Learning Lessons Through Acts of Violence: Bluebeard & Beauty and the Beast

Violence is a common theme not only in texts, but also in many real life scenarios. Since reading the Tatar’s book, I’ve concluded that violence in the stories we’ve read thus far is used as a channel through which morals and lessons can be administered to all who analyze the tales.

In the Bluebeard byproduct Mr. Fox, Jacobs writes about how fellow characters “drew their swords and cut Mr. Fox into a thousand pieces.”(Tatar 156). In present time, the grotesque details of Bluebeard can be seen as not appropriate for children of young age, yet the protruding violence theme in the plot gives leeway into a much bigger depiction of morals and life lessons. For the characters in Bluebeard, violence serves as both an aid and hindrance to the characters. For Bluebeard, he uses violence as a test to see who is worthy to be his wife; however, for those unfortunate enough to have fallen unreliable in his test, their fate will be apparent in the “forbidden chamber”. Ultimately, violence can also serve as assistance for the characters in Bluebeard, seeming that violence in some of the versions leads to the much deserving (and gruesome) passing of Bluebeard.

Similarly, Beauty and the Beast depicts how threatened violent acts can eventually lead to reward through obedience and patience.  Although Beast primarily is seen as a frightening creature that at length will lead to the demise of either Beauty’s father or herself, he does show himself to be truly kind-hearted and only after the affection and happiness of Beauty. Because of her willingness to submit to the request of the Beast, Beauty is eventually rewarded with a blissful marriage that is built on her fundamental character of virtue.

When reading these fairy tales, it is evident that violence is used as a greater means of expression that is past the gruesome and explicit features. The theme of violence in Bluebeard and Beauty and the Beast give greater meaning to the morals of the story by allowing an outlet for the plot to unfold and lessons to be learned by all who read the tales.

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One response to “Learning Lessons Through Acts of Violence: Bluebeard & Beauty and the Beast

  1. Sophi

    I completely agree with your thesis. I feel like the focus is put too much on the fact that there is violence present in the stories when the focus should be placed on what the violence represents.
    I really like what you said about how the violence isn’t necessarily indicative of the character or his motives. Initially, Bluebeard says nothing about death or murder. The reader actually has no idea that he is a killer until they get to the part where he is viciously murdering one of his wives. The Beast, on the other hand, is expected to be violent because of his appearance, yet he simply uses violence as a threat and never actually hurts Beauty or her father.
    I suppose the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” applies to both Bluebeard and Beast. Just because Beast is an animal, that does not make him a killer, and just because Bluebeard (though he IS creepy) is a human, that does not rule out his potential to kill.

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