Professor Pristen Wichelson
15 October 2018
Perrault’s Blue Beard vs. Willingham’s Bluebeard
A pioneer in the novelization of Folklore, Perrault has established himself as a spearhead in the advancement of the genre. Centuries later, we have authors like Bill Willingham, taking more creative approaches of representing folklore. Through his work in his adaptations of these fairytales, Fables, written by Willingham, takes a different approach and has given the characters of these different stories a similar, but at the same time different identity from their origins. One example of that is from Perrault’s, Blue Beard; While both Perrault’s and Willingham’s adaptations are similar iterations of each other, they contrast in their character appeal, their belief in the power of commitment, and using their riches to mask their real psychological issues.
Bluebeard in both Perrault's edition and the Fables edition show us a man with differences in appearance. Unlike his version in the original version, the Fables version of Bluebeard shows us a very attractive man, in the text from Fables,"...I recall correctly, she attended last year’s Remembrance Day with...Bluebeard, but she only dated him to make (Jack) jealous." (Willingham 45). We see that Bluebeard clearly has what it takes to make another guy jealous and take a very attractive woman to the biggest event in the Fable Universe, just to make her boyfriend jealous. Perrault’s version of Blue Beard clearly wouldn’t rub characters the same way based on the way he is portrayed in that version, "Someone with a blue beard, which made him so ugly and terrible, that there was not a woman or a girl who didn't run away from him." (Perrault 6) The contrast between the two versions of these characters gives us a good sense that there two are on completely different attractiveness spectrums and the representations of their characters are seen in two different light. It put things in perspective when you have Willingham’s Bluebeard giving fencing lessons to Cinderella, while the other one wouldn't have a girl approach him from a mile away.
In the Fables Universe, the characters are displaced from the motherland and are forced to circumvent in their new environment. They all have to develop into new and more reformed characters; with their circumvention, they’ll always have to be stigmatized by their past, because as the saying old habits never die. Bluebeard in both versions are drafted as men of substantial wealth, we know this in Perrault’s version when he is described as, “A man who had fine town and country houses, gold and silver plate, embroidered furniture and coach’s gilt all over.” (Perrault 5) with that image planted of the valor in which blue beard lives, it’s evident that he is a man of wealth. Its likewise how the Fables version of bluebeard has a surmountable amount of wealth, evident...