HOME
The Info List - Bluebeard



--- Advertisement ---


(i) (i) (i) (i)

"BLUEBEARD" (French : Barbe bleue) is a French folktale , the most famous surviving version of which was written by Charles Perrault and first published by Barbin in Paris in 1697 in Histoires ou contes du temps passé . The tale tells the story of a wealthy violent man in the habit of murdering his wives and the attempts of one wife to avoid the fate of her predecessors. "The White Dove ", "The Robber Bridegroom " and "Fitcher\'s Bird " (also called "Fowler's Fowl") are tales similar to "Bluebeard".

CONTENTS

* 1 Plot summary * 2 Sources * 3 Commentaries * 4 Aarne–Thompson classification * 5 Bluebeard\'s wives

* 6 Variations

* 6.1 In theatre * 6.2 In television * 6.3 In other media * 6.4 In film

* 7 References * 8 Further reading * 9 External links

PLOT SUMMARY

Bluebeard
Bluebeard
is a wealthy and powerful man, yet a frighteningly ugly nobleman who has been married several times to beautiful women who have all mysteriously vanished. When Bluebeard
Bluebeard
visits his neighbor and asks to marry one of his daughters, the girls are terrified. After hosting a wonderful banquet, he chooses the youngest daughter to be his wife - against her will - and she goes to live with him in his rich and luxurious palace in the countryside, away from her family.

Bluebeard
Bluebeard
announces that he must leave for the country and gives the keys of the château (castle) to his wife. She is able to open any door in the house with them, each of which contain some of his riches, except for an underground chamber that he strictly forbids her to enter lest she suffer his wrath. He then goes away and leaves the house and the keys in her hands. She invites her sister, Anne, and her friends and cousins over for a party. However, she is eventually overcome with the desire to see what the forbidden room holds; and she sneaks away from the party and ventures into the room.

She immediately discovers the room is filled with blood and the murdered corpses of Bluebeard's former wives hung on hooks from the walls. Horrified, she drops the key in the blood and flees the room. She tries to wash the blood from the key, but the key is magical and the blood cannot be removed. Fearing for her life, she reveals her husband's secret to her visiting sister, and they plan to both flee the next morning, but Bluebeard
Bluebeard
unexpectedly comes back and finds the bloody key. In a blind rage, he threatens to kill her on the spot, but she asks for one last prayer with her sister Anne. At the last moment, as Bluebeard
Bluebeard
is about to deliver the fatal blow, the brothers of the wife and her sister Anne arrive and kill Bluebeard. The wife inherits his fortune and castle, and has the dead wives buried. She uses the fortune to have her other siblings married, and eventually remarries herself, to a man she loves, and moves on from her horrible experience with Bluebeard.

SOURCES

Although best known as a folktale, the character of Bluebeard
Bluebeard
appears to derive from legends related to historical individuals in Brittany . One source is believed to have been the 15th-century Breton and convicted serial killer Gilles de Rais
Gilles de Rais
, a nobleman who fought alongside Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc
and became both Marshall of France and her official protector, then, was burned as a murderous witch. However, Gilles de Rais
Gilles de Rais
did not kill his wife, nor were any bodies found on his property, and the crimes for which he was convicted involved the sexually-driven, brutal murder of children and not a punishment for perceived betrayal.

Another possible source stems from the story of the early Breton king Conomor the Accursed and his wife Tryphine . This is recorded in a biography of St. Gildas
St. Gildas
, written five centuries after his death in the sixth century. It describes how after Conomor married Tryphine, she was warned by the ghosts of his previous wives that he murders them when they become pregnant. Pregnant, she flees; he catches and beheads her, but St. Gildas
St. Gildas
miraculously restores her to life, and when he brings her to Conomor, the walls of his castle collapse and kill him. Conomor is a historical figure, known locally as a werewolf , and various local churches are dedicated to Saint Tryphine and her son, Saint Tremeur .

The character's blue beard is regarded as a symbol of his otherworldly origins.

COMMENTARIES

The Wife goes toward the Forbidden Room. Illustration by Walter Crane Bluebeard
Bluebeard
is slain in a woodcut by Walter Crane
Walter Crane

For Iona and Peter Opie , the tale reads as a legend imperfectly recollected. For example, a gap occurs in the narrative between the wife's entrance into the forbidden chamber and Bluebeard's unexpected return, a time when her house guests vanish without explanation, and Bluebeard's willingness to wait a quarter of an hour before slaying his wife is out of character and poorly excused. Although no earlier retelling of the story has been discovered, it may be assumed one existed.

The fatal effects of feminine curiosity have long been the subject of story and legend. Lot\'s wife , Pandora
Pandora
, and Psyche are all examples of mythic stories where women's curiosity is punished by dire consequences. In an illustrated account of the Bluebeard
Bluebeard
story by Walter Crane
Walter Crane
, when the wife is shown making her way towards the forbidden room, there is behind her a tapestry of the serpent enticing Eve
Eve
into eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden .

In addition, hidden or forbidden chambers were not unknown in pre-Perrault literature. In Basile's Pentamerone
Pentamerone
, the tale "The Three Crowns " tells of a Princess Marchetta entering a room after being forbidden by an ogress, and in The Arabian Nights Prince Agib is given a hundred keys to a hundred doors but forbidden to enter the golden door, which he does, with terrible consequences. In the story of Prince Agib, the motive is clear: the forbidden door is a test. However, in "Bluebeard", the motive is less clear. It is not explained why Bluebeard
Bluebeard
would give a key to his wife that will reveal his horrific marital past. In an Indian story, an ogress looks after a prince while disguised as a beautiful woman and tells him not to enter the tower, pit or kitchen, which will reveal her. In the tower, an old man who has been tied up by her reveals who she is, in the pit are the bones of her victims, and the kitchen contains three magical balls which the prince uses to escape the ogress, with the final one a fire is caused which the Ogress runs into and in which she burns to death.

AARNE–THOMPSON CLASSIFICATION

According to the Aarne–Thompson system of classifying folktale plots, the tale of Bluebeard
Bluebeard
is type 312. Another such tale is The White Dove , an oral French variant. The type is closely related to Aarne–Thompson type 311, the heroine rescues herself and her sisters, in such tales as Fitcher\'s Bird , The Old Dame and Her Hen , and How the Devil Married Three Sisters . The tales where the youngest daughter rescues herself and the other sisters from the villain is in fact far more common in oral traditions than this type, where the heroine's brother rescues her. Other such tales do exist, however; the brother is sometimes aided in the rescue by marvelous dogs or wild animals.

Some European variants of the ballad Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight , Child ballad 4, closely resemble this tale. This is particularly noteworthy among some German variants, where the heroine calls for help, much like the calls to Sister Anne in Bluebeard, and is rescued by her brother.

BLUEBEARD\'S WIVES

It is not explained why Bluebeard
Bluebeard
murdered his first bride; she could not have entered the forbidden room and found a dead wife.

In the 1812 version published in Grimms\' Fairy Tales , Wilhelm Grimm , on p. XLI of the annotations, makes the following handwritten comment: "It seems in all Märchen of Blubeard, wherein his Blutrunst has not rightly explained, the idea to be the basis of himself through bathing in blood to cure of the blue beard; as the lepers. That is also why it is written that the blood is collected in basins."

Maurice Maeterlinck wrote extensively on Bluebeard
Bluebeard
and in his plays names at least six former wives: Sélysette from Aglavaine et Sélysette (1896), Alladine from Alladine et Palomides (1894), both Ygraine and Bellangère from La mort de Tintagiles (1894), Mélisande from Pelléas et Mélisande, and Ariane from Ariane et Barbe-bleue (1907).

In Jacques Offenbach 's opera (1866), the five previous wives are Héloïse, Eléonore, Isaure, Rosalinde and Blanche, with the sixth and final wife being a peasant girl, Boulotte, who finally reveals his secret when he attempts to have her killed so that he can marry Princess Hermia.

Béla Bartók
Béla Bartók
's opera A Kékszakállú herceg vára (1911), with the libretto by Béla Balázs
Béla Balázs
, names "Judith", which places her as wife number four, whereas Ariane would be wife number six, but fails to take Judith into account. Bartók's version does not name any of the wives that appear in it. Rather than retelling the original story, the libretto only uses the main characters and setting, and transforms them into a symbolist story.

Anatole France 's short story "The Seven Wives of Bluebeard" names Jeanne as the last wife before Bluebeard's death.

Alfred Savoir wrote in the 1920s a play La huitième femme de Barbe-Bleue (Bluebeard's eighth wife) from which Sam Wood and Ernst Lubitsch produced two films, other than starting from the point of being a plus one wife of Bluebeard
Bluebeard
and that it considers Anatole France's count of his wives, this play or the films share nothing with a description or numbering of the duke's wives.

In Edward Dmytryk 's film Bluebeard
Bluebeard
(1972), Baron von Sepper (Richard Burton) is an Austrian aristocrat known as Bluebeard
Bluebeard
for his blue-toned beard, and his appetite for beautiful wives. This film names an American beauty named Anne, who discovers a vault in his castle filled with the frozen bodies of his previous wives.

VARIATIONS

"Blue Beard" by Harry Clarke .

Other versions of Bluebeard
Bluebeard
include:

* Pantomime versions of the tale were staged at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London as early as 1798, and famous editions there were by E. L. Blanchard in 1879 and starred Dan Leno in 1901. Many of these productions orientalized the tale by setting it in the Ottoman Empire , often giving the wife the name Fatima. The popularity of the pantomime made orientalized depictions of Bluebeard
Bluebeard
common in English illustrations throughout the 19th century and into the early 20th century. * Ariane et Barbe-bleue by Paul Dukas * Bluebeard\'s Castle by Béla Bartók
Béla Bartók
and Béla Balázs
Béla Balázs
* Bluebeard
Bluebeard
by The Brothers Grimm * Barbe-bleue by Jacques Offenbach * Captain Murderer by Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
* The Awful History of Bluebeard
Bluebeard
by William Makepeace Thackeray
William Makepeace Thackeray
* Bluebeard\'s Keys by Anne Thackeray Ritchie * The Seven Wives of Bluebeard
Bluebeard
by Anatole France * Bluebeard\'s Egg by Margaret Atwood * Bones by Francesca Lia Block
Francesca Lia Block
. * Bluebeard
Bluebeard
(play) , an off-Broadway comedy by Charles Ludlam * Bluebeard
Bluebeard
by Kurt Vonnegut * Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson * The Bloody Chamber the eponymous story of Angela Carter 's Collection * Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi * Blushing by Nalo Hopkinson * The Glass Bottle Trick by Nalo Hopkinson

In Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
' short story, the titular character is described as "an offshoot of the Bluebeard
Bluebeard
family", and is far more bloodthirsty than most Bluebeards: he cannibalises each wife a month after marriage. He meets his demise after his sister-in-law in revenge for the death of her sister, marries him and consumes a deadly poison just before he devours her.

In Joyce Carol Oates ' short story, "Blue-Bearded Lover", the most recent wife is well aware of Bluebeard's murdered wives: she does not unlock the door to the forbidden room, and therefore avoids death herself. Strangely enough she remains with Bluebeard
Bluebeard
despite knowing he is a murderer, and gives birth to Bluebeard's children.

In DC Comics
DC Comics
' Fables series, Bluebeard
Bluebeard
appears as an amoral character, willing to kill and often suspected of being involved in various nefarious deeds. Bluebeard
Bluebeard
is also a character in the video game by Telltale Games based on the Fables comics, The Wolf Among Us .

In the Japanese light novel and recently adapted manga/anime Fate/Zero
Fate/Zero
, Bluebeard
Bluebeard
appears as the Caster Servant, where his character largely stems from Gilles de Rais
Gilles de Rais
as a serial murderer of children.

Bluebeard
Bluebeard
appears as a minor darklord in the Advanced Dungeons -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em; list-style-type: decimal;">

* ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bluebeard". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. * ^ "