The Erl King

1374 Words6 Pages
Angela Carter – ‘The Bloody Chamber’ – ‘The Erl-King’. Sources ‘The Erl-King’ is an adaptation of a European tale which draws heavily on folkloric traditions of the Green Man. The Erl-King is the personification of nature, as traditions embark this in the Green Man, ‘when he combs his hair that is the colour of dead leaves’, emphasising as though he is a tree. Therefore this can be linked to Emily Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ as it too is associated with nature, in the sense of the wild and desolate moors, representing the wilderness and the isolation of nature. The folkloric traditions of the Green Man perceive him as peaceful as he does no harm, embodying him as the protector of nature, a Celtic symbol of creative fertility of nature.…show more content…
Due to no light being able to pass through, the woods are described as a ‘labyrinth’ and a ‘system of Chinese boxes’, thus creating the sense of entrapment and claustrophobia, in which you are unable to escape from. Angela Carter repeats this sense of entrapment in ‘The Tigers Bride’, as the tiger’s castle is full of ‘vaulted chambers’ creating the similar ‘system of Chinese boxes’. The ‘Erl-King will do you grievous harm’ is repeated throughout, for its purpose is to warn the female protagonist, in which it has the opposite effect on her by soothing her rather than disturbing her. This then enchants the protagonist to shadow the Erl-King more. The disillusion and the entrapment which is emphasised throughout highlights the fact that ‘The Erl-King’ is a rapist, as the protagonist explains as she is ‘in his dress of water’. ‘The Erl-King’ portrays characteristics of a siren, as he intentionally traps women and turns them into birds, entitling them as they sing for him. Carter thoroughly reincarnates the devil in the duality of ‘The Erl-King’ as the language used to describe him contradicts his peaceful perception through the nonviolent attitude to the woods as opposed to women. In considering other stories, the language used in ‘The Erl-King’ is that of other folk tales such as ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. ‘A young girl would go into the wood as trustingly as Red Riding Hood’. This portrays the young girl and all the girls before the
Open Document