If only I can make him understand. I just don't see things the way he does. I don't see how a world that makes such wonderful things could be bad.
~ Ariel dreaming of becoming part of the human world

Princess Ariel is the titular main protagonist of The Little Mermaid, its television series, its prequel, The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning and the deuteragonist of its sequel The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea. She is voiced by Jodi Benson who also voiced Barbie (Toy Story), P.J. Sparkles, Patsy Smiles, Jane Doe, Helen of TroyTula, Weebo, and Thumbelina.


Ariel is a bright, spirited, and very beautiful mermaid with a strong passion for adventure and exploration. She is so beautiful and attractive that she won an award for the most beautiful Disney Heroine and she won an award for 2nd sexiest animated female character of all time (having been just beaten by Jessica Rabbit). Despite her attractiveness, beauty and sexiness, she is also very headstrong, stubborn, and rebellious. Her tendency to explore the more mysterious depths of the ocean (or more importantly, the world beyond the ocean) can lead to an array of problems to both herself, her friends, and in the confines of her personal life—as seen through her constant confrontations with her overprotective father, King Triton. Nevertheless, Ariel's selflessness, compassion, and intuitive way of thinking often resolves such problems, as she always takes full responsibility for her actions. In addition, regardless of whatever scary, life-threatening danger that she has been involved in, Ariel finds a way to be eternally optimistic and never lets anything evil or traumatic corrupt her or make her feel negative, although she does have her rare negative moments, but overall, she is an extremely positive person. However, during her third film, Ariel grew up mostly pessimistic due to her father banning music and fun from Atlantica, making life around the kingdom boring and frustrating for her, and despite her trying to lighten the mood around the kingdom every now and again, her father becomes annoyed and forces her to stop and obey his rules. In the end, however, she manages to change her father's ways of life and bring music and fun back to Atlantica and Ariel becomes much more optimistic and hopeful, and so does her father, her sisters, and all of her friends. Her optimistic and lovable nature tends to have a rather great effect on many of the people around her, including very few villains, most notably Evil Mantis' son and eventually, Evil Mantis himself.

Her best friend is a fish named Flounder, and she develops a close relationship with a crab named Sebastian, the court composer. She is also impulsive, as evidenced by her exploring whilst forgetting about the concert. However, her impulsive nature does not impact her conscience, being portrayed as being extremely reluctant and hesitant to do something she knows or at least suspects is morally wrong to get what she wants, as evidenced by her reluctantly going to Ursula in the film as well as her reluctance to steal her father King Triton's trident as part of a dare in the third issue of the Marvel Comics.

Ariel is also shown to be extremely compassionate and loving; more so platonically than romantically. This is most notably seen through her friendship with her closest companion, Flounder, and even her father's court composer, Sebastian who, despite being against Ariel's recklessness and overly adventurous nature, is given a considerably large amount of love and respect from the princess, which is often reciprocated. With Flounder, she is comforting and patient, as well as protective, with the tendency to risk her own life for the guppy's on various occasions. Before she met Eric, she was very rarely interested in romantic relationships, not even with any of the merman princes that Triton tried to get her to marry. The only known exception was Prince Waverly of the Pacifica Kingdom, with whom she was infatuated. After meeting Eric, however, Ariel is revealed to be a romantic (a hopeless romantic to be exact), willing to make daring sacrifices for the sake of true love. Her love for him is validated by Eric's returned selflessness and sacrificial actions for the sake of love; notably seen during the climax of the film. She is able to risk everything for her love for Eric and for her dreams, even if this might hurt her. She is also protective of her friends, saving them even when in doing so she endangers herself in the process, this is especially evident when she saved Flounder (who had been knocked out hard enough to render his swim bladder temporarily inoperable and sink to the ocean floor) from Glut the Shark when nearly home free from him, nearly getting herself eaten in the process (the only thing preventing him from eating them being an anchor in its way that trapped him), as well as saving Sebastian from potentially being Grimsby's meal and attempting to tell Eric to leave her behind and save himself just before Ursula emerged as a giant.

She is also shown to be very forgiving and defended even people who were unable to do so themselves or were considered bad, as evidenced by her protecting Urchin despite the latter stealing from Triton as well as her defending a bad luck creature from both her friends and enemies for its reputation, and her saving Hans Christian Andersen. Another example of her forgiving side is in the fourth issue of Disney Comics where she decided, against Sebastian's statements, to save a human whose submersible was trapped, despite knowing full well that he tried to harm her beforehand.

Ariel has also shown to be usually honest and outspoken, but lies when she feels that she has to, whether it's to keep herself from getting into trouble with her father, to protect someone she cares about, or to fool an enemy. So when Ariel is being dishonest, it is normally out of selflessness much more than selfishness. Like her father, Ariel has a bad temper if she ever is provoked, although hers is not as bad as his. As well, like her father, Ariel is a pacifist and abhors violence and never supports it as a solution to anything. However, if she absolutely has to or if it is to protect someone she cares about from an enemy, she will not hesitate to resort to violence and she shows herself to be a fairly impressive warrior princess, almost as good and heroic as her father. But in most circumstances, she prefers to use words, logic and peaceful solutions rather than violence, unless a situation is seriously out of the question. Although spirited, even she has had some degree of self-doubts about herself, as she actually at one point considered her father might have been correct and that she may have been a freak for having any fascination for humanity. She also had a degree of seeing good in things, as she also doubted that humanity could have been pure evil from their tools and artworks.

Despite her usual naivety and impulsiveness, Ariel has shown on many occasions to be serious, careful, and very intelligent and intuitive, capable of learning from her mistakes and making up for any damage that she causes. Her naivety and impulsiveness should not be mistaken for stupidity, because she is not stupid, she is a genius. She has many girlish and feminine traits such as her love for singing and music, her hate for violence and evil, her being a hopeless romantic, her fondness for girly dresses, and her adorable sweetness and innocence to many things. However, she is also very active, athletic, rebellious, independent, stubborn, mischievous, adventurous, fearless, irritable, sassy and is not afraid to speak her mind, she stands up for equal rights more abrasively, she likes playing or at least watching sports, she is not obsessed with cleanliness and is not afraid to get dirty, she is rarely into fashion, jewellery or matriarchy like her sisters are and really only pretties herself up on important occasions (despite the fact that she is always beautiful), and she can hold her own against a shark, even a great white shark. Also, many of her friends are male and she grew up with no mother since her mother died when she was just an infant. Also, before she met Eric, she was hardly interested in romantic relationships, not even with any of the merman princes that her father King Triton tried to get her to marry (similar to how Princess Jasmine did with the Sultan). As a result, Ariel is somewhere in between of a feminist and a tomboy.

In The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, Ariel greatly matures after becoming a mother. Due to the threat of Morgana, Ursula's sister, she becomes very overprotective of Melody in the same manner she was treated by Triton in the first film. She is shown to long for the sea, but keeps this hidden from Melody for the latter's own safety; even though it would've been easier if she had explained everything to her, she even points this out in a later scene and at the film's climax. Her most notable trait, however, was her deep love and fascination for humanity, having desired to become human during the events of the first film, even prior to meeting her future husband, Eric. She did not always have this trait, however: until she was 15 years of age, she expressed a deep fear of humanity similar to Triton's xenophobia of humanity, although her witnessing some humans saving a beached dolphin changed her views on the matter. Ironically, one of the people responsible for saving the dolphin was Eric, although she never knew it.

Regardless of her few flaws, Ariel is very much a lovable, selfless, sweet-natured, inspirational, and wonderful being whom many people (both other characters in her universe and the audience) cannot help but love and relate to in a number of ways. She tends to make many people (even very few enemies) smile and happy when she is present, both for her outer beauty and inner beauty. On a related note, Ariel deeply does represent both outer beauty and inner beauty in almost every way.

Similar to Cinderella, although Ariel's love for Eric was indeed strong, pursuing him was not her main priority before encountering him, as she initially wanted to simply live among humanity and be among them.


The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning

The prologue of The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning shows Ariel as an adorable 5 year old mermaid, living happily with her father, King Triton, her mother, Queen Athena, and her six older sisters. As Ariel and her family relax in a lagoon, a pirate ship approaches and everyone flees except Athena, who returns to recover a music box Triton had given her and is crushed to death by the pirate's ship. Afterwards, a devastated King Triton bans all music from Atlantica and throws the music box deep into the ocean. Ariel and her sisters grow up forgetting music and living under their father's strict rules, enforced by Marina del Rey, their governess. Ariel meets Flounder and follows him to a secret underground club where Sebastian and his band play music. There she sings the song "I Remember", which reminds her of her distant past surrounded by love and music, and of her mother. Ariel introduces her sisters to the club, but eventually they are caught thanks to Marina, who had followed them. Sebastian and his band are imprisoned and the club is closed under Triton's orders. After an argument with Triton, Ariel breaks the band out of prison and escapes with them. With Sebastian's assistance, Ariel finds her mother's music box and they decide to return it to Triton. On their way back to Atlantica, they encounter Marina, and a struggle ensues in which Ariel is injured, witnessed by Triton. Ariel makes a full recovery, and a remorseful Triton allows music to come back to Atlantica.

Television series

The series, set an unspecified time before the first film, depicts Ariel's adventures as a mermaid living under the sea with her father, Sebastian and Flounder. Ariel's mother is absent, having already died prior to the events of the series. Several episodes highlight her relationship with her friends and family, expanding upon their roles in the film. Many involve Ariel foiling the attempts of various enemies intent on harming her or her kingdom. In one episode Ariel comes across Hans Christian Andersen, author of "The Little Mermaid". In the fictionalized encounter she saves Anderson's life, inspiring him to write the story.

The Little Mermaid

Ariel first appears in The Little Mermaid, in which she is shown as being adventurous and curious about the world of humans, a fascination which angers her father King Triton, as merfolk are forbidden from making contact with the human world. She and Flounder go in search of human objects, which they take to a seagull named Scuttle for appraisal. Ariel sings "Part of Your World" in her grotto and realizes a shadow approaching over it. She goes to the surface and falls in love with a human prince named Prince Eric after saving him from drowning, and visits the sea witch, Ursula who agrees to turn her into a human in exchange for her voice. Ariel must make Prince Eric fall in love with her and kiss her within three days, otherwise she turn back into a mermaid and would belong to Ursula forever. Unknown to Ariel, this agreement is part of Ursula's bigger plan to trap Ariel's father, King Triton and steal his magical trident. After being transformed, she is soon found by Eric and is taken back to his castle. Ariel almost manages to obtain the "kiss of true love", but is stopped by Ursula's underhanded tactics. On the third day, Ursula transforms herself into a human woman named Vanessa and bewitches Eric to make him marry her using Ariel's voice in the process. After learning from Scuttle that Vanessa is Ursula in disguise, Ariel disrupts the wedding and regains her voice, but the sun sets as Ariel and Prince Eric are about to kiss, transforming Ariel back into a mermaid. Ursula takes Ariel back into the ocean, where she is met by King Triton and Sebastian. Triton trades himself for Ariel, enabling Ursula to claim his trident. In the battle that follows, Ariel is trapped at the bottom of a whirlpool. Before Ursula can kill her, Eric kills Ursula by ramming a derelict ship's splintered prow through her enlarged torso. At the end of the film, Ariel is transformed into a human by King Triton's magical trident and she leaves to live with Eric.

The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea

Ariel with her husband Eric and their infant daughter Melody

In The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, Ariel, now the new queen of Prince Eric's kingdom, has given birth to a very beautiful tomboy daughter named Melody. When Melody's safety is threatened by a sea witch named Morgana, Ursula's sister, Ariel and Eric decide they must keep Melody from the sea, and build a large wall to separate it from the castle. But Melody's love of the sea proves too strong and she visits Morgana, who turns her into a mermaid temporarily. King Triton uses his trident to transform Ariel back into her own mermaid form to find and rescue Melody. Morgana tricks Melody into taking part in a plot to steal her grandfather King Triton's trident. Together with Tip the Penguin and Dash the Walrus she goes to Atlantica and succeeds in acquiring the trident. Ariel arrives as they return with it to Morgana, and tries to persuade Melody to give back the trident. Morgana captures Ariel, tightly wrapping her tentacle around Ariel's body. She then seals Melody behind a block wall. Tip and Dash rescue Melody and Ariel manages to free herself. Morgana then uses the trident's magic to force everyone to bow before her. Melody manages to grab the trident and returns it to King Triton, who then sends Morgana to the bottom of the ocean frozen in a block of ice. Triton returns Ariel to human form, the wall separating Eric's castle from the sea is torn down, and contact between humans and merfolk is restored.

House of Mouse

Ariel makes several appearances in the House of Mouse, as a regular guest.

Powers and Abilities

Being a mermaid, Ariel can breathe underwater and has very fast swimming abilities (it has been considered that Ariel is the fastest mermaid in her entire kingdom). Also, like other merfolk, Ariel possesses a certain degree of superhuman strength and endurance, as well as aquapathy, aquakinesis, and thermoendurance. Also, she possesses magical powers through her voice when she sings, similar to a mermaid siren in mythology where the mermaids seduce and lure unfortunate sailors to their doom in the sea, where the mermaid kills and eats the sailor. But in Ariel's case, she is not a siren whatsoever, and neither is the rest of her kind.

Similar Heroes


  • Ariel is the only Disney Princess to not be born a human and the only one to be a mythical creature.
  • Ariel is one of the most popular Disney Princesses (if not the most popular Disney Princess), probably because of her being the only one not being born a human and/or because of her adventurous, rebellious and bubbly personality.
  • Ariel is the only Disney Princess to become a mother.
  • Ariel won an award for Most Beautiful Disney Heroine and 2nd Sexiest Animated Female Character Ever.
  • Ariel is the first Disney Princess to have red hair, the second being Merida.
  • Ariel is the first Disney Princess to bare her midriff, the second being Jasmine, and the third being Kida (although she is not an official Disney Princess since her movie failed in the box office).
  • Ariel is the last Disney Princess to have a female villain in her movie, until in 2010, when Rapunzel got a female villain.
    • She is also the first Disney Princess to physically fight the villain of her movie.
  • Ariel is the first Disney Princess to have magical powers, the second being Pocahontas, the third being Rapunzel, and the fourth being Queen Elsa.
    • She is also arguably the physically strongest of all of the Disney Princesses, with Rapunzel being a very close challenge for her.
  • Ariel is the first Disney Princess to have biological siblings, the second being Merida, and the third and fourth being Anna and Elsa.
  • Ariel is the only one out of her sisters, as a mermaid, to not wear hair accessories, save for the occasional sea flower.
  • Ariel is the fourth youngest Disney Princess, with Jasmine being the third youngest, Aurora being the second youngest, and Snow White being the youngest.
  • Ariel has the second biggest eyes out of all of the Disney Princesses, with Rapunzel having the biggest eyes.
  • Ariel is the first Disney Princess to save her prince.
  • Ariel is the only Disney Princess to know sign language.
  • Ariel is the first rebellious Disney Princess.
  • Ariel is the first tomboy Disney Princess, the second being Jasmine, the third being Pocahontas, the fourth being Mulan, the fifth being Rapunzel, the sixth being Merida, and the seventh being Anna. However, all of them have girly traits as well, some more than others.
  • Out of all of the Disney Princesses in the line-up, Ariel is mostly seen with Jasmine, Belle, and Rapunzel.
  • Although Ariel is legitimately with Prince Eric, many fans on DeviantArt, YouTube, and/or FanFiction pair her up with Jim Hawkins due to their many similarities (including the fact that they're the same age and that both their films were pitched to Disney at the same time in the late 1980's) and the belief that they would make a better and more interesting couple and that Jim is "the perfect alternative love-interest for Ariel". Plus, with their key differences, they would balance each other out and help each other develop as characters: Ariel helping Jim be more positive, open, and appreciative of life, and Jim helping Ariel be more practical, serious, and careful of who or what to trust. However, the chances of Ariel and Jim ever becoming a legitimate couple are slim to none.


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