Dark Origins – Bluebeard

I am over at Writing to be Read with a post about the dark origins of the fairy story, Blue Beard. Brace yourself! Thanks for hosting, Kaye Lynne Booth.

Writing to be Read

The fairytale of Bluebeard was the most scary one I can recall hearing or reading as a child. This story is featured in Grimm’s Fairy Tale Classics.

It this version of the story, Bluebeard’s bride is a teenage peasant girl named Josephine. She has been raised by her brothers who are woodworkers. In this version, Bluebeard, a wealthy widower with a blue beard, choses Josephine as his wife because she is beautiful, naïve and desires to marry a prince. The character design for Bluebeard strongly resembles that of the English King, Henry VIII, who had six wives, two of whom he beheaded. After the wedding, Bluebeard gives Josephine a key ring with all the keys to all the doors of his castle. He tells her that she must never use the golden key to open one of the doors.

Of course, Josephine’s curiosity gets the better of her and one…

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19 thoughts on “Dark Origins – Bluebeard

      1. No Robbie it was from 1972 – he was “slumming” for this film, an example of what was known as “Euro-sleaze”: made in Eastern Europe where costs were cheap, filled with violence and sexual situations / nudity…nothing too graphic, just pandering to the lowest common denominator…it’s “R” rated and has a small cameo by Raquel Welch playing a Nun who still wears a low-cut blouse! That should give you an idea of what kind of film is is…

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  1. Genesis, Exodus1, the naughty curiosity loyalty test, the slain by a son (Oedipus) omen. The French are to be credited with assembling and archiving a library’s worth of folk and fairy tales, work done largely by women. 1800s sometime? I’d have to look it up. Great stuff, though. To look beyond the last author credited in myth and fairy tale look to Joseph Campbell. We’ve been telling the same moralistic tales for 10,000 years!

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      1. Campbell is the archivist of myth. I mentioned French women, I knew I had it somewhere – here’s the one who coined the phrase Fairy Tale – Madame d’Aulnoy, The more academic the source the more reliable the information. Not unlike the Italian Bettesia Gozzadini, she had to do what she did “under wraps” and cloaked language, so to speak. Have fun!

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  2. Robbie – Bluebeard was the most terrifying of stories. I remember the first time I read it as a child and understanding intuitively that there was truth in the narrative and that it must have happened in real life. What I most appreciate about folktales and fairytales is that there are important lessons that even children understand.

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    1. Hi Rebecca, when I delve into the dark origins of these fairy tales and nursery rhymes I appreciate how much our world has changed for the better. In the past, many wealthy and powerful kings and military leaders were basically serial killers. People like Elizabeth Bathory and Vlad the Impaler got away with so much because of their status and money. The fairy folk are also fascinating. I’ll never forget the first time I read The Elven Mound (Hans Christian Anderson) and realised that elves were not cute folk with pointed ears and soft dancing shoes, but rather quite evil creatures who were aligned with trolls. I had the same shock when I learned that mermaids were actually sirens who lured sailors to their deaths and ate their flesh.

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      1. I find the study of fairytales and folktales fascinating and wonder how they are transforming within our generation and how they will evolve going forward. The was a most excellent post, Robbie!

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        1. We seem to be reverting back to the original versions of a lot of myths and legends, Rebecca. The un-Disneyfied versions. My sons play computer games which include sirens, wicked elves and fairies that replace children with changelings.

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