Blood Wedding, completed in 1932, premiered in Madrid in 1933. Its popular success was such that Lorca was able to support himself from proceeds stemming from his writing for the first time. Its success also demonstrates the degree to which large Spanish audiences, by 1933, were highly receptive to the innovations in theater and literature that had been developing since the turn of the century. The play incorporates song, chant, poetry, music, and rhythm, and its action and sets are highly symbolic and stylized. These nonrealistic and antinaturalistic techniques capitalized on drama as a live event. As opposed to a play whose actions and sets seemed exactly like things in everyday life, Lorca's audience witnessed the stage exploited for all of its sensate and dramatic potentialities.
While some argue that the play treats certain universal themes, others disagree with this point of view, seeing it instead as a veiled criticism of certain sectors of Spanish society. On the surface, Blood Wedding is a tragedy that plays out the conflict between individual wishes and societal decrees and laws. It is a tragedy insofar as two of the central characters, Leonardo and the Bride, were once in love, but due to unknown impediments, were never married. Their tragedy is the tragedy of love missed. In the meantime, Leonardo has married another and the Bride is betrothed and about to be married herself. The thought of a definitive loss of his first love to another man drives Leonardo to instigate the major event of the play, which is the lovers' flight on the very day that the Bride marries.
For those critics who view the play within its historical context, Lorca's theme is based in the rigid laws of the lovers' community, which decree that Leonardo must die for his transgression. That is, the terrible vengeance enacted against Leonardo is seen to represent extremism, intolerance, and inflexibility. These charges of inflexibility were understood to be leveled against those persons who were resistant to social and cultural change during an era when such change was largely inevitable.