In Act I, scene ii of Blood Wedding, Mother-in-law and Wife are chanting a poem. What significance does this great horse who would not drink the water have?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sleep, my blossom,
The horse will not drink.

Sleep, little rose,
The horse is weeping,
Its hooves are hurt,
Its mane is frozen (Act I, scene ii)

This is a very convoluted nursery rhyme (a sample above) being sung by the Wife and Mother-in-law. There are two viable directions to take in interpreting it. On one hand, since the families of the region engage in blood feuds and the bridegroom's father and brother are killed by a family they are feuding with, the nursery rhyme may be about the prevalence of feuds and fighting with the purpose of trying to foster a belief against dipping into the river of blood feuds. In this interpretation, the great horse that "will not drink" symbolizes the family and, simultaneously, each individual male of the family who, it is hoped, will stay out of the river of feuds.

On the other hand, since the central plot point is that the Wife's husband, Leonardo, is desperately in love with the Bride, it makes a good deal of sense that the horse symbolizes married men in the family, in this case, particularly Leonardo, while the river represents the possibility of taking what is not theirs, particularly, in this case, the Bride. If this is the correct interpretation, the resisting, weeping horse who "will not drink" fails, drinks (runs off with the Bridegroom's Bride), and will drink from his own river when he is overtaken by the Bridegroom.

elisipie | Student

Within Act1Scene2 the reference to the horse is spoken in poem/lullaby form to the child,it seems strange that the child is being rocked to sleep with violent images being planted in her head,but when thinking about it, several rhymes we are used to; such as "rockabye baby" are infact also lullabys that are not particularly "child friendly".

When looking closely into the poem we can see that the mother refers to her child as"little carnation"whereas the MIL(motherinlaw) refers to it as"little rosebush"it seems clear that the MIL is trying to dominate the relationship over the child cos we can see that a rosebush is a dominating flower but it is also secretly violent with the use of thorns;aswell as beauty. whilst the MIL also is a more aggressive character toward the child with the use of violent images like "wounded,dagger,blood" whereas the mother seems more like she is warning the child of what is to come. It is seen here that the stallion is possibly refering to the father of the child. Warning the child of his dangers, yet at the same time the mother-who is in love with him is warning the child of him, however the MIL has no sympathy&shows with her aggressive nature that she wishes him ill.

With the use of the stallion&the waterthat leonardo is not just dangerous but in danger.
finally, it is also odd that of all the characters Leonardo is the only named one&therefore is the central character of the play.