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"Bluebeard" (French: Barbe bleue) is a French folktale, the most famous surviving version of which was written by Charles Perrault
Charles Perrault
and first published by Barbin in Paris in 1697 in Histoires ou contes du temps passé.[1][2] 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[edit] Bluebeard
Bluebeard
is a wealthy and powerful, yet 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[edit] 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, a nobleman who fought alongside Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc
and became both Marshal of France and her official protector, then, was burned as a murderous witch.[3] 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.[citation needed] Another possible source stems from the story of the early Breton king Conomor
Conomor
the Accursed and his wife Tryphine. This is recorded in a biography of St. Gildas, written five centuries after his death in the sixth century. It describes how after Conomor
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
Conomor
is a historical figure, known locally as a werewolf, and various local churches are dedicated to Saint Tryphine
Saint Tryphine
and her son, Saint Tremeur.[4] The character's blue beard is regarded as a symbol of his otherworldly origins.[5] Commentaries[edit]

The Wife goes toward the Forbidden Room. Illustration by Walter Crane

Bluebeard
Bluebeard
is slain in a woodcut by 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.[6] The fatal effects of feminine curiosity have long been the subject of story and legend. Lot's wife, 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, 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.[5] In addition, hidden or forbidden chambers were not unknown in pre-Perrault literature. In Basile's 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
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.[7] 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.[6] 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[edit] According to the Aarne–Thompson system of classifying folktale plots, the tale of Bluebeard
Bluebeard
is type 312.[8] Another such tale is The White Dove, an oral French variant.[9] 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.[10] Some European variants of the ballad Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight, Child ballad
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.[11] Bluebeard's wives[edit] 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 [fairy tales] of Bluebeard, wherein his Blutrunst [flowing of blood] 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
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's opera A Kékszakállú herceg vára (1911), with the libretto by 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
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[edit]

"Blue Beard" by Harry Clarke.

Other versions of Bluebeard
Bluebeard
include:[12]

Pantomime
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
Dan Leno
in 1901.[13] 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
Ariane et Barbe-bleue
by Paul Dukas Bluebeard's Castle
Bluebeard's Castle
by Béla Bartók
Béla Bartók
and Béla Balázs Bluebeard
Bluebeard
by The Brothers Grimm Barbe-bleue by Jacques Offenbach Captain Murderer by Charles Dickens The Awful History of Bluebeard
Bluebeard
by William Makepeace Thackeray Bluebeard's Keys by Anne Thackeray Ritchie The Seven Wives of Bluebeard
Bluebeard
by Anatole France Bluebeard's Egg
Bluebeard's Egg
by Margaret Atwood Bones by 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' 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' 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
Telltale Games
based on the Fables comics, The Wolf Among Us. In the Japanese light novel and recently adapted manga/anime 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 & Dragons (2nd ed.) Ravenloft
Ravenloft
Accessory Darklords. In Stephen King's The Shining, the story of Blue Beard is read by Jack to Danny as a three-year-old, to his wife's disapproval. In theatre[edit]

Bluebeard, a ballet by the choreographer Marius Petipa
Marius Petipa
to the music of composer Pyotr Schenk. Premiered 1896, Imperial Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, Russia. Bluebeard's kitchen, by the director Marc von Henning with Nikos Xatzopoulos, Akyllas Karazisis, Maria Skoula, Maria Kechagioglou, Natalia Dragoumi, Anna Mascha. Premiered October 31, 2001, Amore Theatre, Athens, Greece Bluebeard
Bluebeard
by the director and choreographer Staša Zurovac and the composer Marjan Nećak. The new ballet work in The Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb is based on the famous legend of the Bluebeard finding inspiration in the novel The Seven Wives of Bluebeard
Bluebeard
of the French Nobel laureate Anatole France. The premiere - November, Friday 13, 2015.

In television[edit]

In a 1977 episode of Lou Grant, when considering their employer Mrs. Pychon's relationship with a media mogul, Lou Grant
Lou Grant
says to Charlie Hume, "They make a nice couple." Whereupon, Charlie responds : "How often do you think that was mentioned at Bluebeard's wedding ?" [14] Bluebeard
Bluebeard
is featured in Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics
Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics
as part of its "Grimm Masterpiece Theater" season. The character Bluebeard
Bluebeard
is also featured as one of seven servants in the 2011 anime Fate/Zero. Bluebeard
Bluebeard
is featured in The Fairytale Detective Sandra as the villain in the episode "The Forbidden Room". Bluebeard
Bluebeard
is featured in Scary Tales, produced by the Discovery Channel, Sony
Sony
and IMAX, episode one, in 2011. (This series is not related to the Disney collection of the same name.) Bluebeard
Bluebeard
was the subject of the pilot episode of an aborted television series, Famous Tales (1951), created by and starring Burl Ives with music by Albert Hague. A Korean stage play of the Bluebeard
Bluebeard
story serves as the backstory and inspiration for the antagonist, a serial kidnapper, in the South Korean television show, Strong Woman Do Bong-soon
Strong Woman Do Bong-soon
(2017). Hannibal (TV series), Season 3 episode 12 "The Number of the Beast is 666", the protagonist Will Graham compares the character Bedelia Du Maurier to one of Bluebeard's wives. Bedelia in turn says "If I'm to be Bluebeard's wife, I would've preferred to be the last." Alluding that Will is to be Hannibal's (Bluebeard's) current, if not final, wife. (2015)

In other media[edit]

The fairytale of Bluebeard
Bluebeard
was the inspiration for the Gothic feminine horror game "Bluebeard's Bride" by Whitney "Strix" Beltrán, Marissa Kelly, and Sarah Richardson. Players play from the shared perspective of the Bride, each taking on an aspect of her psyche. Published by Magpie Games Bluebeard
Bluebeard
is mentioned in "Blackberry Picking", a poem by Seamus Heaney. Bluebeard
Bluebeard
is the subject of "Bluebeard", a sonnet by Edna St. Vincent Millay. Bluebeard
Bluebeard
is the title of and inspiration for a song by the Cocteau Twins. It was included on their 1993 album "Four-Calendar Café". Bluebeard
Bluebeard
was adapted for BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4
in 2014 in a radio play called Burning Desires by Pier Productions. A crypt for Bluebeard
Bluebeard
and his wives is featured in the exit area of The Haunted Mansion
The Haunted Mansion
at the Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom
park in Walt Disney World. In the Sisters Grimm
Sisters Grimm
series by Michael Buckley, Bluebeard
Bluebeard
is a minor villain and attempts to kill Ms. White. The legend of Bluebeard
Bluebeard
was the inspiration for the song "Go Long" by Joanna Newsom. It can be found on her 2010 album "Have One On Me" In the Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter
Angela Carter
1979. In "The Blue Castle" by Lucy Maude Montgomery, the heroine refers to Bluebeard's Chamber and the possibility of former wives hanging on the wall, since her husband has a secret past and a locked room. The 2013 fantasy horror comic Porcelain: A Gothic Fairy Tale (by Benjamin Read and Chris Wildgoose) employs the Bluebeard
Bluebeard
story element with the blooded key to a secret room of horrors. In The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy, in chapter eighteen, the story of Bluebeard
Bluebeard
is referred to, with Sir Percy's bedroom being compared to Bluebeard's chamber, and Marguerite to Bluebeard's wife.

In film[edit] Several film versions of the story were made:

Barbe-bleue, a short film by Georges Méliès. Bluebeard's 8th Wife, a 1923 silent directed by Sam Wood, starring Gloria Swanson. Bluebeard's Eighth Wife, a 1938 remake of the Swanson silent, starring Claudette Colbert. Bluebeard, a film directed by Edgar G. Ulmer, starring John Carradine. Secret Beyond the Door, a 1948 contemporary adaptation by director Fritz Lang and produced by Walter Wanger, with Michael Redgrave making his Hollywood debut in the Bluebeard-inspired role and Wanger's wife Joan Bennett as Redgrave's new bride. Bluebeard's Six Wives, a 1950 Italian comedy film directed by Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia, starring Totò. Juliette, or Key of Dreams, a 1951 French film, based on the 1930 play of the same name, in which a main character is directly inspired from Bluebeard, and is in fact directly called Bluebeard
Bluebeard
at the end of the film. Blaubart, released in the United States as Bluebeard, a 1951 German-French film directed by Christian-Jaque, starring Hans Albers Bluebeard
Bluebeard
(1972 film), a film directed by Edward Dmytryk, starring Richard Burton The French film Barbe Bleue, directed by Catherine Breillat, is modeled closely on the work by Charles Perrault. Monsieur Verdoux
Monsieur Verdoux
is a 1947 black comedy film directed by and starring Charles Chaplin. The Piano, a 1993 film directed by Jane Campion. The film also serves as a retelling of the fairytale "Bluebeard", which is hinted at further in the inclusion of "Bluebeard" as a piece of the Christmas pageant. Ochen' siniya boroda ("Very blue beard"), a 1979 Soviet animated film, gives modern satirical variations on the theme of Bluebeard. La dernière femme de barbe bleue (1996 Urkraine-France animation film), parody in which Bluebeard
Bluebeard
is a victim of his wife. Ex Machina, a 2015 film by writer/director Alex Garland, adapts the Bluebeard
Bluebeard
character as the reclusive CEO of a fictional tech company called "Bluebook" (a seeming amalgam of Google
Google
and Facebook
Facebook
described as having been named for Wittgenstein's Blue Book), dividing the role of Bluebeard's wife between a female-bodied AI and an unsuspecting Bluebook programmer summoned to evaluate it. Crimson Peak, a 2015 Gothic horror
Gothic horror
film, has plot similarities to the tale of Bluebeard

References[edit]

^  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bluebeard". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.  ^ " Charles Perrault
Charles Perrault
(1628-1703)". CLPAV.  ^ MARGARET ALICE MURRAY (1921). THE WITCH-CULT IN WESTERN EUROPE: A Study in Anthropology; Clarendon Press, Oxford,. p. 267. ISBN 0-19-820744-1.  ^ Marina Warner. From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales And Their Tellers. p. 261. ISBN 0-374-15901-7.  ^ a b Maria Tatar. The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales. W.W. Norton & Company. p. 151. ISBN 0-393-05163-3.  ^ a b Iona and Peter Opie (1974). The Classic Fairy Tales. Oxford University Press. pp. 103–105. ISBN 0-19-520219-8.  ^ http://www.wollamshram.ca/1001/Dixon/dixon02_20.htm ^ Heidi Anne Heiner. "Tales Similar to Bluebeard".  ^ Paul Delarue, The Borzoi Book of French Folk-Tales, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., p. 359, 1956 ^ Stith Thompson (1977). The Folktale. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press. p. 36.  ^ Francis James Child, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads; v 1, New York: Dover Publications, p 47, 1965 ^ Shuli Barzilai, Tales of Bluebeard
Bluebeard
and His Wives from Late Antiquity to Postmodern Times ^ Adams, William Davenport. "A dictionary of the drama: a guide to the plays, play-wrights, players, and playhouses of the United Kingdom and America", Chatto & Windus, 1904, p. 176 ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0636502/?ref_=ttep_ep12

Further reading[edit]

Hermansson, Casie E. (2009). Bluebeard: A Reader's Guide to the English Tradition. Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi. Loo, Oliver (2014). The Original 1812 Grimm Fairy Tales Kinder- und Hausmärchen Childrens and Household Tales. Tatar, Maria (2004). Secrets Beyond the Door: The Story of Bluebeard and His Wives. Princeton / Oxford, Princeton University Press. Vizetelly, Ernest Alfred (1902). Bluebeard: An Account of Comorre the Cursed and Gilles de Rais, with Summaries of Various Tales and Traditions; Chatto & Windus; Westminster, England.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bluebeard.

Wikisource
Wikisource
has original text related to this article: Blue Beard

Look up Bluebeard
Bluebeard
in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

SurLaLune Fairy Tale Pages: Heidi Anne Heiner, "The Annotated Bluebeard" Variants " Bluebeard
Bluebeard
and the Bloody Chamber" by Terri Windling Leon Botstein's concert notes on Dukas' Ariane et Barbe-bleue Glimmerglass Opera's notes on Offenbach's Barbe Bleue, the Bluebeard fairy tale in general, and operetta in the time of Offenbach. A Shakespeare reference (in French) Bluebeard, audio version

v t e

Charles Perrault

Works

Histoires ou contes du temps passé
Histoires ou contes du temps passé
(1697) Griselidis (1695) The Ridiculous Wishes
The Ridiculous Wishes
(1695) Donkeyskin
Donkeyskin
(1695) Cinderella
Cinderella
(1697) Little Red Riding Hood
Little Red Riding Hood
(1697) Sleeping Beauty
Sleeping Beauty
(1697) Puss in Boots
Puss in Boots
(1697) Bluebeard
Bluebeard
(1697) Diamonds and Toads
Diamonds and Toads
(1697) Riquet with the Tuft
Riquet with the Tuft
(1697) Hop-o'-My-Thumb
Hop-o'-My-Thumb
(1697)

Related

Marie-Jeanne L'Héritier Brothers Grimm

v t e

Bluebeard
Bluebeard
(1697) by Charles Perrault

Film

Barbe-bleue (1901) Bluebeard
Bluebeard
(1944) Secret Beyond the Door... (1948) Bluebeard
Bluebeard
(1951) Landru (1963) Bluebeard
Bluebeard
(1972) Barbe Bleue (2009) Kékszakállú (2016)

Opera

Ariane et Barbe-bleue
Ariane et Barbe-bleue
(Dukas 1907) Bluebeard's Castle
Bluebeard's Castle
(Bartók 1911) Barbe-bleue (Offenbach 1856) Ritter Blaubart (Emil Nikolaus von Reznicek 1920)

Ballet

Bluebeard
Bluebeard
(1896)

Related

Bluebeard
Bluebeard
(Vonnegut novel) Very Blue Beard (1979 film)

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 215269

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