Blood Wedding By Federico GarcÍa Lorca Translated by Lillian Groag
Reflection by Claudia Paguay
The Hunter College Theatre Department presented an outspoken satirical comedy unlike the school has ever seen before. The impeccable acting, and the real & controversial issues in Cows of War made it an unforgettable show. For this Spring, the Theatre Department has chosen to perform Blood Wedding, a tragedy by Spanish dramatist Federico García Lorca. In order to satisfy the curiousity that surrounds this play I took it upon myself to read and analyze Blood Wedding. For those who are intrigued and are anticipating this performance, the following analysis is for you. It is easy to assume the story behind Blood Wedding, considering its illustrative title. However, the playwright’s intelligent use of symbolism and metaphors make the storyline far more significant than what it may seem to be. The play takes place in a rural Spanish town during the 1930’s. Most of the characters’ names are not actually names, and instead are differentiated by their titles: Bride, Bridegroom, Mother, Father, Wife, Maid, etc. As the plot progresses it becomes clear that this choice was made to reflect upon how binding one’s role in society is. The events in the Act 1 revolve around the preparations for a wedding between the Bride and the Bridegroom. The Bridegroom is a nice young man who lives alone with his mother. The Mother has been very protective of the Bridegroom ever since her husband and other son were killed by members of the Felix family. As a result, she resents anyone or anything that has to do with the Felixes. The Bride is a strong and independent young woman who lives in a remote part of town with her father. Although the Bridegroom is excited and very much in love with his fiancée, it appears that the Bride is not. The Bride is feeling uncertain about her marriage and she becomes further distressed when she is visited on the morning of her wedding by Leonardo Felix, her former lover. Despite having married the Bride’s cousin and having started a family of his own, Leonardo tells the Bride of his love and desire for her. The Bride sends him away, but not before she too reveals her unforgotten feelings for him. Things intensify in Act 2 when the Bride follows through with her marriage. It is nighttime and everyone has returned to the Bride’s home to celebrate, including a disgruntled Leonardo. While everyone is celebrating, the Bride complains of headache and tells the Bridegroom that she needs to rest in her room. A little later, the Bride’s Father discovers the his daughter is missing. Then, Leonardo’s panicked wife runs into the house yelling that she saw Leonardo and the Bride running away together on horseback. The angered Bridegroom vows to kill Leonardo and he quickly gathers a group of men to help him search for the runaways. In ACt 3 only pure tragedy follows. One of the most prevalent themes that comes up in Blood Wedding is that of gender roles. The parents in the play all believe in the idea that a woman’s role in society is to be a mother and housewife. The sexism throughout the play is a reflection of the Spanish machismo that was common during that time. In Act 1 Scene 3, the bride’s father and the bridegroom’s mother meet for the first time. While discussing their children’s virtues, the Father describes his daughter as a strong lady who kneads dough, never speaks, is soft as a wool, and skillfully embroiders (20). He illustrates his daughter as the ideal wife, useful and obedient. The Mother is also revealed to be in agreement with this sexist view of women. In Act2 Scene 2, the Mother and the Father are talking about the many grandchildren they hope to see in the near future. The Mother tells of her hopes for granddaughters because as she states, “Boys belong to the wind. They must needs handles weapons. Girls stay at home,” (40). What is even more disturbing is when later on in the scene the Mother gives her son advice on how to handle his wife. She tells him that if he notices his wife is not acting nice and calm he should caress her roughly but not enough to make her angry, only to let her know that he is “the male, the master, the one who gives orders,” (44). In Act 3, the playwright uses woodcutters, a beggar woman, and the moon to bring an end to the situation at hand. The Bridegroom is searching for the Bride and Leonardo who are hiding in the forest. The Woodcutters function just like a Greek Chorus, they comment on the events that have taken place and update the audience with information they may not have known. The Beggar Woman and the Moon are also well aware of the events that had taken place that night, but what is even more intriguing is that they already know how the night will end. The Beggar Woman ends up leading the Bridegroom to where the Bride and Leonardo are, and the Moon shines its light upon them as well. By doing this they ensure that the night will end in bloodshed. This control that the Beggar Woman and the Moon have over the play shows that they represent death and destiny respectively. Their actions are meant to prove that a person cannot escape death if they are destined to die.