->''"At first she saw nothing, for the windows were closed, but after a few moments she perceived dimly that the floor was entirely covered with clotted blood, and that in this there were reflected the dead bodies of several women that hung along the walls. These were all the wives of Blue Beard, whose throats he had cut, one after the other."''
-->-- "Bluebeard"

An old French Folktale ([[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/bluebeard/index.html online version here]]) written as ''La Barbe Bleue'' ("The Blue Beard") by Creator/CharlesPerrault in 1697, which later found its way into [[Creator/TheBrothersGrimm the Grimms']] first edition of 1812 as ''König Blaubart'' ("King Bluebeard"). (In various versions of the fairy tale the eponymous man is a king, sometimes a knight or other rich person.) The story starts with a rich gentleman, who is a widower, asking for the hand of a fair young maiden in marriage. After the wedding, he gives her a key-ring with the keys to all the doors of his mansion (or palace), with the request that if she loves him she must never, ever, ''ever'' use the golden key to open a certain door in the house.

Then he leaves the house on business, sometimes for days at a time, and the woman gets bored and eaten up with curiosity about [[ForbiddenFruit the door she is not supposed to open]], so finally she goes and opens it. (In some versions Bluebeard merely points out the key as forbidden, and the woman tries the key in all the doors of the house until she finds the right chamber.) When she opens the door, she finds the blood-spattered dead bodies of all the former wives of Bluebeard who he murdered for their money. She flees in horror and tries to act as if nothing happened, but when Bluebeard returns he invariably finds out what she has done, one way or the other (sometimes by finding traces of blood on her shoes or the key she dropped in fright), and threatens to kill her, too, for betraying his trust. Depending on the version of the tale, she is saved by the arrival of her relatives who kill Bluebeard, or, after having been locked up, manages to flee and alert the authorities.

A second Grimm variant, "Fitcher's Bird", indicates that the woman was only wrong insofar as she got caught. The heroine in "Fitcher's Bird" also "betrays his trust" to find the bodies of her sisters, but does so in a manner that he cannot detect, and therefore ultimately comes out on top.

An English version of the story, "Mr. Fox", has the heroine witness the villain murdering a previous bride, and confronting him at the wedding breakfast with the severed hand of the unfortunate lady. Shakespeare, in ''Theatre/MuchAdoAboutNothing'', makes a reference to the recurrent rhyme in this version:
-->''For it is not so, and it was not so,''
-->''And God forbid that it should be so!''

This story has given name to a specific kind of SerialKiller, "TheBluebeard," who kills a succession of wives.

Despite what [[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons Bart Simpson]] may tell you, the titular character is not [[CaptainColorbeard a pirate]].
!!''Bluebeard'' and variations contain the following tropes:
%% Zero Context examples have been commented out. Please write up a full example before uncommenting.
* AnAesop: Perrault leaves comments at the end of the tale about the moral within.
* BeardOfEvil: The title character.
* BigBad: Bluebeard, serial wife murderer extraordinaire.
* BigDamnHeroes: The relatives, if they arrive in the nick of time.
* TheBluebeard: TropeNamer.
* BrokenAesop: Perrault tries to explain that the curiosity is a flaw... but in almost every version the lady ''survives'', finds out her husband is a serial murderer, escapes him and ends up marrying a better guy.
** The text itself also makes it clear that the lady has a {{gut feeling}} that something is ''off'' about Blue Beard, but allows [[TheSociopath his courtly graces]] to convince her she should discard these instincts and marry him anyway. And when he first gives her the key, she has another {{gut feeling}} that something is ''wrong'', and she ''has ''to open the door to find out what it is. Doing so saves her life in the long run. The obvious moral seems to be, "Trust your instincts," yet the stated moral at the end seems to take the opposite view.
* DamselInDistress: The wife, as she stalls for time as her relatives approach.
* DeusExMachina:
** The woman's relatives seem to show up out of nowhere, to kill Bluebeard at the very last minute.
** In the Georges Méliès film version, a good fairy brings the dead brides back to life.
** Subverted in the "Mr. Fox" variation, where it makes sense that her relatives are there to save her. She waits to expose Mr. Fox until she, he, and the rest of her family and suitors are at her pre-wedding breakfast.
* EggSitting: In "Fitcher's Bird", the sorcerer Fitze Fitcher carries young women and gives them an egg, then tells them to carry it everywhere except the sorcerer's room and to be very careful with it for a few days before he can marry them. Failure to pass the test results in [[CruelAndUnusualDeath the women getting dismembered]].
* FamilyUnfriendlyDeath: A lot of versions have some awfully graphic descriptions of the murdered women when the heroine finds them.
* FauxAffablyEvil: The title character seems nice enough at first... then we learn he's a SerialKiller.
* ForbiddenFruit: The forbidden chamber.
* IdiotBall: Good grief, why would the murderer give his wife a ''key to the room that he's desperate to keep a secret?''
** In some versions, the wife discovers the secret room while throwing a party. So why doesn't she leave with her friends when they depart or at the very least ''tell them'' what she saw so they can send for help?
* InterplayOfSexAndViolence: In some versions, instead of the wife's making increasingly feeble pleas for Bluebeard to hold off murdering her a little longer (and his inexplicably granting her a respite each time long enough for the DeusExMachina to occur), the tale has the more clever device of having her ask him to wait while she puts on various parts of her wedding dress. Due to an ancient version of this trope, this tricks Bluebeard into thinking that she's preparing for an imminent marriage to Death, i.e. that she's resigned to dying and just insists on doing it with ''[[FaceDeathWithDignity honor]]''; which he decides to allow because he's rather WickedCultured that way.
* [[OffWithHisHead Off With Her Head!]]: In some versions of the story, the wife doesn't find the ''bodies'' of her predecessors, but only their [[DecapitationPresentation severed heads]], all lined up in the cupboard.
* PeekABooCorpse: Several of them. This ''is'' the story of Blue Beard and the corpses of his many murdered wives in the closet.
* RememberTheNewGuy: The wife's sister, Anne, [[DeusExMachina randomly shows up at the castle during the climax to call for their brothers to comes rescue them]] despite the fact she was never mentioned previously in the story.
* RuleOfThree: In "Fitcher's Bird", the heroine is preceded by her two sisters, both of whom are caught peeking and killed.
* SchmuckBait: "You can open any door in the castle, but not ''that'' one." Right. Now, guess what she does next....
* SerialKiller: Bluebeard has murdered all his previous wives for disobeying him.
* TheSociopath: Implied. Blue Beard is superficially charming in public (known for his generosity and courtly graces), but behind closed doors he rather coldly and casually murders his many wives over the smallest disobediences or missteps, then stuffs their rotting corpses in a single room in the main manor in front of his next wife.
* UglyGuyHotWife: Bluebeard's blue beard puts people off. But his wealth and apparent generosity keeps getting him young, beautiful wives from time to time.
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory:
** Some believe that the fairy tale has its origins in [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conomor Conomor the Cursed,]] known for murdering his wives as soon as they got pregnant.
** Bluebeard may also have been based on 15th century serial killer [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilles_de_Rais Gilles de Rais]] (or de Retz). When you can say that an adaptation in which someone has a roomful of dead wives and a basin full of blood in their [[TortureCellar locked-away torture room]] is LighterAndSofter...
** Of course, there is also UsefulNotes/HenryVIII. ''Anime/GrimmsFairyTaleClassics'' lampshaded this.
* VictimBlaming: Charles Perrault tries to paint the wife as being in the wrong for looking into the room. Though it's possible he was being [[SarcasmMode sarcastic]].
* WealthyEverAfter: The wife is Bluebeard's only heir.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Some versions of the text mention that the wife invites friends over and is having a party when she goes down to the cellar and discovers Bluebeard's secret. During the climax the friends inexplicably disappear from the castle and don't appear in the story again despite the fact they were there when the wife went downstairs.
* YouGottaHaveBlueHair: Or at least a blue beard.

!! Adaptations of the tale or appearances of the character in other works:

* Much like many other fairy tale/fable characters, Bluebeard was a prominent character in the comic book series ''Comicbook/{{Fables}}'' for several story arcs.
** He also appears in ''VideoGame/TheWolfAmongUs'', with it being based on the comics.
* ''ComicBook/SuskeEnWiske'': Tante Sidonia unknowingly gets engaged with him in ''De Briesende Bruid'', yet Lambik and Jerom manage to arrive in the nick of time to defeat him.
* "The White Road" by Creator/NeilGaiman is a version of the "Mr. Fox" variant, with a twist - [[spoiler: Mr. Fox may be innocent, having been framed by a {{kitsune}}.]] (That said, it's [[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation very]] [[EpilepticTree ambiguous]] if you read the story closely.)
* Appears as episode 16 of the anime ''Anime/GrimmsFairyTaleClassics''. Based on the Brothers Grimm's retelling. It also expands the story a little: Bluebeard is redesigned to look like the aforementioned Henry VIII, the girl is named Josephine and her origins are shown (she's a humble peasant girl, implied to have been raised ''and'' very sheltered by [[PromotionToParent her three]][[BigBrotherInstinct big brothers]]), her first days at the manse is shown, etc. It's also infamous for its ''very'' creepy imaginery including the wives's corpses [[DeadGuyOnDisplay mounted as trophies]] in the forbidden room, white roses that turn red when Josephine gets inside, et.
* Creator/KurtVonnegut's 1987 novel ''Bluebeard'' takes the fairy tale as inspiration.
* The story ''The Bloody Chamber'' in British author Creator/AngelaCarter's fairy tale anthology of the same name is based on the story of Bluebeard, with the heroine's rescue coming at the hands of her [[MamaBear formidable mother]].
* The ''Series/{{Grimm}}'' episode ''Lonelyhearts'' builds its main plot around a (very loose) interpretation of the Bluebeard story.
* The Caster class of Servant in ''Literature/FateZero'' is Gilles de Rais (the inspiration for the story), who refers to himself as Bluebeard.
* Music/SoundHorizon's song "Aoki Hakushaku no Shiro" on their ''Marchen'' album is based around this story. In a small twist, the story is told from the perspective of the ghost of his first wife.
* The ballad ''Bridegroom'' by Creator/AlexanderPushkin is similar to the "Mr. Fox" version. A merchant's daughter got lost in the woods and came back 3 days later after experiencing something horrible, which she refuses to tell. Later she is [[ArrangedMarriage forced to marry]] some man she is afraid of. At the wedding she [[AllJustADream retells a nightmare]], where she stumbles upon a strange house, hides and watches a wedding of a bandit leader that ends with the bride's murder and chopping her hand off. Then she asks her groom if he recognizes [[ThatWasNotADream the ring from that hand]]. The groom is promptly arrested, tried and executed.
* Russian folktale "The Cat with the Golden Tail" replaces Bluebeard with a ''bear'', who kidnaps girls and forces them to live in his house as his wife and housekeeper. He murders them for entering a forbidden storehouse with kegs of magic liquids (that can turn anything to gold, to silver, [[HealingSpring resurrect the dead]] or [[GrimyWater heal wounds but kill the patient]]). He also ends up storing the corpses next to kegs.[[note]] The third girl resurrects her sisters, tricks the bear into carrying them all home and arranges the accident that kills him.[[/note]]
* A Russian cartoon exists that toys with the story. Bluebeard's first wife was a dopey party girl who accidentally set herself on fire. The second wife was a snob who starved Bluebeard, and accidentally poisoned herself by eating a toadstool that Bluebeard was going to eat (believing it to be a mushroom). The third (and presumably final) bride was an adulteress and had her secret lover kill Bluebeard when he accidentally walked in on them (Bluebeard seems to have survived, however, as he is telling this to the narrator). Presumably, she made up the fairy tale to save face.
* Hungarian opera ''Blubeard's Castle'' (or ''Duke Blubeard's Castle'') by Music/BelaBartok and its TV and cinema adaptations stray rather far from the original into symbolism bordering MindScrew. Blubeard shows his fourth wife the rooms of his castle, one by one, uncovering depths of his psyche. The doors may just as well be [[TeleportersAndTransporters portals]] to someplace else and from the last room emerge three previous wives -- still alive and well -- who take the new one with them.
* Bluebeard is a darklord in the ''TabletopGame/{{Ravenloft}}'' setting for ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'', and featured in the first anthology. Mr. Fox also appears as a bogeyman in the ''Dark Tales and Disturbing Legends'' supplement.
* A villain named Bluebeard appeared in the 1949 WesternAnimation/PorkyPig short "Bye Bye Bluebeard", where he was wolf-like and did, indeed, have a blue beard. (He was [[VileVillainSaccharineShow far more evil]] than most ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' villains, tying poor Porky up and building a guillotine to use on him. Fortunately for Porky, this version is a VillainousGlutton, and he's saved when a mouse tricks Bluebeard into eating bombs disguised as popovers.)
* A memorial outside the exit to ''Franchise/TheHauntedMansion'' (at least the Orlando version) is dedicated to Bluebeard and his "Loving Wives":
--> Seven winsome wives
--> Some fat some thin
--> Six of them were faithful
--> The seventh did him in
* The musical being staged on the night of the 1903 Iroquois theater fire in Chicago was a very loose adaptation of the folk tale which turned it into a musical comedy. Entitled ''Mr Bluebeard'', it moved the action to a heavily exoticized version of [[ArabianNightsDays Baghdad]], not that this stopped the show including Irish charmers, a number about ''Hamlet'' and a platoon of singing Hussars, or paying a whistle-stop tour of [[InterchangeableAsianCultures India and Japan]]. The characters had [[StockForeignName stock foreign names]] like Fatima, Abulim, Beco, Zoli and, most bafflingly of all, ''Anne''. Even by the standards of the time it wasn't considered a very good show, and the fire is probably the only reason anyone remembers ''Mr Bluebeard'' at all.
* Creator/UrsulaVernon's short story "Bluebeard's Wife" (in which Bluebeard marries a woman who grew up in a nosy family and consequently determines that if he wants his own private space she's not going to intrude) and novel ''The Seventh Bride'' (in which the Bluebeard character is a sorcerer and the price for failing his tests is not so simple as death).