice, further implying that the patients there are subjected to forms of abuse, and D'Arque himself takes pleasure in watching it.
Despite being a minor villain, it is rather interesting to note that D'Arque personality and Tony Jay's performance as the character is what led Disney to cast Jay as Judge Claude Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Coincidentally, Tony Jay also portrayed one of the antagonists in the live action TV series Beauty and the Beast, made before the Disney animated feature.
Role in the film
When Belle turns down Gaston's marriage proposal, Gaston becomes angry but when Belle's father Maurice comes into the tavern telling everyone that Belle has been locked in the dungeon by the Beast and everyone starts laughing thinking that Maurice is crazy, Gaston comes up with a plan to make Belle his wife. Later that night, after everyone else goes home, Gaston and LeFou summon Monsieur D'Arque, who runs the local madhouse Les Maison des Lunes (or "Asylum for Loons") and Gaston pays him to listen to his plan. He then tells him that Maurice had earlier ranted about a Beast in a castle holding Belle in a dungeon, and mentioned that Belle needed "persuasion." D'Arque was uncertain of what Gaston was getting at, citing that Maurice, though eccentric, was harmless, with Gaston (and LeFou), clarifying that he means Belle would even resort to marrying Gaston if it meant preventing Maurice from being locked up in the madhouse (which is blackmail). After fully understanding what Gaston was trying to convey, he notes with feigned disgust that the plot was despicable, only to chuckle and declare he likes the idea. However, when they go to Belle's cottage neither Belle nor Maurice are there. Gaston has LeFou stay there on guard until Belle and Maurice return.
When Belle and Maurice do come home, LeFou rushes to get Gaston, D'Arque and their lynch mob. D'Arque himself appears at Belle's doorstep and snidely promises her that they will "take good care" of Maurice, showing her the asylum's carriage. D'Arque has his men carry Maurice to the carriage despite Belle's protests. Gaston promises to have Maurice released if Belle will marry him, but Belle turns down Gaston's proposal again and manages to prove that her father is sane by showing the crowd the Beast by using the Magic Mirror. D'Arque is not seen after this, and since he was not among the rioters attacking the Beast's castle, it is likely that he and his men merely went back to Les Maison, knowing that he now had no case against Maurice, whose sanity had effectively been proven.
His role in the official comic adaptation is moreorless the same as in the film, although he deduces what Gaston is planning to do with Maurice much quicker in the comic. In addition, unlike the movie, the warden personally accompanied Gaston to Belle's Cottage to discover Belle and Maurice were absent instead of LeFou.
Monseiur Darque has yet to be a meetable character at any of the Disney themed parks. Like Maurice and Lefou, he is omitted from the Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage show.
Disney on Ice
In the Disney on Ice version of Beauty and the Beast, Monseiur Darque enters the tavern (and the story) earlier than in the film, coming in just as Maurice is telling Gaston and the villagers about his encounter with the Beast. He is bribed by Gaston into locking Maurice up in the tavern cellar (prior to carting him off later to Les Maisons des Lunes if Belle refuses to marry Gaston), but disappears after that.
Disney's Beauty and the Beast: the Stage Musical
In the stage musical version, Darque's scene with Gaston and Lefou in the tavern is turned into a musical trio, "Les Maisons des Lunes". Also, he joins Gaston and the villagers in their attack on the castle, mainly out of greed, as indicated in his gleeful reaction to Gaston's line, "Take whatever booty you can find..." During the battle, he is seen getting a well deserved trouncing from some of the Objects.
In a touring production of the musical, the trio "Les Maisons des Lunes" was replaced by spoken dialogue, in which Darque, who is depicted as more of a humorous character, pretends to mistake Gaston and Lefou as potential patients when he meets them, giving a cuttingly accurate analysis of them both.
- His name means literally "of arches" in French, which might be a reference to his eyebrows and angular features. It could also be a play on the English word "dark" in reference to his character.
- He and Shere Khan are the only characters of Tony Jay's who have not yet been voiced by Corey Burton.
- The tavern scene in Beauty and the Beast is in some ways similar to the tavern scene in Pinocchio, as both involve three characters, one or more of them being bribed into doing something dastardly with a bag of gold, and at least one character (Darque in the one, the Coachman in the other) giving a terrifying evil grin.
- He could be considered to be similar to Sarousch as both live in France, both like shiny things and don't like things not going according to plan, although Darque is far worse.
- He is similar to fellow villain Governor Ratcliffe due to their greed for gold.
- He is even more similar to The Coachman both in their greed for gold, their sadistic nature, and also the fact that neither gets any known comeuppance at the end.
- He is also similar to A Christmas Carol character Ebenezer Scrooge. Both men are elderly, are greedy for money, mean, and cold-hearted. (At least Scrooge, unlike Darque, had more of a conscience and reforms).
- The madhouse's name is a mistranslation. In actual French, "Les Maison de la Lunes" means "Moon House."