Ariadne (French: Ariane; and simply known as Bluebeard's Wife) is the main protagonist of the French fairy tale by Charles Perrault "Bluebeard". She is the seventh and last wife of Bluebeard, the titular villain.
Ariadne is one of the daughters of one of Bluebeard's neighbors and Anne's younger sister. When a rich nobleman named Bluebeard comes to their house, she and Anne are terrified of him because of his blue, ugly beard. After hosting a wonderful banquet, Ariadne is chosen by Bluebeard to be his wife, against her will - and she goes to live with him in his rich and luxurious palace in the countryside, away from her family.
A month after their wedding, Ariadne is given the keys of the château by her husband Bluebeard, who tells her that he must leave. She is able to open any door in the house with them, each of which contain some of his riches, except for an underground chamber that he strictly forbids her to enter lest she suffer his wrath. He then goes away and leaves the house and the keys in her hands. She invites her sister, Anne, and her friends and cousins over for a party. However, Ariadne is eventually overcome with the desire to see what the forbidden room holds, and she sneaks away from the party and ventures into the room.
When Ariadne opens the door, she discovers, much to her horror, that the room is filled with blood and full of the bodies of Bluebeard's former wives. Out of shock and fear, she drops the keys in the blood and flees the room. Fearing for her life, she tries to wash away the blood, but the keys are magical and the blood wouldn't wash off.
When Bluebeard returns, he finds out that Ariadne has entered the forbidden room when he sees the blood in his keys. Enraged, Bluebeard threatens to kill her, saying that she will join his other deceased wives. Ariadne begs him to spare her life, but Bluebeard's heart was as hard as a stone. Eventually, she begs him him to have time to say her final prayers with her sister Anne, to which Bluebeard allows her to.
Ariadne then goes up to the top of the tower and asks Anne four times if the latter has seen their brothers. In the fourth time, Anne sees the brothers coming, and when Bluebeard is about to kill her, the brothers come in and save her. When Bluebeard realizes who they are, he tries to escape, but the brothers catch him and kill him, ending his horror reign over his wives forever.
Because there are no other relative that will inherit Bluebeard's fortune, Ariadne inherits his fortune and castle, and has Bluebeard's dead wives buried. She uses the fortune to have her other siblings married, and eventually remarries herself to a kind-hearted gentleman who helps her to move on from her horrible experience with Bluebeard.
- In the original version, her name is not mentioned. Ariadne is her name in the opera "Ariadne and Bluebeard" ("Ariane et Barbe-bleue").
- In the Hungarian opera Bluebeard's Castle, her name is Judith.
- In the 1938 film Bluebeard's Eighth Wife, her name is Nicole de Loiselle.