Analysis of 'the House of Bernarda Alba'

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Analysis of extract from ‘The House of Bernarda Alba’| Act Three, pages 95 to 99|
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English: World Literature: 2c

Word Count: 1414

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BERNARDA: What does Pepe have to say?
ANGUSTIAS: I find him distracted. He always talks to me as if his mind is on something else. If I ask him what’s wrong, he says: ‘We men have our own problems.’ BERNARDA: You shouldn’t ask him. And when you marry, less still. Speak if he speaks, and look at him when he looks at you. Do that and you won’t have disagreements. ANGUSTIAS: Mother, I think he’s hiding things from me.

BERNARDA: Don’t try and find out what they are. Don’t ask him, and, above all, never let him see you cry. ANGUSTIAS: I ought to be happy but I’m not.
BERNARDA: It’s all the same.
ANGUSTIAS: I often look at Pepe hard and he becomes blurred through the bars, as if he were hidden in a cloud of dust stirred up by flocks of sheep. BERNARDA: It’s because you aren’t strong.
ANGUSTIAS: I hope it’s just that.
BERNARDA: Is he coming tonight?
ANGUSTIAS: No. He’s gone to the city with his mother.
BERNARDA: Then we’ll have an early night. Magdalena!
ANGUSTIAS: She’s fallen asleep.
(Adela, Martirio and Amelia enter.)
AMELIA: It’s pitch black outside!
ADELA: You can’t see your hand in front of your face.
MARTIRIO: A good night for thieves, for someone who needs to hide. ADELA: The stallion was in the middle of the yard. Pure white! And twice its size, filling the darkness. AMELIA: It’s true. It was frightening. He was like a ghost! ADELA: There are stars in the sky as big as fists.

MARTIRIO: She was staring at them so much she almost cricked her neck. ADELA: Don’t you enjoy looking at them?
MARTIRIO: I couldn’t care less what happens above the rooftops. I’ve enough on my plate with what goes on inside these rooms. ADELA: You are that kind of person.
BERNARDA: She has her ways and you have yours.
ANGUSTIAS: Good night.
ADELA: Going to bed already?
ANGUSTIAS: Yes, Pepe’s not coming tonight. (She goes out.) ADELA: Mother, when there is a shooting star or a flash of lightning, why do we say: ‘Blessed Santa Barbara, you are written in the sky with paper and Holy water’? BERNARDA: The ancients knew many things that we have forgotten. AMELIA: I close my eyes so as not to see them.

ADELA: Not me. I like to see things flash with fire when they’ve been asleep for years on end. MARTIRIO: Such things have nothing to do with us.
BERNARDA: It’s better not to think of them.
ADELA: Such a beautiful night! I’d love to stay up late to enjoy the breeze from the fields. BERNARDA: But it’s time for bed. Magdalena!
AMELIA: She’s dozed off.
BERNARDA: Magdalena!
MAGDALENA: (Annoyed) Leave me in peace!
BERNARDA: Go to bed!
MAGDALENA: (getting up, in a bad mood) You never let a person be! (She goes out grumbling) AMELIA: Good night. (She leaves.)
BERNARDA: You go too.
MARTIRIO: Why isn’t Angustias’ fiancé coming tonight?
BERNARDA: He’s gone on a visit.
MARTIRIO: (Looking at Adela) Ah!
ADELA: See you in the morning. (She goes out)

In The House of Bernarda Alba, by Federico García Lorca, a tyrannical mother rules over her household, the ultimate dictator of a strict fascist regime, oppressing any sexual desires and leading her five daughters to live a life of frustration. The symbolism Lorca employs in the play is rich in meaning and variety and in my analysis of the extract I will attempt to explore this by looking at the characters, what they represent and their functions in the play. Bernarda’s intrusive nature leads to her desire to have every aspect of life in her house under her control, from steering conversations away from delicate topics, to deciding when her daughters go to bed. This is apparent in the opening line of the extract as Bernarda asks ‘What does Pepe have to say?’. The irony of this is that she remains ignorant of Adela’s scandalous actions, despite the clear insinuations cast by Poncia. Throughout the play Bernarda’s strongly traditional...
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