'Bluebeard' by Edna St. Vincent Millay

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This door you might not open, and you did;So enter now, and see for what slight thingYou are betrayed... Here is no treasure hid,No cauldron, no clear crystal mirroringThe sought-for truth, no heads of women slainFor greed like yours, no writhings of distress,But only what you see... Look yet again-An empty room, cobwebbed and comfortless.Yet this alone out of my life I keptUnto myself, lest any know me quite;And you did so profane me when you creptUnto the threshold of this room to-nightThat I must never more behold your face.This now is yours. I seek another place.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Bluebeard: A Masterpiece of Poetry and Feminism

Have you ever read a poem that left you breathless, with every word resonating within the depths of your being? If not, then you need to read "Bluebeard" by Edna St. Vincent Millay. This masterpiece of poetry delves deep into the human psyche, exploring themes of power, control, and the complexities of relationships. Moreover, it serves as a powerful feminist critique of patriarchal norms that have long dominated society.

A Brief Overview of the Poem

"Bluebeard" is a dramatic monologue, spoken by the wife of a wealthy aristocrat named Bluebeard. She is recounting the events that transpired when she discovered the dark secrets of her husband, who had been married several times before. The wife discovers a room in her husband's castle that is filled with the bloody remains of his previous wives. She is horrified, but also fascinated by the power that her husband wields over his victims.

The poem is divided into four sections, each of which explores a different aspect of the wife's experience. The first section introduces the wife and establishes the setting. The second section describes the discovery of the room and the wife's initial reaction. The third section delves deeper into the wife's conflicted feelings about her husband and her fascination with his power. The final section concludes the poem with the wife's decision to leave her husband and her reflection on the experience.

Analysis of the Poem

Millay's "Bluebeard" is a powerful work of feminist literature that challenges traditional gender roles and exposes the dangers of male privilege. The poem can be interpreted as a critique of the patriarchal norms that have long been a part of our society, where men hold power and control over women. In this sense, the poem is a passionate call for women's liberation.

The wife in the poem is a victim of patriarchy, trapped in a marriage with a man who abuses his power and control over her. Her discovery of the room filled with the remains of Bluebeard's previous wives is a metaphor for the violence and oppression that women face at the hands of men. The room represents the hidden atrocities committed against women, which are often ignored or dismissed by society.

Despite her horror at the discovery, the wife is also fascinated by her husband's power. This is a reflection of the complex relationship that women often have with men in positions of authority. Women are socialized to desire male attention and approval, even when it comes at a great cost. The wife's fascination with Bluebeard's power is a manifestation of this desire.

The poem also explores the theme of control, both in terms of the husband's control over his wives and the wife's attempt to take control of her own life. The wife's decision to leave her husband at the end of the poem represents a break from the patriarchal norms that have been imposed on her. She is finally taking control of her own life and making her own decisions.

Literary Devices and Techniques

Millay's use of literary devices and techniques in "Bluebeard" is masterful. The poem is written in free verse, which allows for a more natural flow of language and a greater sense of emotional depth. The use of enjambment, or the continuation of a sentence or phrase from one line to the next, creates a sense of urgency and momentum that drives the poem forward.

The poem is also rich in imagery, with vivid descriptions of the castle, the room, and the bloody remains of Bluebeard's previous wives. These images are powerful metaphors for the violence and oppression that women face in a patriarchal society. The use of repetition, such as the repetition of the phrase "I know" in the third section of the poem, creates a sense of emphasis and intensity that highlights the wife's conflicted feelings.

Finally, the use of dialogue in the poem, such as the wife's conversation with her husband in the second section, adds another layer of emotional depth and complexity. The dialogue reveals the power dynamics between the husband and wife and underscores the wife's sense of powerlessness in the relationship.


In conclusion, "Bluebeard" is a masterpiece of poetry and feminism. It is a powerful critique of patriarchal norms and a call for women's liberation. Millay's use of literary devices and techniques creates a rich and complex portrait of the wife's experience and exposes the hidden violence and oppression that women face. This poem is a must-read for anyone interested in poetry, feminism, or social justice.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry Bluebeard: A Masterpiece of Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay, an American poet, playwright, and feminist, is known for her unique style of writing and her contribution to modernist poetry. Her poem "Bluebeard" is a masterpiece that explores the themes of love, betrayal, and death. This poem is a retelling of the classic fairy tale of Bluebeard, a wealthy man who marries several women and kills them all. In this article, we will analyze and explain the poem in detail.

The poem "Bluebeard" is a narrative poem that tells the story of a woman who falls in love with a man named Bluebeard. The woman is initially hesitant to marry him because of his reputation for killing his wives. However, she eventually gives in to his charm and marries him. The poem then takes a dark turn as Bluebeard shows his true colors and kills the woman. The poem ends with a haunting image of the woman's body lying on the floor.

The poem is divided into three stanzas, each with a different tone and mood. The first stanza sets the scene and introduces the characters. The second stanza is the climax of the poem, where Bluebeard kills the woman. The third stanza is the aftermath, where the woman's body is discovered.

The first stanza is full of imagery and sets the mood for the rest of the poem. The opening lines, "This door you might not open, and you did; / So enter now, and see for what slight thing / You are betrayed," immediately create a sense of foreboding. The woman is warned not to open the door, but she does so anyway. This sets the stage for the tragedy that is about to unfold.

The second stanza is the most powerful and intense part of the poem. The tone shifts from foreboding to horror as Bluebeard reveals his true nature. The lines, "His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay, / But he loved her like a princess, and he would have his way," show the contrast between Bluebeard's appearance and his actions. He may look like a monster, but he is capable of love. However, his love is possessive and deadly.

The third stanza is the aftermath of the tragedy. The woman's body is discovered, and the lines, "And there lay flowers in the room; / They were white flowers with faint purple shadows, / And their perfume almost touched him in the gloom," create a haunting image. The flowers represent the woman's innocence and purity, which have been destroyed by Bluebeard's actions.

The poem is full of symbolism and imagery that adds depth and meaning to the story. The color blue is used throughout the poem to represent sadness and death. Bluebeard's name itself is a reference to the color blue. The flowers in the third stanza are white with faint purple shadows, which could represent the woman's innocence and the bruises on her body.

The poem also explores the theme of gender roles and power dynamics in relationships. Bluebeard is a wealthy man who uses his power and influence to control and manipulate the women he marries. The woman in the poem is initially hesitant to marry him because of his reputation, but she eventually gives in to his charm. This could be seen as a commentary on how women are often pressured to conform to societal expectations and marry wealthy men, even if they are dangerous.

In conclusion, "Bluebeard" is a powerful and haunting poem that explores the themes of love, betrayal, and death. Edna St. Vincent Millay's use of imagery and symbolism adds depth and meaning to the story. The poem is a commentary on gender roles and power dynamics in relationships, and it is still relevant today. "Bluebeard" is a masterpiece that showcases Millay's unique style of writing and her contribution to modernist poetry.

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