Beauty and the Beast and Bluebeard: Opposites

In Tatar’s The Classic Fairy Tales, Tatar makes the point that Beauty and the Beast and Bluebeard are opposites, and this is true for a number of reasons. The marriages in the two tales have two very different ideals of marriage and the relationships between the husband and wife flow in opposite directions.

In Beauty and the Beast, the relationship between Beauty and Beast starts off as an unhappy relationship where Beauty is simply there as a sacrifice to save her father, but then they fall in love and have their “happily ever after.” However, in Bluebeard, the relationship between Bluebeard and his wife starts off well, but in ends his attempt to murder his wife for betraying his trust and going against his wishes. Although in Beauty and the Beast, Beast never tries or intends to kill Beauty, they still do not start off on the happy front that Bluebeard and his wife do. So essentially, even the relationships of the character in the two fairy tales take opposing turns.

Beauty and the Beast brings out more of the happiness and romance that can occur in marriage since their marriage begins with friendship and love, however, Bluebeard brings out the anxieties in marriage. In most recollections of Bluebeard, he did not know his wife very well and assumed her to be like the others. The room serves as a test for how loyal his wife is. This is seen clearly in the Brothers Grimm Fitcher’s Bird where the sorcerer says, “You have passed the test, and you shall be my bride.” (page 150)  Finding out her disloyalty gives Bluebeard a reason to kill her. Bluebeard focuses on the distrust, anxieties, and trials that occur in marriage. Bluebeard goes into his marriage expecting his wife to fail the test that he has laid out for her. This makes even the marriages themselves opposite. Beauty and Beast already have a deep love and trust for each other, thus tests of trust are completely unnecessary. They have a deep respect for each other and their love for each other is present before their marriage. In De Beaumont’s version of this fairy tale their love is clear when they make it clear they do not want to cause each other pain. This is seen on the interaction between Beast and Beauty on page 39. So by the time that they finally get married, they know and trust each other so they just focus on being blissfully happy and in love. Since Bluebeard’s marriages have lacked these qualities, he has found his test necessary to see whether or not he has a loyal wife.

 

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One response to “Beauty and the Beast and Bluebeard: Opposites

  1. I agree with your point regarding the room in Bluebeard was a test to see how loyal his wife is. I also wrote my blog post about lyalty regarding the characteristics of a “perfect marraige” : Loyalty (Bluebeard) or Virtue (Beauty and the Beast). Bluebeard’s wife failed to prove her loyalty to her husband by going against his will of not wanting her to go into the room. By disobeying his command, there are consequences she had to face, but luckily got out of.
    On the other hand. in “Beauty and the Beast”, the relationship does play the opposite role. Their love and trust for each other is already there. The only test Beauty had to go through was deciding whether she would sacrifice her life in spare for her father’s, which she did, and ended up changing her life forever (in a good way). Beauty’s loyalty to both her father and Beast (obeying his command to return after going home to visit her father) is a characteristic which Bluebeard’s wife did not have or portray in Bluebeard. The two fairy tales are complete opposties.

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