The plot of "The Little Mermaid" involves Ariel, a mermaid princess, who desires to become human. Her wish is eventually granted, though dire consequences occur as a result of her transformation.
"The Little Mermaid" begins with the introduction of Ariel, voiced by Jodi Benson, a 16-year-old mermaid princess. Ariel is the daughter of King Triton, voiced by Kenneth Mars, the ruler of Atlantis. Triton imposes strict rules on Ariel, which she laments to her friends, including Sebastian, a hermit crab voiced by Samuel E. Wright, and Flounder, a fish voiced by Jason Marin. One night, Ariel saves Prince Eric, a human voiced by Christopher Daniel Barnes, from drowning. She immediately falls in love with him, and she makes a deal with Ursula, a witch voiced by Pat Carroll, to become human for three days in exchange for giving up her voice.
Ariel is told she can remain human forever if she obtains a kiss from Eric within the three days allotted by Ursula. On land, she romances Prince Eric and almost succeeds in obtaining a kiss, despite her lack of voice. However, she soon discovers that Ursula has also taken a human form and is attempting to win Prince Eric for herself. The film climaxes in a massive battle in which Ursula reveals her true form and is killed when Eric impales her with the bow of his ship. Ariel and Eric are then married and live happily ever after.