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So Much For A Happy Ending: Thoughts on Blood Wedding

(Via Goodreads)

Blood Wedding (1932)

By Federico Garcia Lorca

Blood Wedding is a tragedy written by Federico Garcia Lorca in 1932. It is based off a newspaper story about a mysterious murder.

The screenplay focuses on a wedding between two characters, the Bridegroom and the Bride. However, it was later revealed that the Bride runs away with her former lover, Leonardo Felix, and so what was supposed to be a wonderful family celebration transforms into a night of murder and revenge.

Although this is a screenplay, there’s so much rich symbolism in the dialogue. Most of the symbolism comes from nature. For example, the Moon is personified and provides a monologue at the beginning of Act 3. The Moon claims that as it shines in the night, it will expose the Bride and Leonardo to the Bridegroom who is hunting them down. The moon also gives this eerieness that tonight is a night of murder and bloodshed. Another example of nature symbolism is the farmlands which are a symbol of fertility. In one scene, the Mother and Father of the two characters getting married discuss how their two offspring will prosper in wealth but also with children.

However, the main concept that Lorca seems to be focusing on in this particular play is women’s rights in Spain. During the time that this play was written, Spain underwent a huge change in which women’s rights were granted. Before women weren’t granted any civil rights, they couldn’t vote nor get a divorce. Their role was to be confined in the household. Yet in 1930, with the rise of left-wing groups, women were able to receive some civil rights, but that was short-lived due to the ascendancy of Francisco Franco in 1939.

Although Lorca’s play was written during the time when women were granted civil rights, the women in Lorca’s screenplay didn’t seem to have any freedom. Instead, most of the female characters remained loyal to the traditional views of women except the Bride. One possible reason as to why Lorca frame his female characters in this manner is to demonstrate that even though civil rights were granted to women, it’s still difficult for individuals to change their view on women’s roles in society. Hence, as to why the Mother and the Mother-in-Law continue to have conservative views on marriage as well as the woman’s role as a wife. However, the Bride disagrees with these marriage norms. In fact, as a way to rebel against tradition, the Bride runs away with her ex-lover, Leonardo because she didn’t want to be forced into a marriage that mainly served to benefit both families in regards to finances and power. Therefore, Blood Wedding could be read as a commentary to how difficult it is to change an entire society’s view on values particularly women’s rights during that time.

The other thing that I would like to focus on in this screenplay is how past family drama continues to haunt the lives of family members in the present day. The Mother of the Bridegroom has a grudge over the Felix family because they killed her husband and eldest son. In this play, the family is involved in another conflict with the Felix family.  It seems that history is doomed to repeat itself and that there is a reluctance to change and letting go of past drama. This could be a reflection on how traditional views remain the dominant form of thinking despite the need to change one’s views and values during a modern age.


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