Sunday, November 9, 2014

Three Beards, One Color

           The two stories by the Brothers Grimm, “The Robber Bridegroom” and the “Fitcher’s Bird”, and the story, “Bluebeard” by Charles Perrault, are three tales that are related in plot and characters, but each vary in their own way. 

In each of the stories the male character is older than his bride, his appearance is similar in two of the stories, but their way of choosing a bride is all different. “The Robber Bridegroom”, varies in that it is the only tale of the three that the male did not have a blue beard. He is given the hand of miller’s beautiful daughter because to he seems that he will be able to provide for her. His true
identity is revealed to be an abusive, drunk, and brutal man who murders a girl and, “chopped her beautiful body into pieces,” with his friends while his bride was hiding behind a barrel in the corner. In this Grimm tale the bridegroom and the bride had not been married, as is the same with “The Fitcher’s Bird”. While the man in, “The Robber Bridegroom” is a cannibalistic thug, the blue bearded man in the “Fitcher’s Bird” is a wizard. The wizard disguises himself as a beggar and kidnaps the sisters when they touch him. He takes them back to his home to test them to see if they are the right women to be his bride. The physical appearance the wizard in “Fitcher’s Bird” and “Bluebeard” are similar that both men have a blue beard. In the Perrault tale, “Bluebeard” is a rich aristocratic man that finds his bride by hosting an eight-night event to persuade his neighbor to let him marry one of her daughters. In all three of the tales, it is the youngest, beautiful daughter that is the main female character. In “Bluebeard” and “Fitcher’s Bird,” the blue bearded men test their brides by allowing them to have full access to the house but forbidding them to go into one room.

           The only use of magic in these tales, comes when the brides are tested by their husbands. In “The Fitcher’s Bird,” the wizard give the prospective wives an egg they must keep with them at all times. When they enter the room they were forbidden to the egg turns red, and is unable to be cleaned. In, “Bluebeard,” the key that unlocks the door to the forbidden room is also the magical indicator.  The keys to the locked rooms serve to represent temptation, and when the egg and the key become covered in blood is represents their disobedience.

        In each of the tales, the disobedience leads to the bride finding out that their husband, or soon to be husband, has a dark past with his past wives murdered. In each of the three tales, the female protagonist is able to survive and the husbands are dead. In “The Robber Bridegroom” the bride tells a dream of the night she was in the room and shows the finger of the murdered girl as her proof. The bridegroom is then arrested and “he and his whole bands were executed for their shameful crimes.” In the, “Fitcher’s Bird” the bride is able to save her sisters, escape the home by covering herself with honey and feathers, and then her brothers, “set fire to the house, and the sorcerer and all his cronies were burned to death.” In “Bluebeard”, the bride’s brother also came to her rescue when, “they plunged their swords through his body and left him dead.”  


            My favorite of these three tales was “Fitcher’s Bird”. I liked how the bride was able to out smart the wizard multiple times: by keeping the egg in a safe place instead of with her, by making him carry her sisters back to the village, decorating a skull to put in the window, and also disguising herself as a bird to escape. I found the whole tale to be rather amusing and an interesting version of the bluebeard tale.

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