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In the tale, Bluebeard is a wealthy man of rank who, soon after his marriage, goes away, leaving his wife the keys to all the doors in his castle but forbidding her to open one of them. She disobeys and finds in the locked room the bodies of his former wives. On his return, Bluebeard discovers on one of the keys a telltale spot of blood and threatens to cut off her head as a punishment for disobedience.
The wife is saved by her brothers just as Bluebeard is about to strike the final blow. In an Estonian version, the wife is rescued by a gooseherd or ahood friend who slays her husband and marries her. The identification in some stories of Bluebeard with the Devil and of the locked door as the gate of hell are probably later additions.
Additional Info. Home Literature Fictional Characters Bluebeard literary character.
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