Emily: The Corpse Bride

For this third Femme Fatale Friday of October I have chosen to feature the titular character of Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride!   Emily is a character with a tragic back story, and all she really wants out of her life, or rather afterlife, is to have true love.     This is what leads her to becoming the dead wife of the film’s protagonist, Victor.

As we see the world of the dead open up before Victor, we get to know that it is far more alive than his drab Victorian world!   Emily is shown to be a lovelorn and very emotionally resilient woman.   She is just looking for love, and at the end of the day she also got revenge on the man who killed her!    To me that is the best moment of the film, seeing her go all badass Corpse Bride bringing that bastard down once and for all.

Her story began as a young woman who wanted to marry a man of whom her family would never approve.   She made the impulsive decision to run away with the man she had fallen in love with.   It was this act that turned out to be her undoing, as it was while she waited for her future husband to meet her in the woods, in her wedding dress, that she was attacked from behind and killed!

Only later do we learn that the man that killed her was her fiancé, as he had asked her to bring family valuables when they met up.   She believed that this was to ensure they had money to build a life together.   In reality he was a murderous con man out to make an easy buck off of a young beauty wealthy and naive girl!

Emily matures in her years in the afterlife, and becomes a much more well rounded and powerful woman.    She is sure of herself and of what she wants out of life.    When Victor said his vows in the woods, and accidentally put the ring on her bony finger (he thought it was a twig, not phalanges of a human woman decomposing in an unmarked grave), she was overjoyed to finally be married!   She tried hard to be the best bride to Victor she could, getting him his old dog, as a bone dog pet, and looking for a way to make their union a permanent one.    However, Victor truly loved his bride to be Victoria, and she was currently being sold off to the same con man that murdered Emily!

It is at this point that Victor nearly killed himself to marry Emily, but she intervened, and instead with the help of the rest of the dead, took her revenge on the man who had murdered her.   In this act she also saved Victoria, and kept the couple together.   In the end she turned into an array of butterflies.   As butterflies are associated with the dead making contact with the living, it is a fitting motif for the film.   I personally read Emily’s ending as being a soul finding peace after years of unrest.   She no longer would be in limbo, and instead went to a more peaceful place!

I hope you have enjoyed my post about the Corpse Bride.   I want to thank my lovely readers for joining me for Femme Fatale Friday, and I hope you will join me next week also!   Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Note on Image: The image at the top of the page is Emily.   I found the image on https://hellogiggles.com/beauty/makeup/how-to-do-corpse-bride-inspired-halloween-makeup/.

Further Watching

  • Corpse Bride (2005)