Meg de Milo
In the 1997 movie Hercules, there is an amusing scene (for an art history student at least) in which Hercules skims a rock across a pond, accidently knocking the arms off a female sculpture. Meg looks at the sculpture for a moment and says: 'It looks better that way. It really does.' The altered sculpture is of course, the Venus de Milo, wittily inserted in her white and fragmented state, into this Disney cartoon.
Watching Hercules again has revealed a whole host of these pretty hilarious Classical winks that were most definitely lost on my younger ears - 'Indoor plumbing: it’s gonna be big' or '…that Oedipus thing! Man, I thought I had problems!' and my particular favourite 'You wanna buy a sundial?' Here Disney uses the mythological, yet surprisingly modern nature of the Classical to reassert order to the franchise which had been dwindling in recent years.
It is Meg's character however that I find most intriguing in its use of the classical. Meg straddles the boundary between a typical Disney Princess and something entirely other. At first she is instantly recognisable as a Disney girl, her eyes are huge (and purple) and her waist minute. However, Meg has an undeniable sex appeal, the likes of which have not been seen before or since in a Disney film. Disney Princesses before Meg had been youthful, doe eyed and achingly virginal so I suppose I always pegged Meg's sex appeal to her being the only Disney love interest to have had previous relationships. It is also aided by her being a bit of a rebel, working her charms for Hades in a weirdly pimp/prostitute dynamic. However, I now believe this has much to do with the undeniable stylistic link between Meg and Venus – the Western world's original sex symbol.