Reflect about the three versions of the story of “Bluebeard”. How are these tales similar or different? What is unique about them? Which one did (didn’t) you like the most? Why/ Why not?
“Fitcher’s Bird”, “The Robber Bridegroom”, and “Bluebeard” all give readers insight on something rarely discussed in fairy tales, what occurs after marriage. Each tale warns the readers that happily ever after does not always result because of marriage. These tales confirm a child’s “worst fears about sex” because it delineates what happens when a young girl marries an older man.
All three tales describe how a wife is “married to a nightmare”, but each one differs in the way that they fix that nightmare. In “Fitcher’s Bird”, the wife is successful because she hides the egg until her husband returns and is able to put her sisters back together. She then has the sorcerer carry her two sisters covered in gold back to her parents, and when the sorcerer returns, him and his friends are set on fire. “The Robber Bridegroom” describes how the soon-to-be wife hides behind a barrel and uncovers her fiancé’s hidden hobbies. She is able to save herself by retelling her experience in her kingdom, where the fiancé and his band of robbers are killed. In “Bluebeard”, the wife asks her sister to get their brothers to save the day. The wife is able to stall just long enough for her brothers to cut down Bluebeard with their swords.
“Fitcher’s Bird” is unique because she is able to put the bodies back together again. It is also unique because the death to her husband and his friends are being set on fire. “The Robber Bridegroom” is unique because she actually witnesses the horrors her fiancé commits, whereas in Fitcher’s Bird and Bluebeard the wife only sees the aftermath. “Bluebeard” is unique because the tale can be read culturally as women needing the assistance of men. The other two tales portray the woman as saving herself, by using intellect and cunningness. The wife in “Bluebeard” can only delay the inevitable, and pray that her brothers arrive in time.
I liked “Bluebeard” the most because of the different interpretations the tale had. The wife can be characterized as a symbol of female empowerment from a feminist perspective, or as helpless and naïve who still needs a man’s help from a cultural of structuralist perspective. I enjoy how there is a bit of suspense to the tale, because the reader does not know if the brothers will arrive in time to save the day. I did not enjoy “Fitcher’s Bird” because it was a little too magical and illogical. First of all, how can an egg drop on the ground and not break, and how does the blood never wash off. Surely the wife could have gotten a new egg to distract her husband. Additionally, covering herself in honey and feathers seems very illogical, and there could have been a better way to disguise herself. I know, however, that some of these things could be symbols for abstract concepts, but I cannot grasp them.