Bluebeard and its Adaptations

The story of Perrault’s Bluebeard is an interesting one in that it invites dialogue on the concept of a women’s curiosity and how it may lead to disobedience in her marriage. This idea is quite the popular one, as it there are variations of this story in the Grimm Brothers’ The Robber Bridegroom and Fitcher’s Bird. In Bluebeard and Fitcher’s Bird, the menacing husbands give their wives tests to see if their wives will remain loyal while they are away. In both stories, the wife is not permitted to go into a certain room; Bluebeard, in the self-titled fairy tale, gives his wife a key that remains stained when she drops it in a pool of blood in the murder room she enters against her husband’s wishes. This happens in Fitcher’s Bird as well, only in this story, the maiden is given an egg instead of a key and the wizard tests three women instead of just one. Nonetheless, the theme of disobedience and the underlying implications of adultery are present in both stories. The Robber’s Bridegroom takes a different spin on this story in that the princess ends up watching her fiancé murder and chop up an innocent woman with his accomplices. In the first two stories, the women merely see the aftermath of their husbands’ maliciousness while in this story, the bride witnesses it first hand. The Robber Bridegroom is, therefore, evidently more sinister than the other two stories.

Perhaps the most significant similarity between these three fairy tales is that the woman is always saved by a man. In Bluebeard, the wife of Bluebeard is in the process of being murdered by her husband when her brothers save the day, killing Bluebeard and saving her life. In Fitcher’s Bird, while the third wife to be escapes from the wizard’s house with her sisters, the male helpBluebeard3ers she meets during her escape are the ones that burn the wizard’s house down with him and his friends in it. In The Robber Bridegroom, the bride’s father kills her fiancé after she has tells him the story of what she saw in his home. Though the female lead may have orchestrated parts or all of her male counterpart’s death, she never deals the death stroke, thus reinforcing the patriarchal undertones that are present in many fairy tales written in the time of Perrault and the Brothers Grimm.

Each of these stories is unique in their own ways. The tale of Bluebeard is unique in that Bluebeard literally has a blue beard, a characteristic that, in hindsight, foreshadows his wife’s discovery of his menacing secret later on in the story. Fitcher’s Bird is unlike the other two tales, and other fairy tales in general, because of the symbolism of the egg and the fitcher’s bird. In this story, the egg being drenched in blood symbolizes the destruction of innocence while the third daughter dressing up as a fitcher’s bird implies a rebirth, of sorts, away from the wizard. The Robber’s Bridegroom is unique in that the bridegroom witnesses firsthand the horrible crimes her fiancé commits against humanity.
Bluebeard2Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed er’s Bridegroom because of how the princess tells her father about what she saw in her fiancé’s home. She speaks about a dream she had and keeps insisting that this story was just a dream. I cannot help but imagine the look of horror on the bridegroom’s face as his fiancé goes deeper and deeper into the story, slowly coming to the realization that his days of murder and thievery are about to come to an end. This seems a fitting end to such a malicious man’s life.The Robb


The robber bridegroom

Fitcher’s Bird


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