To what extent is Lorca’s use of symbolism and imagery in The House of Bernarda Alba central to the unfolding of his tragic tale? When Federico Garcia Lorca talked about his new play, The House of Bernarda Alba, he said that it was pure realism and did not have a drop of poetry in it, however if you look closely you can see expressionism elements. The tragedy of the play has been emphasised by symbolism and imagery to help the unfolding of his tragic tale by presenting the fears, the fact that “They’ve been robbed of the capacity of hope” and tensions of all the characters; showing the bleak ending for the girls.
Lorca has used the symbol of heat in The House of Bernarda Alba to show the utter desperation for passion and male attention: “I’m sick with heat”. This emotion, felt by many characters, is dangerous. It is heat that is the result of the tragic end, as due to heat we can see that all the girls are riddled with jealous tensions and some with betrayal which therefore leads to tragic death. This is exactly what happens, as due to Adela’s desire for passion the whole family is affected and the future of her sisters is damaged. Adela is not the only daughter who feels the heat, as a matter of fact they all do. Yet Martirio will not admit it: until the last Act, she denies her true feelings as she says “I don’t feel the heat”. This turns out to not be true as Martirio could be seen as one of the hungriest girls when it comes to longing for lust: “I don’t care if my heart burst … I want him”. This sudden “burst” of feelings shows just how passionately Martirio feels and how even though she has been trying to hide it, she is just like all the rest, if not worst.
The characters attempt to smother the overwhelming sensation of heat with water. The largest amount of references to water is in Act Three. This could be so that the audience can see how the characters thirst increases as the play reaches its climax. At the beginning of the play the water is seen...
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