Representations And Symbols In Bluebeard By Walter Crane

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Throughout time “Bluebeard” a popular tale has been illustrated by different illustrators. Each with their own style and ideas. This paper focuses on three illustrations of Walter Crane. Crane’s illustrations are of the moment Bluebeard’s wife leaves her company to go down the stairs to check out the forbidden room, Bluebeard’s wife pleading for forgiveness, and Bluebeard’s wife opening the forbidden door. Through various illustrations Crane creates meaning through symbols that supplement the written text.
Crane illustrates the scene where Bluebeard’s wife leaves her company to go down the stairs. Crane’s illustration is an allusion to original sin. Crane reinforces the idea of temptation by having the background be the story of Adam
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Religion continually influences Walter’s illustrations. Bluebeard’s wife is on her knees with her hands clasped together. Her head is tilted slightly up. This image could be interpreted as Bluebeard’s wife praying. When people pray they get down on their knees with their hands clasped together. Another religious aspect is Bluebeard’s wife begging for forgiveness. People beg God for forgiveness when they know they have committed a sin. Crane does very well in implementing red into the illustration. Bluebeard is dressed in red. Red symbolizes anger and rage. This is perfect for this scene since this is how Bluebeard feels after learning about his wife’s betrayal. There is irony in this illustration. The irony is that Anne is within earshot of Bluebeard’s wife. This supplement the idea readers have while reading the story which is why doesn’t Bluebeard’s wife call out for help. Her guests are still in the house and she could have called her sister to help her escape from Bluebeard instead of being a lookout for their brothers to arrive. The color gold is seen all over this picture. This enhances the fact that Bluebeard is rich like the story says. The room Bluebeard and his wife are in is beautiful. This reinforces the idea that things aren’t what they seem. The lavish room juxtaposed to the bloody room shows how well Bluebeard hid his true …show more content…
Doors symbolize secrets and the unknown. The room is black because it is the unknown. It is also black because of the dark secrets that lie beyond the door. The dark secret is the dead bodies of the past wives. Once Bluebeard’s wife enters the room there is no going back. Crane can reinforce the idea of curiosity in the story. He does this by making the door slightly opened and Bluebeard’s wife peeking in. The stairs play an important role in the story and illustration. When Bluebeard’s wife was running down the stairs she almost fell two or three times. The almost accidents were warnings not to go any further and were supposed to hinder her. The temptation is what caused Bluebeard’s wife to keep heading towards the forbidden room. Temptation relates to curiosity and disobedience shown in the story through Bluebeard’s wife opening the door even though Bluebeard told her not to. Crane strengthens the idea that Bluebeard has successfully hidden his true self up to the point where his wife opens the forbidden door. This is displayed by the sudden change in background. The picture of the moment before Bluebeard’s wife gets to the door is all lavished. However, the background of Bluebeard’s wife opening the forbidden door isn’t lavish. It is pretty empty. The fact it is empty now reinforces the story saying that this is the moment Bluebeard can’t keep his true self hidden any

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