Summary (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
Blood Wedding bestowed fame and fortune overnight on its author. In 1928, García Lorca read a newspaper account of a wedding that ended in tragic circumstances near Almería in southern Spain. He clipped the article, reread it five years later, and in a week finished his play, which became a hit in Madrid, Barcelona, and Buenos Aires. In Blood Wedding, García Lorca forcefully presents the theme of his three tragedies: Love that is unfulfilled because of the need to preserve honor and appearances results in death. A good-natured, hardworking young man contracts matrimony with a woman. The bridegroom is the only surviving member of a family that has been involved in a feud with the Felixes, and his mother is still overcome with a mixture of rage and fear that her only surviving son will meet the same fate. In rural Spain, where there were no secrets, it was known that the bride had been seeing someone else before the engagement. She is still madly in love with Leonardo (of the Felix family), who is married and the father of a boy. While the wedding celebration continues with singing and dancing, Leonardo rides away with the new bride. He is pursued by the groom, and the two men kill each other, thus causing the mother’s forebodings to come true.
This simple plot summary does little to account for the sharp visual and verbal impact of the drama. García Lorca assigned a different color to each one of the scenes and characters. The groom’s house has yellow walls, a pink cross accents the bride’s dwelling, and the scene of the wedding has shades of whites, grays, and cool blues. Flowers are assigned to each character: carnations to the groom, a crown of orange blossoms to the bride. Folk lullabies are used for their musical effect and to advance the plot, and folk dances enliven the foreground of the wedding, while in the...
(The entire section is 761 words.)
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Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
The Bridegroom’s Mother is unhappy when she learns that her son wishes to be married to the woman he desires. In spite of her sorrow at losing him, she commands him to go buy fine presents for the Bride. The Bridegroom’s Mother is also unhappy because the Bridegroom is her only surviving child. Her husband and her older son were killed many years before in fights with members of the Felíx family. Since then, the Bridegroom’s Mother lived in fear that the only surviving man in her family, the Bridegroom, might also fall a victim to someone’s knife or gun. She tells her son that she wishes he was born a girl, to sit in the house and knit instead of going out among men.
After the Bridegroom leaves the house to go buy gifts for the Bride, gifts to be presented when the parents meet, a neighbor stops to see his Mother. The neighbor tells the Bridegroom’s Mother that there is bad blood in the Bride’s veins, inherited from her mother. She also says that Leonardo, a member of the hated Felíx family and a cousin of the Bride, wooed the Bride unsuccessfully before his own marriage three years earlier. The Bridegroom’s Mother grows uneasy at the news, but she determines to carry through her part in the marriage customs because her son is in love and because the Bride’s Father owns rich vineyards comparable to those of her own family.
Meanwhile word of the proposed marriage reaches Leonardo, who still is in love with the Bride. In fact, he rides many miles to her house to see her whenever he has the chance. For some time both Leonardo’s Wife and her mother realized that something was wrong. Leonardo is curt and sharp with his Wife for no reason at all, and he fails to take much notice of their child.
The next day the Bride’s servant prepares her to meet with her father, the Bridegroom, and the Bridegroom’s Mother in order to make plans for the wedding. The servant accuses the Bride of permitting Leonardo to visit late at night. The Bride, without denying the fact, merely indicates that she is not very happy at the prospect of marrying the Bridegroom.
After the arrival of the Bridegroom and his Mother, it is decided to have the wedding take place on the following Thursday, the Bride’s twenty-second birthday. The Bride says that she will welcome the chance to shut out the world from her life and devote herself to the Bridegroom. A short time after the Bridegroom and his Mother depart, Leonardo’s horse is heard neighing beneath the Bride’s window.
The day of the wedding arrives, and early in the morning the servant begins to prepare the Bride for the ceremony. The Bride is not happy. When the servant begins to...
(The entire section is 1097 words.)
Summary and Analysis
Summary and Analysis Act I, Scenes 1-3
Bridegroom: A young man of good standing who is to be married and whose name is never revealed.
The Bridegroom’s Mother: A grieving woman who lost her husband and first son in a blood feud.
Neighbor: An acquaintance of the Mother.
Mother-In-Law: The Wife’s mother who sings a lullaby to a baby child in her arms.
Wife: Leonardo’s wife.
Leonardo Felix: The Wife’s husband; the only character with a name.
A Girl: A minor character who comes in with news on the impending wedding.
The Bride: The woman who will soon marry.
The Father of the Bride.
A Maid: A woman who looks after the Bride.
In the opening scene of Federico García Lorca's play Blood Wedding, a mother and her son (the Bridegroom) meet in a room that is painted yellow. Although it is breakfast time, the son wants to head straight for the vineyards without eating breakfast. The Mother grows distressed because the son wants to cut grapes in the vineyards. When he asks for a knife, her alarm grows. The audience learns that the Mother has endured the murder of both her husband, to whom she was only married for three years, and her eldest son. The Mother compares her dead husband to a bull, a symbol of fertility in Spain. The reminiscences of her dead husband always evoke symbols of fertility and procreation—for instance, the father “smelled like carnations.” A few lines later, the father and dead brother are compared to geraniums, again evoking an image of nature’s regenerative capacities. These images are contrasted with the destructiveness, final and irreparable, of a knife or pistol.
While the audience never learns exactly why the Mother’s husband and eldest son were killed, the Mother does reveal that the killers are still alive, but in prison. The fact that these killers are alive while her family is “dead,” with only one last hope at procreating and carrying on the “blood,” the soon-to-be-married son torments the Mother. The contrast causes her much grief: “My dead ones, covered with weeds, silent, turned to dust. Two men who were like two geraniums! The killers, in prison, alive and well, gazing at the mountains.” The Mother has been grieving for years. However, instead of being happy at the news of her surviving son’s impending marriage, she is suspicious.
The Mother seems to want to convince herself that the bride-to-be (Bride) is a “good girl.” But she has doubts. A sense of foreboding enters the dialogue. Little is known about the bride-to-be. She lives far away, and the Mother implies that she may have “seen” someone else before her son. The son finally manages to distract his mother with thoughts of future offspring.
After the son exits, a neighbor appears at the door. The Mother pumps the Neighbor for information on the woman her son is to marry. The Neighbor reveals that “no one really knows her.” In the gossiping, it is revealed that the bride-to-be’s mother did not love her husband. This increases the sense of foreboding—of tragedy waiting to happen—that has been building during the scene. The sense of foreboding reaches a climax when the Mother hears that the bride-to-be was indeed involved at one time: with Leonardo Felix, a member of the family that killed her husband and eldest son.
The second scene shifts to the Mother-in-Law and her daughter, who are singing a lullaby to a child. The lullaby includes two important symbols: an unhappy horse and a river. As the child drifts off to sleep, the Mother-in-Law exits and Leonardo enters. The Wife begins questioning him about his treatment of his horse. She implies that he has been taking long trips and that the horse is suffering. Leonardo denies it, but his wife is not entirely convinced. The Mother-in-Law reenters and backs up her daughter’s assertions: “Who is riding that horse so hard?” Leonardo callously claims that he doesn’t care about the horse’s well-being.
The conversation shifts to news of the impending wedding. The Wife is the cousin of the woman who is to be married. A girl enters with news of the fine lace that the groom is bringing for the wedding. The Bridegroom clearly has more financial standing than Leonardo. Leonardo is perturbed by this news. He becomes angry, and the Wife becomes suspicious of his changing mood. The bitterness is not resolved. Leonardo exits and the Wife and Mother-in-Law pick up singing the haunting lullaby again.
In the third scene, the Mother and the Bridegroom pay a visit to the residence of the Bride in order to secure the wedding date and give gifts. The residence is over four hours away in the...
(The entire section is 1951 words.)
Summary and Analysis Act II, Scenes 1-2
Young Men and Young Girls: Minor characters whose poetic lines report on wedding events.
It is the day of the wedding. Many of the guests, including the Bridegroom and Mother, must travel for hours in order to attend. The Maid helps the Bride prepare for the wedding. However, the Bride does not act like a typical happy bride. Rather, she is irked when the Maid alludes to the sexual encounter between the bride and bridegroom that should naturally follow on the evening of the wedding. She even refers to the impeding encounter as a “misery.” In a fit of anger, she throws down a crown of orange blossoms that the bride traditionally wears. Clearly, she...
(The entire section is 1768 words.)
Summary and Analysis Act III, Scenes 1-2
Three Woodcutters: Minor characters who comment, in symbolic language, on the progress of the hunt.
The Moon: A symbol of Fate, personified as a woodcutter, who speaks in symbolic, veiled verse.
A Beggar Woman: Although not on the cast listing, she appears suddenly and alludes to impending death. She is Death personified.
A Little Girl: She joins two other little girls onstage in playing with a ball of wool.
The scene opens ominously at night in a forest. This setting represents danger and nature in its unfettered glory. Three woodcutters appear, speaking of the couple—Leonardo and the Bride—escaping on horseback...
(The entire section is 1945 words.)