Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Bluebeard: The Fitcher's Bridegroom

The tales of "The Robber Bridegroom" and "Fitcher's Bird" by the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault's "Bluebeard" all fall along the same lines. Each story follows a female protagonist who marries or is soon to marry a man who they each discover to be evil and murderous.

In Perrault's "Bluebeard," the youngest daughter agrees to marry Bluebeard after he throws a grandiose party. After their marriage he leaves on a business trips (very typical), but grants her a ring of keys, one of which opens a room she is forbidden to enter. Despite his warning, her curiosity gets the better of her and she discovers the chopped up bodies of Bluebeard's past wives inside the room. Upon this shocking discovery, she drops the golden key that allowed her in and it is permanently stained by their blood. Bluebeard finds out and decides he must kill her, but she begs to have time to pray first. She stalls long enough for her brothers to arrive and kill Bluebeard.

The Grimms' "Fitcher's Bird" follows a very similar plot line. However, the girl is given an egg rather than a key. The tale also follows the death of the 2 sisters preceding the protagonist and even has her bring them back to life. In order to save herself and her sisters, she covers herself in honey and feathers so no one can recognize her. She is then able to trick her bridegroom into returning to their home (after making him unknowingly carry her sisters back to her parents) and burn him alive along with their wedding guests. The protagonist in this story is much more active and cunning than those the other two tales.


The story of "The Robber Bridegroom" doesn't fit the same plot structure as the first two tales. Instead, the protagonist ventures into the woods in search of her prince bridegroom, but is warned of his villainous ways by an old woman. She then hides in the cellar behind a barrel and must listen as the prince returns and kills her grandmother. He cuts off her finger and it lands right in the princesses lap. She is able to escape back home and tells her father of what happened. Instead of simply having her father's men go out and kill the prince immediately the princess decides to play him the fool. He comes to her, inquiring as to why she had not arrived, and she explains her "dream" to him (a retelling of the previous nights occurrences). She then pulls out the finger he had cut off her grandmother and shows him that she knows what he has done. It is only then that her father's guards have the           http://one-elevenbooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/robber-bridegroom2.jpg                   prince and the other robbers executed.

My favorite of the 3 tales was "Fitcher's Bird," because I admired how cunning the protagonist was, especially because of the typical passive portrayal of females characters in fairytales. I did not like that Perrault added morals to the end of his story. I think it takes away from the imagination and intuition of the reader. Additionally, the first moral was extremely sexist and offensive. I enjoyed "The Robber Bridegroom," but found it unnecessarily gory. Though many fairy tales fall into the same category.

The biggest difference between these tales and other Grimms' tales is the portrayal of marriage. Instead of the typical happy end, it is the horrible beginning to the protagonists marriage to a nightmare. These 3 stories may have different plots lines, but they all share a common motif.

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