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Transcript of Bluebeard
Key: power, wealth, mystery (gives wife feeling of access and power in new home, but conveys lack of trust)
Blue: magical, invulnerability, animal within human
Beard: coldest color, unnatural (cold w/ murderous nature)
Closet: as adj means secret/ undisclosed
In all versions of Bluebeard, there is a reoccurring theme of women's curiosity that differs in each version whether it is condemned or promoted.
Holly, Kate, Jared, Meghan, Haile, and Erin
Relationships with women
The Robber Bridgegroom:
Atwood's telling of Bluebeard is a contemporary version of the story. It deals with a middle age married couple. Sally is a housewife that also works at a trust company while Ed works as a "heart man". Although Sally feels she is not given enough attention from her husband. She feels as though she does not know a lot about her husband. We become aware that Ed will remain a mystery to us for there is no mention of his point of view during the story.The premiss of the story is that Sally wants to better understand her husband, Ed. Throughout the story Sally keeps asking her "dumb-blonde" husband if all of the girls are falling over him everywhere he walked. Sally's thoughts about what other women thought of her husband were confirmed when her best friend Marylynn spoke about Ed, comparing him to a shiny button. She finds his stupidity attractive but is also frustrated by it. She is also annoyed with the mechanical way that they have sex. She started to take a course in order to interest Ed but the deeper meaning was so that she could distract herself. Sally was asked to revise the story of Bluebeard while in this class, and determines that Ed is like Bluebeard's egg. Later on in the story the couple hosts a party and it is mentioned that Sally prepared the meal and thought about Ed being the egg the entire time. She thought to herself that perhaps Ed is not stupid and rather he is very clever. The last paragraphs reveal Sally's discovery that she was right in her thinking that he was having an affair for she watched him have his hand all over Marylynn's body. She thinks of how Ed has deceived her all along and that perhaps the stupidity was an act. After she found this out about Marylynn and Ed she laid in bed thinking that same night. She imagines her heart, black and white, transform into a pink egg. Sally begins to see it pulsating and wonders if the egg is alive. The story ends with her questioning whether one day the egg will hatch and something will come out of it. The main focus in this story is women's curiosity. She wanted so badly to learn about her husband and when she did she discovered upsetting information.
Written by Joyce Carol Oates
The female character is cunning rather than naive
She knows about how his former brides had died in his house
She tricks Bluebeard by obeying his orders because he thinks she will give into temptation
She earns Bluebeard's trust something no other bride had done
She becomes pregnant, and by having his child is able to survive
A sorcerer took the form of a beggar and carried off young women. He took an oldest sister and forbade her to enter one room; he also gave her an egg and told her to carry it everywhere. She went into the forbidden room, found hacked-up bodies and dropped the egg into it. The sorcerer returned and demanded the egg. Since she had gone in against his will, he killed her there.
Then he took the youngest. She put aside the egg before she searched the house. When she found her sisters' bodies, she put all the parts back together, and the sisters came to life again. The sorcerer returned and was ready to marry her, because the egg was unstained. The youngest hid her sisters in a golden basket.
For the wedding, she covered herself with honey and feathers, so she looked like a strange bird. Going home, she is addressed as "Fitcher's Bird" by guests and the sorcerer. The guests and sorcerer went into the house. But the three sisters' brothers and relatives barred the doors and burned down the house, so they all died.
Joseph Jacob's Version
Lady Mary is loved by many, but the best suitor is a man, Mr. Fox.
No one knows who he is or where he lives.
She decides to find his Castle and as she gets closer there are more warnings.
When she is in the house she opens a room to find bodies of women
She runs out and on the day of the wedding she explains what happened as if it was a dream.
Mr. Fox denies it, but Lady Mary shows a woman's hand.
And then all the guests cut Mr. Fox into a thousand pieces.
There is a Rich man who despite all his riches is disliked by his blue beard.
Despite this he has married several times but all the wives mysteriously disappeared.
He wants to marry one of the neighbors daughters so he throws a large party until one of them decides to marry him.
They are living together for about a month and then Bluebeard leaves for business.
He gives her keys that open rooms to riches and all the rooms in the house.
He then gives a her a small key that opens a small room, but forbids her to go into that room
She throws a party for her friends and family, but is preoccupied by the curiosity of the room
After the party she enters the room and finds the bodies of Bluebeard's past wives.
She drops the key in the blood and it stains so when Bluebeard returns he knows she entered the room
He intends to kill her, but she asks for time to pray in order to stall until her brothers arrive.
At the last second when Bluebeard is about to kill her, her brothers rush in and kill Bluebeard.
There are two people who may be the possible influence for Perrault's story "Bluebeard".
Some people believe that elements from both stories may have been taken and combined to form the basis of Perrault's story instead of one being the main influence.
Gilles de Rais
Power and money kept him from being caught
Young women refused to marry him
Several of his victims went undiscovered for some time
Comonor the Accused
Nobody wants to wed him except for his money and power
Killed several of his wives and left their bodies in his castle
Decapitates Trephine much like he was planning to do to his wife in Perrault's version
A miller wished to marry his daughter off and found a rich suitor. One day the suitor complained that the daughter never visited him so he left leave a trail of ashes so she could find his home.
The ashes led led her to a dark house. An old woman in a cellar kitchen told her that the people there would kill unless the she hid her. A band of robbers arrived with a young woman, and they killed her and prepared to eat her. When one chopped off a finger to get at the golden ring on it, the finger and ring flew through the air and landed in the lap of the hiding woman and the old woman discouraged them from searching.
The old woman drugged the robbers' wine. As soon as they fell asleep, the two living women fled. The wedding day arrived and they all told stories. She said she would tell a dream she had and told the story of going to the murder's den, in between each sentence saying,"This was only a dream, my love!" When she told the part of the finger falling into her lap she produced the finger. The robber bridegroom and all his band were put to death.
1. Do you believe that Bluebeard is based off of Gilles de Rais or Comonor the Accused based on the versions you've read? Why?
2. How has the theme of women's curiosity changed throughout the various versions of the tale?
3. How has Bluebeard influenced TV/Film today? (Example: in horror films)
4. How is the idea of a happy ending changed within the fairytale "Bluebeard" and all of its versions?