BLOOD WEDDING (BODAS DE SANGRE, 1933)
By Federico García Lorca
POETICE TRAGEDY, POETIC DRAMA OR RURAL TRAGEDY: Blood
Wedding is the first and most enigmatic of Lorca’s trilogy of rural Andalusian tragedies and has been widely praised by the critics for the achievement of a tragic form.
Its distinctive features include the fusion of lyric and dramatic impulses, the
skillful integration of a musical pattern in the drama’s structural design, the thematic relevance of songs, stage effects, and recurrent images (such as the horse, water, blood, knife, earth, the Moon, flowers)—in short, the assimilation of the Spanish folk and classical traditions in a poetic drama that is modern, sophisticated and authentic.
Plot and Structure: The play was inspired by a newspaper account of a real event that occurred in Almería in 1928.
Artistically re-elaborated by Lorca, the story was a
simple and an old one: the rivalry within a family, and the rivalry of two men for a woman who struggles between the attraction of a fiancé, who offers her wealth and peace of mind, and the more powerful attraction of her ex-lover, Leonardo. However, having been abandoned by Leonardo, the fiancée finally decides to get married (for her pride).
The preparations of the wedding are clouded by
The wedding takes place in an atmosphere full of bad omens; there is
the presence of Leonardo, now married to another woman, the flight of the lovers, and the death of the rivals after a pursuit and a frantic struggle in the forest. At the end we find the three women, the Bride, the Mother, and Leonardo’s Widow, expressing their hatred, their sorrow and their loneliness when confronted by death, among the lamenting chorus of the neighbors.
Structurally, the play is divided into three acts, with three scenes in each act.
Tripartite settings include the farm homes of the groom and Leonardo in Act I, the Bride’s cavern in Act II, and the damp, primeval forest in Act III (the only setting not based on local reality).
Lorca postulated a broken engagement between the Bride
Yet these complications only arouse the primal passions of the Bride
and Leonardo, leading to the explosion of repressed emotions manifested at the wedding.
With respect to the episodes, thus the three acts of Blood Wedding can be
called Betrothal, Wedding, and Blood Wedding (Death—which is a “wedding” when dealing with the frustration of life).
The title of the drama also plays on the
ironic meaning of “blood weddings” (Bodas de sangre), on the one hand as a violent aftermath (i.e. the death of the bridegroom after the wedding) and, on the other, as a true “blood” marriage in the play, namely that between the bride and Leonardo.
Sources: The play combines realism, fantasy, lyricism and traditional folkloric materials in a radically innovative way.
We can detect the breath of classical
influences, such as the tradition of Spanish comedy, especially the tradition of Lope de Vega manifested in the wedding scene, its affinity with Greek tragedy in the ceremonial and spectacular content as well as in the lyric chorus, a touch of ancient myth linked directly to prehistoric rituals of sacrifice and proto-religious mysteries of birth, fertility (reproduction) and death, and modern touches found in the Andalusian folk background.
Imagery/Symbols: It is in Blood Wedding that the theme is embodied in the play not primarily by the logic of character, but by the rhythm of its imagery.
Wedding is indeed a tragic poem, a meditation on life and death in which characters (all are nameless except Leonardo) are victims of a collective and inevitable destiny. Leonardo and the Bridegroom meet violent death, but the Mother is the real 2
incarnation of the tragedy.
She is the most vital person of the play, the chief
interpreter of the human situation as well as the chief victim of the tragic circumstances....
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