Barkis Bittern is the main antagonist of the film Corpse Bride.
He is a slender man with a large chin, white slick hair, and wears a black cutaway with white collar pushed upside and a bow tie, also gray pants and black shoes.
As a zombie, his skin is bright blue and his eyes become gaunt.
He is initially seen as being classy, confident and professional, a stark contrast to how Victor, the main protagonist, is seen as. Due to being polar opposites.
He is a greedy, arrogant and manipulative aristocrat who has bent on getting married to women in order to kill them, so he would be able to gain their fortune and wealth. He is known to lie when he talks about Emily when he kills her for her money.
He was Emily’s killer who murdered her for her money 9 years ago. He started out as a poor man with nothing but the clothes on his back, and somehow met Emily, an aristocrat. Barkis was able to charm Emily, enough for her to fall deeply in love with him, but was unable to marry her without her father’s blessing, despite her pleas. He then proposed the idea of eloping with Emily, which she accepted. Unknown to the girl, Barkis never had any feelings for her and had only said this so he could steal her family’s fortune. That night, Emily snuck out with her family’s fortune and a wedding dress to meet up with Barkis in the woods, about a quarter past 3. She waited for him, but when he finally appeared, he murdered her in an unknown way and stole her riches. Although it is unknown exactly how she was killed, it can be assumed that Barkis stabbed her but she was still alive yet mortally wounded, so he left her to die in the woods, where her body was eventually buried and decayed.
Bittern is seen in the musical number “According to Plan,” where he practically invited himself to the wedding rehearsal and impressed the Everglots by dousing the fire Victor had accidentally started. He is later seen charming the Everglots, and convinces them that he is a worthy suitor of Victoria. Throughout the film, Barkis is shown to have an affection towards Victoria, and makes many allusions to the thought of him marrying her, instead of Victor. His plan is eventually revealed as marrying Victoria Everglot, in order to obtain wealth and riches from his dowry. This plan mirrors the one he used years before as he deceives Emily, the corpse bride, into falling in love with him and giving him the riches he desires. However, while he succeeded in his murder with Emily and obtained her riches, Barkis fails with Victoria as he did not know that her family was only marrying her off because they were broke and intended to live off of the groom’s riches, hence her engagement to Victor Van Dort, the son of a wealthy yet low status fish merchant. After Barkis’s wedding with Victoria, he boasts about himself being “magnificent,” showing his true personality. After the dead arise, he is seen hiding in fear from them, revealing himself as the coward he truly is. He later attempts to run away with Victoria and grab as many of her ’riches‘ as they can, only to be told by Victoria that her family was poor and only wanted her to marry so her husband could save them from the poorhouse, much to Barkis’s anger.
He then arrives at the church, where Emily recognizes him and reveals him as the man who had murdered her. After attempting to escape with Victoria and an ensuing battle with Victor, Bittern mistakenly drinks from a chalice filled with poison that was originally intended for Victor. This leads to his death, allowing the onlooking undead to have their way with him.
He is last seen in fear, being taken away by the dead; the interpretation of his fate is up to the audience. Either he can be taken where he’s never seen again, or the dead dispose of his body as punishment for murdering Emily and attempting to do the same to Victor and Victoria.
- Main article: Barkis Bittern/Gallery
- It is unknown if he ever repeated the same process he did with Emily to other women.
- It is also unknown why he wanted to marry Victoria for her riches since he had already gained Emily’s fortune, although it can be assumed that he was in the same predicament as the Everglots.
- Alan Rickman and Kevin Spacey were considered for the role before Richard E. Grant was cast.