Who is Magdalena?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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In La Casa de Bernarda Alba, by Federico Garcia Lorca, Magdalena represents a slight form of Electra complex. She is the 30 year old daughter of Bernarda who, almost by default, develops a deep connection with her father. This is understandable, considering the horrid persona of Bernarda Alba.

Magdalena, like every other character in the play, is named the way that she is for a reason: she is the only one of the daughters who is so overwhelmed at her father's funeral that she actually faints, despite of the iron-clad control that Bernarda instills in her daughters. Like the Christian character of Mary Magdalene, Magdalena carries the burden of existing within the "realms" of her mother to a sacrificial point.

Magdalena is also the second oldest daughter. She knows that her fate is sealed, that she will never be married, and she would rather see her younger sisters happy. She is one of the most supportive  daughters and she, unlike Martirio, understands the love of Pepe El Romano for Adela. In the end, Magdalena is once again forced to pretend that you must look death in the face and become stronger than it when her beloved sister, Adela, commits suicide and things in the household remain the same horrid way.




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