Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1768
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 has some reservations about the marriage ceremony.
They are interrupted as the first guest arrives: Leonardo, her old flame. As usual, Leonardo has abused his horse in order to make expedient time. As in Act I, he reiterates that he doesn’t care if the horse dies. Leonardo is not one to dwell on unfortunate consequences. Forgetting about his family, Leonardo confronts the Bride about the wedding, claiming that she left him because of his poverty: “Tell me, what have I ever been to you? Look back and refresh your memory! Two oxen and a tumbledown hut are almost nothing. That’s what hurts.” The confrontation escalates until the bride exits and the maid intervenes. She grabs Leonardo and asks him to leave. He does, but the confrontation remains unresolved.
A brief interlude follows where the minor characters chant romantic reports of an impending marriage in idyllic verse. These images contrast with the heated exchange that just took place.
The Bride then appears in traditional attire. The Mother sees Leonardo and is upset at his presence. In a premonition of doom, she utters, “Let’s not have anything go wrong.” As the entourage leaves for the church, the voices of minor characters again chant in verse of images of an idyllic marriage.
Leonardo and his family are left alone on stage. Another heated confrontation occurs. Leonardo is neglecting his family. Although his wife is pregnant, he is looking at her with hatred, when not ignoring her outright. The Wife comments that she is sharing the fate of her mother: Married to a man who does not love her. Again voices intervene, contrasting the animosity and impending doom with images of a star.
Scene 2 opens in a clearing or yard outside the cave where the Father and Bride have lived. The guests are soon to return for a banquet. The Maid is chanting in verse, again, happy images of the wedding party contrasted with nature in all her glory.
The Mother and Father arrive and learn that Leonardo has beaten them back to the cave. According to the Maid, he drove callously, like a demon, scaring the wits out of his pregnant wife. This is inappropriate behavior, particularly by someone who was interested in the Bride; the “ex-boyfriend” is not bowing out gracefully. The Mother is very upset with the news of Leonardo, whose family is responsible for the deaths of her own husband and son. In answer to a comment about Leonardo having “bad blood”—an allusion to the title of the drama—the Mother exclaims, “What blood could he have?—That of his whole family, beginning with his great-grandfather who started the killing, and on through the whole evil clan! Men who use knives! People with false smiles!” These images of doom are soon contrasted with the wish by the Mother and Father for many grandchildren; death and birth are contrasted.
Other guests begin to arrive, though they never are seen on stage. Many are remote relatives of the Bridegroom who have traveled great distances to see the wedding. Meanwhile, Leonardo continues to hover around the Bride while his suspicious wife tails him. The Wife and Bridegroom speak...
(The entire section contains 1768 words.)
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