"Female Curiosity" Essay

1518 words - 7 pages

Another undeniable theme that occurs throughout the two works is the idea of forbidden places or ideas (Barzilai 249-72). This theme is much more blatant in Charles Perrault’s “Bluebeard”, with the closet that he wife is forbidden from entering. The idea goes a little deeper than that. Yes, his wife is not allowed to go into that one specific room, but why? She knows that all of Bluebeard’s many previous wives have disappeared unexpectedly and for unknown causes. This is a part of Bluebeard’s past that he does no wish to share with anyone, including his current wife. I am under the impression that neither Bluebeard nor his wife trust each other. If Bluebeard trusted his wife, he would not have tried to test her trust by giving her the key to the locked room. If his wife trusted him, she would not be suspicious enough of his past that it leads her to go against his wishes and opens the locked room. The repercussions for her actions are quite severe. Bluebeard tells her that he must kill her, and is about to do so when her brothers burst in and save her. In relation to Jane Campion’s film The Piano, forbidden places and ideas are more of a subdued theme. Ada knows that Alistair does not want her piano in her house, but she tries to get it there anyway by striking the deal with Baines.The forbidden place in this movie is ultimately Baines’ house. Even though Alistair allows Ada to go there, he is unaware of the actions that are transpiring. Ada knows that she should not be visiting Baines, should not be lying to her husband about giving him lessons when she is not. She should not be allowing Baines to look at her and touch her in such provocative ways, being a married woman. Should not be allowing herself to fall in love with Baines over the course of her visits there. Ada knows what she is doing is wrong, and it goes from desperately wanting her piano back, to desperately wanting to be with Baines. Her actions are forbidden under the divine law, and should be punished, according to her husband. Alistair eventually finds out what is going on between the two, but does not tell her. Instead, he tries to get Ada to become intimate with him instead of Baines, but Ada refuses. This drives Alistair into a frenzy, he grabs Ada, drags her out into the mud and the rain and chops off a part of one of her fingers. The symbolism of this is that she can no longer, easily, play the piano. Since her relationship with Baines was centered around the piano, he is symbolically severing Ada and Baines’ relationship.
Ada’s muteness is also a very large symbol within Campion’s film. No one, including Ada, knows what the cause is of her muteness. Her daughter, in the film, states that she has not spoken since the death of her husband as the result of a lightening strike. Her muteness disables her in ways, such as in her marriage. She is unable to communicate with Alistair, which frustrates them both greatly and puts a strain on their marriage. Her lack of a voice is a...

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