The Little Mermaid: Why Were The Merpeople and Humans Divided?

Disney’s The Little Mermaid live-action did not stray that far from the original animated film. In fact, the remake simply emphasized what was already there and that is the divide between merpeople and humans.

Read on to find out why the merpeople and humans have long been divided here!

The Little Mermaid: Why Does King Triton Hate Humans?

The Little Mermaid: Why Were The Merpeople and Humans Divided?
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Credit: Disney

Ariel is forbidden from exploring more about the world of humans. The King Triton made that perfectly clear whenever he would scold her whenever she tried to come up to the surface.

One of King Triton’s reasons is losing their mother.

Although The Little Mermaid live-action did not show who Ariel’s mother is and how she died, the original animated film actually spawned a prequel to show what had happened.

The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning (2008) showed that King Triton was not always strict when it came to letting his daughters come up to the surface.

Queen Athena From The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning (2008)
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Credit: Disney

It showed a brief flashback of what Ariel’s mother looked like and that her name was Athena. However, the death of the Queen led to King Triton’s hatred towards humans.

In the prequel, Queen Athena was crushed against the ship of pirates that were hunting down merpeople, leading the King to forbid music from the kingdom of the sea, and returning to the surface again.

Apart from this reason, there was a scene in 2023’s The Little Mermaid where as Ariel’s sisters stay at the kingdom to celebrate the Coral Moon with their father, the sisters have widely believed that shipwrecks are intentional acts of humans damaging the coral reefs.

Not to mention, the look on King Triton’s face when he discovered that Ariel built a trove filled with lost things that came from shipwrecks, most likely reminding him how dangerous these ‘trinkets’ could be to his family, and to the sea.

Little did they know that the shipwrecks were not always the fault of humans. Of course, cleaning up the damaged coral reefs led to all the more reasons for loathing humans.

READ MORE: The Little Mermaid: What Is The Coral Moon?

The Little Mermaid: Why Do Humans Hate Merpeople?

The Little Mermaid: Why Do Humans Hate Merpeople?
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Credit: Disney

Humans are always fascinated with the unknown and the mysterious. In this case, The Little Mermaid live-action showed that humans are in favor of striking sea creatures first before they do.

The very crew the Prince Eric hired with him on the ship for his birthday always claimed that the sea creatures, particularly, sirens and the King of the Sea are often scheming “to lure men to their deaths” when sailing these uncharted waters.

Even the queen, Prince Eric’s mother, had even warned her son of the dangers of the common shipwrecks their island often encounters.

In fact, they had found and adopted Eric because of the shipwrecks, when he landed on their kingdom’s shore.

As Prince Eric’s mother said, “The sea gods have always been against us.”

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These have all been misunderstandings between the two residing species, especially since it is common for humans to feast on fish and seafood, and for the merpeople, their limited understanding on how the surface world works.

Who Made The Humans vs. Merpeople Feud Happen?

Though it was briefly mentioned in live-action, when Ariel first met Ursula, she described the Sea Witch as "the one who makes chaos between humans and mermaids."

Evidently, Ursula's the one behind it all, most likely her off-camera works on how the storm surges causing more and more shipwrecks by the day, all so she could finally get her hands on the trident back from King Triton.

The ending of The Little Mermaid is pretty similar to the original animated film, where King Triton allows his daughter to marry and go off to venture the world with her husband, Eric.

In turn, the merpeople arose and showed Ariel they would always be there if she ever needed them.

Not to mention, the humans not harming the merpeople when they showed up for the bride and groom in the end, a peaceful ending to the long-running feud.

Disney’s The Little Mermaid (2023) is now available in theaters!

ALSO READ: The Ending of The Little Mermaid Explained


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