Both faerie tales, <i>Beauty and the Beast</i> and <i>Bluebeard</i>, commence in much the same way- a beautiful young woman is forced into a marriage with a less than charming husband. However, as much as the two plots seem identical at first, they ultimately have very different views on marriage and the intentions of the groom. This author has to agree with the statements made by Tartar that the tale of <i>Bluebeard</i> is “a troubling flipside to <i>Beauty and the Beast”</i> (139).
The role of family is completely opposite in both of these tales. In <i>Beauty and the Beast</i> the family abandons Beauty to live with the Beast in most of the versions of the story. In the De Beaumont version, Beauty is abandoned by her father and forced to live with the Beast so she may save her father’s life. Furthermore, her jealous sisters betray her when they try to make her stay in the house longer in order to break her promise to the beast. In Angela Carter’s <i>The Tiger’s Bride</i>, Beauty is also forsaken by her father when he loses his daughter to the Beast in a game of cards. This is very different than the way family comes to play in the story of Bluebeard where in practically every retelling of the story family of the bride’s come to rescue her from the Beast. Although many of the marriages in <i>Bluebeard</i> are arranged by family, the wives are not left stranded with their husbands such as in <i>Beauty and the Beast</i>.
Lastly, the conclusions that both stories draw about marriage are completely different. In Beauty and the Beast, Beauty learns to look past her husband’s ugly looks and learns to respect him for his virtues as Beauty states in the de Beaumont version- “It is neither good looks nor great wit that makes a woman happy with her husband but character, virtue and kindness….(40)” This conclusion infers that while many women are initially unattracted to their husbands, every man has their virtues and a successful marriage can be built upon these virtues. Bluebeard makes the exact opposite conclusion about marriage implying that men are not virtuous and many have ulterior motives. In conclusion, Beauty and the Beast assuages the fear of young women to marry and leave the home since in the story the families are often much less supporting and virtuous than the spouses. Blackbeard on the other hand, confirms these fears since in many tales family must come to the rescue of the bride at the mercy of the murderous husband.