Garcia Lorca's intention is arguably, in this play and in other works, to show that the demands of a patriarchal society can cause women to victimize each other. Men are a kind of background entity responsible ultimately for the conflicts that result in tragic consequences for women. This is why, in La casa de Bernarda Alba, the male character of Pepe is an offstage presence, a kind of mystical force manipulating the women. The fact that he is unseen makes the power he wields over them seem stronger but more inexplicable than it would otherwise be. The visible power is only that of the cruel mother-figure, who is herself a victim of the dysfunctional dynamic of the time and place.
The oldest daughter, Angustias, is the one slated to marry Pepe, but at least two of the others are in love with him, and one of them is having an affair with him. Bernarda's iron-fisted control over the girls has backfired, but the reasons for that control are probably ones Bernarda herself is not even conscious of. The possibility that one of them will "bring shame upon" the house is a typical old-world notion by which women traditionally were "guilted," forced to conform to rules ultimately imposed upon them by men. Bernarda's failed attempt to kill Pepe is like a subconscious revolt against male dominance, but all it does is result in the tragedy of Adela's suicide. With Pepe not even appearing, whatever responsibility he might come to feel for her death is invisible to us, as if he is escaping from the situation that he's caused without any consequences to himself.