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Blue Bird


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A: Maurice Maeterlinck Pf: 1908, Moscow; 1911, Paris Pb: 1909 Tr: 1909 G: Fairy tale in 6 acts; French prose S: A woodcutter's cottage and various dream scenes, indeterminate period C: 38m, 48f, 30 childrenTyltyl and his sister Mytyl, woodcutter's children, are tucked into bed and begin to dream. An old fairy (Berylune) enters, seeking the Blue Bird to cure her sick daughter. She gives the children a magic diamond that will open their eyes to the fairy world. They see the souls of their dog and cat, of Milk, Fire, Water, Light, Bread, and Sugar, who accompany the children on their quest for the Blue Bird. From the Fairy's Palace the children enter the Land of Memory. Here they encounter the dead, including their grandparents, who have a blackbird that is blue. Taking it with them, its feathers disappointingly change to black. In the dark Night they capture ‘blue birds of dreams’, but these expire in the daylight. Escaping from an attack in the Forest, the children enter the Palace of Happiness (this episode was added later). Here they resist temptation and experience Joys, especially Maternal Love. Spending the night fearfully in a graveyard, the children are relieved at dawn to discover that it is a garden. In the Kingdom of the Future they encounter unborn children, including their own baby brother. The Blue Bird they find turns pink, and the children sadly take their leave of their companions. Waking the next day, the children are visited by their old neighbour, who resembles the Fairy. She asks Tyltyl for his pet dove. He discovers it is blue; the object of their quest has been in their home all the time. The neighbour's daughter is cured, but the Blue Bird flies away.

A: Maurice Maeterlinck Pf: 1908, Moscow; 1911, Paris Pb: 1909 Tr: 1909 G: Fairy tale in 6 acts; French prose S: A woodcutter's cottage and various dream scenes, indeterminate period C: 38m, 48f, 30 children

The wit and charm of The Blue Bird made it Maeterlinck's most popular piece, not least because of its allegorical message about the key to happiness being in preparedness to give (Tyltyl handing over his dove). Stanislavsky directed the premiere with great seriousness and lavish sets, and it has been made into films, a ballet, and a musical.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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Authors

Maurice Maeterlinck (1862—1949) Belgian poet, dramatist, and essayist


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