Sunday, March 31, 2013

Curiosity Killed the Cat

Bluebeard has always been the odd child in the fairy tale family. It has never had a Disney movie, possibly because of the gruesome image that seven beheaded women might make to the young children who watch Disney movies. As for each individual tale, I personally like the Bluebeard story as told by Charles Perrault. I used to have many different fairytale books when I was younger, one of which was vividly illustrated. I can't recall any of the other stories in the book, but I do remember the pictures from the tale of Bluebeard, and Perrault's version was the one that closely resembled the one from my book. The other stories that were included in the Bluebeard section were rather different than Perrault's tale. One of the main motifs in this version is the importance of family. In the Brother's Grimm tale, Fitcher's Bird, the 3 daughters learn from the mistakes of the two older ones and therefore makes it possible for her to piece together her cut-up sisters and eventually get back at the sorcerer.  In the other Brothers Grimm story, The Robbers Bridegroom, almost the same situation happens where the family members help the heroine eliminate the robber gang. In the tale of Mr. Fox, the same situation as in The Robbers Bridegroom occurs and the family does away with the villain before he can kill again. In the Bluebeard story, the sister of Bluebeard's bride actually lives with the couple, a difference between these two stories. The heroine in the story is also very dependent on the sister and two brothers in get rescued from Bluebeard. In all the other tales, the brides all bring forth the evidence themselves or trick their husbands into getting caught. In Perrault's story, her safety is completely dependent on the arrival of her brother's planned visit, hoping that they will get to the castle before she is beheaded. Another noticeable difference is the way that all the previous women/wives were killed. In all the other tales except for Bluebeard, the women were either "cruelly murdered and chopped to pieces" (Fitcher's Bird), "put her on a table, chopped her beautiful body into pieces, and sprinkled them with salt" (The Robbers Bridegroom), or have their hand cut off and brought to a room filled with the skeletons of other ladies (Mr. Fox). This is the only tale where they are beheaded. I can only guess that beheading these women showed that they meant enough to their husband (probably their beauty) that he would want to look at them from time to time, but they had still done something wrong in his eyes which justified their killings.

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