Sunday, March 31, 2013

Magical Ethics

The character of Bluebeard, though he is only called that in one of the tales, is fairly similar across all of them, in personality and actions. However, minute differences provide, in my opinion, a fairly vast gap between interpretations of him. In most of them, particularly the actual Bluebeard tale, the reasoning for his actions is a bit puzzling. The original tale makes him out to almost be "just a murderer", in many ways, stating that he had a heart harder than rock that the woman's pleas could not move, and similarly painting him as just a psychopath that kills his wives. This makes his actions in, firstly, giving the woman the key in the first place, and in giving her uncountable amounts of extra time for her brothers to arrive, seem utterly irrational. In Mr. Fox, and The Robber Bridegroom, the woman sees something she was not supposed to, and when the murderer tries to acquire a ring by cutting off another girl's finger or hand, the object flies into the air and lands with the betrothed. Why the murderer would not seek out the object they were just trying to get off of the dead girl's hand seems inexplicable. Further, both murderers kindly allow their associated women to complete full confessions of their deeds under the guise of a dream, even when it must be obvious that she somehow does indeed know for sure. For this reason, Fitcher's Bird is my favorite tale. The very act of making the psychopathic husband a sorcerer turns him into a magical creature, and easily allows us to accept that he is bound by some code of conduct: he conducts himself in a downright methodical way, repeatedly capturing girls and putting them up to the same trial, until he finds his bride, at which point "he no longer had any power over her and had to do her bidding." The act of making the murderer a sorcerer makes the story both more interesting, and more acceptable as a reader.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

7 Abused Coal Miners

The video "Sonne" by Rammsteinn is a slightly disturbing, very different take on the Snow White tale. In both this and the Snow White tale, the titular girl meets a group of dwarves, miners who welcome her into their home and help her out. However, whereas in the original story, Snow White enlisted the help of the dwarves through helping with menial chores and such, and was in refuge from an outside threat (the queen), in the music video, it appears that Snow White is a drug addict who enslaves the dwarves for the purposes of helping her feed her addiction. Subsequently, the dwarves somehow put her to sleep with an apple, though she is freed later, likely to their dismay. In fact, in the video, no queen or outside force seems present at all, and Snow White looks to in fact be the antagonist. She clearly abuses the dwarves in a myriad of ways throughout the video.

I personally prefer the original story over the video-- the tale that the video weaves is a bit too warped and sordid for my tastes. Though it is somewhat interesting to see a different version of the story in which Snow White is a villain, it is portrayed in a very sadistic way that I personally didn't enjoy. In the original story, the alliance of the dwarves and Snow White helps to deliver a moral about friendship and teamwork. In this video, however, that is sadly lacking, and I feel it detracts from the story.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Master of Both Blogs

Jungian analysis may be a very good way to try and understand fairy tales. In Jung, archetypes are fragments of psychic ideas, which when put together into a story, can help to point to aspects of the Self. In Jung, the unconscious is divided into the collective unconscious and the personal unconscious, where the collective unconscious is genetic and shared by all humans. Both of these include multiple aspects, sharing the concept of the Ego, the Shadow, and the Self. Further, Jung believed that archetypes reside in the collective unconscious. The idea is that these archetypes are unconscious ideas that are pointed to by aspects of fairy tales. Examples of archetypes of the collective unconscious include the wise old man, who appears in many stories as a guiding figure for the hero but always dies or leaves the hero alone before the final act of the story, or the woods, which apparently symbolize an awakening or the start of a journey. Similarly, the villain in many stories represents a darker version or side of the hero, namely, the shadow, or the part of our consciousness of which we are not aware.

One concept which seems to be important is that when a hero goes a journey, in some fashion, they are immersed in a world which is not their own. By the end of the story, they have executed actions which not only make that world familiar and comfortable, but also made their original world better. They have become master of both worlds.

Jung thought that the archetypes of any given fairy tale together point to some greater unconscious concept, a piece of the Self. Fairy tales in Jung are the ultimate way of expressing the collective unconscious physically.