Bluebeard is a character from a French folk
tale. He is extremely rich and has been
married several times, but no-one knows
what happened to these other wives.
His newest wife is given a set of keys to the
castle, with instructions that she can go
anywhere apart from one specific room.
Obviously, this is too tempting to resist, and she discovers the remains of
all of Bluebeard’s former wives. She drops the key in fright, and it is
stained with blood from the floor, which won’t wash off. Bluebeard sees
the blood on the key and knows she has been in his secret room. He is
about to kill her when she is rescued by her brothers who kill Bluebeard.
She then inherits all of his money and property.
Make notes on how Carter presents the narrator
of the story in pages 1-6, focusing on:
• Her attitudes
• Her behaviour
• Her appearance
• Her decision to marry the Marquis
Make notes on the setting of the story, focusing
on pages 6-19.
The central relationship (1)
How would you reflect on the relationship
between the narrator and the Marquis in pages
• Sexual desire
The Bloody Chamber itself
“There is a striking resemblance between the act of love and the ministrations of a torturer.”
Explore Carter’s presentation of the chamber in
The central relationship (2)
How does the narrator’s relationship with JeanYves compare to her relationship with the
Marquis? (Pages 30-38)
“You never saw such a wild thing as my mother…”
In the original French story, the
heroine was rescued by her brothers.
Why do you think Carter makes the
heroine’s mother the rescuer? What
are the effects of this? (pages 40-41)
The character of the
Marquis is arguably the
most sinister and
dangerous in the collection.
What makes him such a
villain? Compare him to
some of the other
characters we have studied.