In the 1697 story ‘Bluebeard’, written by Charles Perrault, a story is painted of a very wealthy man that is considered terribly ugly because of his blue beard. He was so ugly and frightening women would actually run from him. In addition to his horrible looks there were rumors that he had been married many times previous, and nobody knew what had happened to his wives.
He desired one of his neighbor’s two beautiful daughters, but neither wanted him. To win affection he threw a party at his home and had several girls over for a week of all kinds of fun. His efforts were not in vain as the youngest of the girls began to see him differently. They were soon married and shortly after Bluebeard was called away for a trip.
He gave his new bride free reign of the house, handing her keys to everything and granting her permission to go anywhere, except for one closet. She promised and he went away. She then quickly threw a large party while he was gone and became very curious about the forbidden closet. She opened it and found it full of dead women.
Bluebeard, returned home and found out what happened he set out to kill her. She was granted a short bit of time before she was to be slain, in which she contacted her brothers who came and killed Bluebeard seconds before he was going to slay his disobedient wife.
While the morals written by Charles Perrault talk about regret from entertaining curiosity and perusing disobedience, the article written by Ginette Vincendeau reflects much deeper ideas and interpretations. He admits that there is the aspect of addressing the caution against curiosity, but he also goes much deeper, even to suggest, “It is a parable on the dangers of sex for girls” (Vincedeau, 2010).
Another aspect he suggests is that it is a glimpse of the story of Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden. Consider how she had free reign of the garden, and was only instructed not to eat from one tree. This is a great parallel, until we see the girl’s brothers kill Bluebeard. If Bluebeard were personifying the role of God, the comparison does not really work.
He also discusses that others have a view of the story showing a close relationship to that of a victim and their assassin, the sexual power struggle of men against the emerging sexuality of females and even a relationship to death in childbirth.
Regardless of the message the underlying story is terrifying. Women identify with the joy and freedom the new bride experiences with the sharp contrast of fear as she realizes whom she is really married to. We could consider the simple phrase, “ignorance is bliss”, as she was happy until she knew the truth. The truth is the women were killed previous to her developing the relationship. The only thing that had changed was her perspective. And that is what this story is really about, perspective.
Perrault, Charles. “Blue Beard.” Contemania.com - Contes, Fables, Histoires, Comptines - Texte Intégral Gratuit. Web. 12 Nov. 2011.
Vincendeau, Ginette. "Bluebeard." Sight & Sound Aug. 2010: 50-51. Wilson Web. Web. 12 Nov. 2011.