Hans: Clever schemer, opportunist or love corrupted by power
When Hans reveals his true character near the end of Frozen many people cried foul. They point out his goofy grin at the beginning of the movie and how he looked out for the sisters until it was clear that he could get what he wanted. People are upset because they didn’t see his act beforehand, but if you think about it, there is something of real life in it.
Because this story focuses on Anna and Elsa, it is told from their point of view, and it is predominantly Anna that the camera follows. She is in love with Hans, so the audience won’t know anything but the positives related to him when she is on the screen, and like anyone else who has been in love, Anna will not explore the possibility that Hans is anything more than he says he is.
There are times when Hans is on the screen, and he still seems like a good guy. Then how can his character change be justified. Aside from the obvious idea that it’s always the good guys, or at least the quiet ones, that are the serial killers, Hans may be misread or misunderstood.
He’s a Schemer
One theory is that Hans set this up from the start. His grin is just in case Anna turns around, and he keeps up his kindness as Machiavelli recommended – until he believes he has usurped the power in the kingdom. He says that he knew the only way that he could rule a kingdom was to marry into one, but no one was getting anywhere with Elsa, which meant that he had to marry Anna and then arrange an accident. This sounds untrue because no one really knew anything about the princesses, as the two rulers who enter the walls of the castle talk about the possibility of the beauty of the princesses. Hans would have had to done a ton of homework and probably some spying, which most likely would have got him caught or not yielded any real information.
He’s an Opportunist
There is a very real possibility that Hans had some vague plan in mind and just took the opportunities that were given to him. Maybe that sly grin wasn’t one of love but of recognition of the fact that he had found his way onto a throne. He is a charmer, and he has had to deal with 12 brothers, which has probably made him a pretty good judge of character and motivations. Plus, Anna was anything but discrete in her attraction toward Hans. As events unfolded in the story, Hans kept doing the right thing, so that no one would suspect his motives, and he would already have the population on his side when he took the throne after the death of the two princesses.
Love Corrupted by Power
It is possible that Hans really does love Anna, but his hunger and desire for power are too great to overcome. There is a bit of a frown when he asserts his power and talks to the Duke of Weselton about treason. Still, he goes after Anna, says he saved Elsa from being killed and asks Elsa to stop the winter when he clearly could have killed her with no consequences. His harsh rejection of Anna may be an echo of his rejecting his own nature. He was steeling himself for the cruel end that he knew he had to inflict if he wanted to reach his goal of sitting on the throne as a ruler.
Many people struggle with the turn of Hans in Frozen. He seems like such a nice guy until he says, “Oh, Anna, if only there was someone out there who loved you.” However, taken in context of the real world, a world that fairy tales are striving to enter, Hans acts in just the way that he should, given his background and his motives. Hans isn’t necessarily the bad guy that he is painted to be. Instead, he is a character who embraces opportunity when it comes his way. It is Hans’ active pursuit that ends up defining him and is his downfall.
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