Gaston really is the most terrifying Disney villain because he could be anyone in the world.
HOWEVER! (And this is sort of a non sequitur, but it’s what I thought of when I saw this gifset.)
In the movie, the Beast gives Belle the gift of a library, which in contrast to Gaston is supposed to seem progressive.
But Belle is still a prisoner in the Beast’s home, and throughout the movie we see this woman, who starts the film singing about how she dreams of travel and adventure, become complacent in her prison. In fact, the library shown to go a long way toward appeasing whatever negative feelings Belle may have about her captivity.
And in the end of the movie, Belle is shown settling into domesticity as the wife of her prince. Rather than getting an adventure, she is tamed and finds her proper place as a pampered wife. The library ends up being simply an indulgence meant to keep Belle satisfied with being trapped, first as a prisoner and then as a wife with responsibilities because she’s married to a prince.
So, really, the Beast isn’t that progressive. He’s fine with Belle reading, but it seems clear from the movie that this is not because he wants her to live her dreams. Rather, it’s because he’s trying to find a way to make her content with the cage he’s put her in.