Just how people don’t judge a book by its cover, don’t do the same to fairy tales. Fairy tales are more than what they appear to be. They are far more than children’s bedtime readings.
Although, they aren’t extensive, they pack a considerable amount of information and leave space for interpretation. They reveal the truth of how the world can be unfair and people can be cruel. Most fairy tales have been rewritten, some more than others. The later versions have been sugar-coated and made to be appropriate children’s stories.
In the tale, “Bluebeard”, by Charles Perrault, which is not sugar-coated, has an unexpected theme in comparison to most fairy tales. This wealthy man has a blue beard, which all women are repulsed by. He wants to get married, so he sways the girl by hosting a party that last an entire week. They get married and soon after, the husband must go for a business trip, tells the wife to enjoy herself by inviting her friends over and before he leaves, he gives her one rule to follow.
Her actions lead to the repercussions that follow her. Before describing the tale, certain characteristics come to mind when thinking of fairy tales, such as magic, animals, protagonist, villain, royalty, etc. One critical aspect that fairy tales contain is a moral. In the fairy tale, “Bluebeard”, there may seem to be more than one theme or lesson to be learned, but one critical moral is how curiosity can lead to the downfall of disobedience. Curiosity is a powerful tool and can push one beyond their limits.
In the tale, “Bluebeard”, the husband told his wife not to enter the little room while he went on a business trip. Eventually, she opens it, enabling her curiosity to get the best of her, as it states, “But the temptation was so great that she unable to resist it. She took the little key and, trembling, opened the door.” (Perrault 190).
The wife could not stop herself from doing what she knew she shouldn’t. In the end of the tale, Perrault states the moral of the story and warns woman of the danger curiosity can lead to. Even though Perrault targeted women for the moral, perhaps because the story is about a woman who let her curiosity get the best of her, but it is important to note that men likewise succumb to their curiosities. It’s fascinating how the mind wants to do the action that is forbidden. When someone tells you not to do something, it makes you want to do it.
An individual becomes intrigued when they are forbidden to do something. This has been happening since the first woman on earth. It was forbidden to eat from the forbidden tree, however she still ate the apple. In “Bluebeard”, the husband states, “Go anywhere you wish. But I absolutely forbid you to enter that little room, and if you so much as open it a crack, there will be no limit to my anger” (Perrault 189). The husband explicitly informs her that he would be beyond upset with her, but she still opened it.
A yearning for what is taboo started to consume her and she gave in. In both cases, Eve and the wife, they knew what they were doing was wrong, yet they did it anyway. They knew they would have to pay for their actions of disobeying, because immediately afterwards Eve was ashamed, and the wife was terrified. Disobeying, breaking a rule, doing what you should not do, etc. all have consequences, some harsher than others.
Consequences are often undermined and not thought of being so severe. Individuals commit a certain action and don’t think the repercussions will be so intense. That’s when people are naïve, because they believe the repercussions won’t be so costly, yet is there any valid reason why there shouldn’t be? The individual was cautioned not to do a certain action and did it anyway. Eve ate the forbidden apple, although she was told not to, because of her action, the ultimate price was paid. It’s important to note that after Eve ate the apple, Adam did too.
The price paid for such action landed them to become humans and no longer in the presence of god. In “Bluebeard”, she doesn’t suffer as harsh of a punishment as Eve did. Due to her actions of disobeying her husband, she put herself in a life and death situation. Her husband was seconds away from killing her when the wife’s brothers came to save her. She does end up having a good ending, but before that, she was a damsel in distress that needed to be saved because of her disobedience. If she didn’t disobey him due to her curiosity, then she wouldn’t have been in that circumstance to begin with.
The root to the downfall of disobedience in these cases are their curiosities. With all that being stated, “Bluebeard” is a complex story with more than one lesson to take away. It appears that desiring those forbidden items or actions has become part of the human nature. The Washington Post contains an article, which states, “Sigmund Freud most famously underscored how those things declared off-limits were always magnets for desire. People never bother to prohibit things they don’t want, he insisted, and the deepest taboos are expressions of our most intense longings.” (Roth). Those things that are forbidden are the most appealing and curiosity is intensified.
An individual wants to know what the mystery is, why would an apple or a door be off limits, for what reason would someone not want another individual to eat from a certain tree or go to a specific room, and so forth. An individual should never underestimate the power of curiosity.