The House of Bernarda Alba

by Federico Garcia Lorca

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Act I
1. Why might García Lorca, in his stage direction, have indicated that there should be, “Pictures of nymphs or legendary kings in improbable landscapes” on the walls? How do these images contrast with the rest of the scene and the action in Act I?

2. There are no men in the play. Yet, they are never far from the action. How does García Lorca contrast women and men in Act One?

3. The play begins at the conclusion of a funeral mass. Do Adela and Angustias behave appropriately considering the occasion? Is Bernarda correct in scolding them?

Act II
1. Why might García Lorca have included the story of the field hands hiring prostitutes? What does this story indicate about the way the different socio-economic classes approach sex?

2. Do you think the theft Pepe el Romano’s picture was a joke? Why not?

3. What does Bernarda’s response to the infanticide (murder of a child) indicate about her personality? Does Bernarda ever evoke any sympathy in the audience? Is she purely a malevolent character?

1. Do you believe that Maria Josefa is mad or insane? Much of what she says and does is a logical response to the situation in which she finds herself.

2. Maria Josefa is carrying a baby ewe. What might it symbolize? Why?

3. Do you think that Bernarda actually believed that her daughter died a virgin? Would she be able to convince herself of this over time?

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