Bluebeard the serial killer is one of the most

Bluebeard Crisis: Serial Killers in Fairy Tales


Violence in the Fairy Tales

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childhood, we have heard many different fairy tales which are full of fantasies
and miracles. Most of the fairy tales we know nowadays have the similar plot,
such as prince and princess have overcome many difficulties and finally reach a
happy ending at the end of the story. The story of saving the damsel in
distress from a bad guy mostly appears in the fairy tales that are widely
spread such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Rapunzel. One of
the reasons of spreading of these fairy tales are brought out by Disney’s
animated movies, the popularity of these movies among the animated movies had
shown that many people were fascinated by these princes and princesses fairy
tales. However, these movies might have misled people about the element of
fairy tales. In fact, fairy tales might contain violence and immoral
perspective which are not suitable for children. Not all fairy tales have a
happy ending or without sacrifice. Due to the acceptance of the target reader,
there are many folk tales or fairy tales which contains violence and negative
scenes are forbidden to publish in children’s storybooks and picture books.
Among these fairy tales, the serial killer is one of the most common issues of
violence. Bluebeard, a fairy tale which is not well known by people, is a story
that contains violence such as murder and abuse. Surprisingly, there are many
fairy tales share a highly similar storyline with Bluebeard. Therefore, in this
research, we will dig into the violence and redefine the use of fairy tales by
researching the serial killers in the “Bluebeard” type stories such as
Bluebeard by Charles Perrault, The White Dove by Gaston Maugard, Fitcher’s Bird
and The Robber Bridegroom by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.

thesis is mainly separated into four chapters. In the first chapter, there will
be a brief summary of the stories of the “Bluebeard” type fairy tales and the
analysis of the identities and characteristics of the serial killers in the
stories. Next chapter, we will talk about the roles of the serial killer in the
stories and the common moral lessons of the fairy tales. In the third chapter,
we will try to find the origin of the Bluebeard stories by researching Gilles
de Rais, who is most believed as an original of Bluebeard. In the end, this thesis
will be ended by our conclusion of this research.


ARE THEY? : Serial Killers in the Fairy Tales


– Bluebeard by Charles Perrault

a nobleman who owns a rich prosperity, who had married for many times, wants to
marry a young girl. He marries the younger daughter of a noble lady who thinks
he was a civil gentleman. Before he went out, he gave his wife a bunch of keys
and warned her not to unlock the forbidden room. She promised Bluebeard.
However, due to the curiosity, she unlocks the forbidden room with the key and
found the dead body of his six late wives inside. Her betrayal makes Bluebeard
angry and wants to kill her. She called her brothers for help. Finally,
Bluebeard died under her brother’s sword and she gained all of his prosperity.


– The White Dove by Gaston Maugard

princess had refused all marriage proposal and sworn not to marry a man who
unless he has a bluebeard. One day, a hunter, a giant who has a bluebeard come
to palace. The princess was agreed to marry him. Before the princess leaves her
home, her mother gives her three doves, the black dove, the white dove and the
red dove. Each dove represented a different message, red represents she was
living happily with her husband; white dove means she was ill; black shows that
she was in the bad situation. One day, the hunter lent his wife a bunch of keys
before he leaves. There were nine keys and every key has their own respected
chamber. However, the hunter forbids her to open the ninth chamber. The curious
princess ignored her husband’s words and opened the last chamber. Inside the
chamber, she saw a bloody basin and eight women dead bodies hanging inside the
room. The hunter found out that she had discovered the dead bodies and decided
to kill her. The princess sent out the black dove to get help. Two knights had
come to the hunter’s house in the nick of time. After having dinner, the hunter
fell asleep and being killed by the knights.


– Fitcher’s Bird by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

A sorcerer
dressed himself as a beggar to cheat and capture young girls. Firstly, he
caught the oldest daughter of a man. He lures her to stay with him by giving
everything she wants. After a few days, he gives her a bunch of keys and an
egg. He told her that she can walk in everywhere except the forbidden room and
take care of the egg. However, the oldest daughter curious about that room and
unlocked with the key. Inside the room, she saw the parts of the girls’ dead
bodies. She was killed when the sorcerer found out she broke the promise. The
second daughter also killed in the same way. Finally, the third sister was
captured by the sorcerer. She also found out the secret behind the forbidden
room, but she rescued her sisters and passed the test given by the sorcerer. The
sorcerer was tricked by the third daughter and finally burned to death by the
daughter’s family members.


– The Robber Bridegroom by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

day, a beautiful daughter of a miller was engaged with a rich suitor. Before
the wedding, the bridegroom invited his bride to his house in the dark forest.
The bride scare of him but she still went to his house. Along the path, she
marked the way with peas and lentils. She heard a voice, warning and telling
her that she is in the murderer’s house. She met an old woman and realized her
future husband is a robber and cannibal. The bride escaped the house with the
old woman’s help. She brings back a finger of a young girl murdered by the
robbers. During the wedding day, she tells the guests what she saw in her
bridegroom’s house and the finger she took back is the evidence. At the end,
the robber bridegroom and his accomplice were executed.


are the serial killers? The serial killers we listed have a variety of
identities such as nobleman, hunter, sorcerer, and robber. From the stories
listed above, we noticed that even the serial killers have different identities
and social status in their stories, they share some common characteristics,
like man and husband. In Bluebeard from Perrault, White Dove from Maugard,
Fitcher’s Bird and The Robber Bridegroom from Grimm Brother’s Children and
Household Tales, the main male character in the story plays the role of a
serial killer. In the story of Bluebeard, Bluebeard, a nobleman who owns a huge
prosperity, murdered his wife when he found out his wife had discovered his
secret of the forbidden room during his leave. After his wife’s died, he will
continue to marry other women and give them the same trial. Bluebeard kept
doing the same thing without noticed by others and similar tragedy falls on his
new-married wives until his crime was discovered by the younger sister of the
noble women, his seventh wife, and killed by her brothers. In Maugard’s White
Dove, the hunter, a giant also had a bluebeard, married the princess. Before he
leaves, he gives his wife a bunch of keys and forbids her not to open the last
chamber, the forbidden ninth chamber. However, similar to Bluebeard story, the
curious wife found out the women corpses in the forbidden chamber and finally,
the hunter was killed by the knights. The story of Fitcher’s Bird is almost
similar with Bluebeard, the young girl was given a test in order to gain the
sorcerer’s trust before they get married. Same as Bluebeard, the oldest
daughter’s curiosity drives her to open the forbidden room and her body was
separated into pieces by the sorcerer. The second daughter also encountered the
same tragedy until the last daughter come to save them. The Robber Bridegroom
has a different plot with the three stories above. However, the main male
character of this story also acts the role of a serial killer. The robber
pretended as a gentleman suitor who wants to marry the beautiful daughter, but
actually, he wants to rob the girl’s property. He is a serial killer and
cannibal who will murder and eat the bride after he gains what he desires.
These “Bluebeard” serial killers were murdering the innocent young girls
unstoppable until their crime discovered and been killed.

the different identities and social status of the serial killers, the reason
for the killing of the serial killers is also different. The nobleman in
Perrault’s Bluebeard wants to marry a girl who does not afraid of his ugly
bluebeard at the beginning of the story. However, from the trial that he gave
to his young wife, we can know that he does not trust his wife. The acting of
murdering his wives and keeping the corpses in a secret room seems the nobleman
has some mental or psychological problem. This situation also happens on the
hunter in The White Dove and the sorcerer in Fitcher’s Bird. The reasons for
the habit of testing and killing their newly-wedding wife are still remaining
mystery. There are some people also believes that the prosperity of Bluebeard
comes from the property of his late wives. The property of the young wife is
one of the reasons some people believe as the motive of serial killers’
crime.  However, even though many
“bluebeard” type stories do not directly show the reason for murdering a young
girl, there are some stories explained the reasons for a man being a serial
killer. The reason for murdering the new married wife in Grimms’ The Robber
Bridegroom is obvious when the stories come to the middle part. The young bride
saw the misfortune encountered by the other young girl in her bridegroom’s
house. Her bridegroom, who actually is a robber, defraud the family who has a
daughter. After the wedding, the robber kills his bride and seize her property.
Besides that, her robber bridegroom and his brothers are cannibals who like to
eat a human.

than the habit of giving trial and murdering to their wives, the serial killers
are good in distinguishing themselves. The nobleman of Perrault’s Bluebeard
hides his freaking habits and shows only his wealth before he marries his wife.
The manners of the bluebeard successfully cheated the young daughter. The
hunter in Maugard’s The White Dove does not distinguish himself too much of his
appearance, but he owns a castle and treasures, which is not suited to his
hunter’s identity and social status. The camouflage of the sorcerer in
Fitcher’s Bird is a beggar. The sorcerer takes advantages of the daughters’
sympathy and kindness by dressing a beggar who needs food and help. In The
Robber Bridegroom, the robber distinguished himself as a rich suitor in order
to gain the young bride and her family trust. Even the murderers do not
distinguish themselves in the same way, their fake appearance and manners are
more useful than we think. Their camouflage is their most important way for the
serial killers to draw their victims, the young girls’ attention.

the four stories we mentioned at first, the serial killer is a fixed
characteristic of most ‘bluebeard’ type stories. Besides these four stories, there
are still many ‘bluebeard’ type fairy tales or folk stories such as The Cobbler
and His Three Daughters, How The Devil Married Three Sister, and The Hare’s
Bride. These stories might only share some common element of ‘bluebeard’
stories, but we can easily found out the features like a serial killer, marring
a young girl, or the dead bodies of women inside the forbidden room in the
story plot. However, there are also other serial killers appeared in other
fairy tales and folk tales which are not included as “Bluebeard” type stories
such as the wolf in The Little Red Riding Hood, the witch in the Hansel and
Gretel, the king Shahryar in the Arabian Nights, also called as One Thousand
and One Nights.?



ARE THEY IN THE FAIRY TALES? : Roles of Serial Killers in the Stories


In the
past, folk stories and fairy tales had played the role as an impressed and interesting
way to teach children moral lessons. In the “Bluebeard” type stories, serial
killer is an important features to present those immoral and violence in the
story. Through these four similar stories, the serial killer characters have
brought out some negative elements such as murderer husband, curiosity of a
woman, domestic abuse, and bewitchment of appearance.


every stories we had researched have an obvious element, the murderer husband. The
murderer husband is the one of the most impressed part of the “Bluebeard” type
stories. Before the secret behind the door was discovered, we thinks that the
young girl has married a good man and she will has a “happy ever forever”
ending because her husband is rich and treat her good. It is surprise when the
young wife saw the dead body of other women inside the forbidden room. Next, curiosity
of a woman is one of the special features in “Bluebeard” type stories. The
young wife in the stories was warned not to open the forbidden room even they
have the key before their husband leave, but the curiosity of the woman draws
them to break the promise they had made. Domestic abuse are one of the common
violence in the fairy tales and folk tales. The domestic abuse in other stories
such as Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella and Snow White does not have any death of
people. However, the domestic abuse in “Bluebeard” type stories are more
serious. There are more than two people were killed in the stories, even their
dead bodies are not settled properly. The last negative elements are the bewitchment
of appearance. Every serial killer are good in distinguish themselves and the
young girl and her family have a deep trust on their fake identity.


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