The Bridegroom and his Mother go to visit the Bride at her farmhouse. The Bride’s Maid lets them in and goes to get the Bride and the Bride’s Father. While they are waiting, Mother complains that at four hours away from town, the Bride’s house is too remote, and there are not enough crops on their lands. The Bridegroom, who is called “the Son” in this scene but is nevertheless the same character, brushes off her complaints.
The Bride’s Father welcomes Mother and the Bridegroom to his home. They chat about farming. Father explains that although his soil is bad, it is possible to get a good alfalfa crop with a lot of hard work. However, he wishes he lived closer to the Bridegroom so that when they are married, the Bride and Bridegroom’s lands could be joined together as one farm.
Abruptly, the conversation turns to the marriage. Father has no complaints, and Mother seems to have got over her objections. The parents reassure each other that their children are modest, hardworking, and “well set up” (17). A servant brings in wine and sweets, and the parents toast the wedding, deciding on next Thursday for the date—incidentally, the Bride’s twenty-second birthday. Because the Bride’s farm is so far away from the church, the Bride and Bridegroom will go in a car, and everyone else will arrive in horses or carts.
The Bride enters, meeting Mother for the first time. Mother gives her the presents she bought, and reminds her that, as a wife, her duty will be to give the Bridegroom many children. The Bride solemnly agrees, and expresses her happiness about the marriage. The Bridegroom declines the offer of wine, exchanges some tender words with the Bride, and leaves with his Mother, in hopes of getting home before sunset.
After the Bridegroom and his Mother leave, the Servant that brought in the wine begs the Bride for a peek at her presents, which are rumored to be very expensive. The Bride says no, but the Servant persists, moving to open the stockings himself. Furious, the Bride wrestles her arms away from the presents, and the servant remarks that she’s stronger than a man. “I wish I were a man,” (21) the Bride replies.
Changing the subject, the Servant asks the Bride if she heard a horse’s hooves last night, around 3 a.m. The Bride heard nothing. The Servant adds that the horse had a rider: Leonardo. The Bride doesn’t believe the Servant, accusing her of lying and her him when she stands by what she saw.
Suddenly, they hear a horse outside. The Servant and the Bride peer out the window. The rider is Leonardo.
In this scene, Lorca repeatedly emphasizes how remote the Bride’s farm is from the rest of the town. Indeed, this sense of isolation does as much to characterize the Bride as anything she says in the scene. There are several odd contradictions: Although the Bride’s Father says that the Bridegroom’s family is much wealthier than they are, he adds that his daughter is “well set up” like her fiancé. Furthermore, they can afford at least two servants although the soil on the Bride’s farm is notoriously bad and her father seems to run the farm by himself.
This sense of mystery and isolation sets the Bride apart from the rest of the characters. Her geographical remoteness symbolizes and enforces her famous purity. Unlike the Bridegroom, Mother, and Leonardo’s family, the Bride is entirely outside of the family feud that has embroiled the town. Nevertheless, the poisonous rivalry threatens to draw her in despite this isolation.
However, her extraordinary remoteness isn’t the only mysterious thing about the Bride. Although her interaction with Mother seems normal, she becomes violent and aggressive as soon as Mother and her fiancé leave. The Mother advocates for an old-fashioned type of femininity—according to her, a good wife bears children and keeps house behind “a wall two feet thick” to hide her from the outside world. The Bride, though, has been isolated long enough and lashes out against this received ideal of femininity, using physical force to protect her wedding gifts from the nosy Servant.
It is useful to contrast the views of femininity espoused by Mother and by the Bride. Mother wishes that her son, the Bridegroom, were a girl so that he could be safe from the dangers of the outside world and keep her company. The Bride, however, wishes she were a man so that she could have more agency and protect herself from danger. Although they have opposite views, both women choose their preferred sex based on physical safety. This reveals the deep entrenchment of violence in the town’s culture, as well as the gendered nature of this violence: Women are the true victims because they cannot defend themselves, and the only way to avoid this is to stay cloistered, whether it is in a farm in the countryside or behind a two-foot wall.
The Bride’s quick recourse to violence and cursing with the apparently well-intended Servant raises questions about the characters’ judgment. The Bride is widely considered very feminine and pure, and indeed, she seems to represent an impossible ideal of femininity to many people in the town, including Leonardo’s Wife and the Bridegroom’s Mother. Nevertheless, she is hot headed and quick to attack her Servant over a seemingly minor offense. This discrepancy between her actions and her reputation suggests that the town’s methods of evaluating a person’s reputation are faulty, and that perhaps there is less of a correlation between purity and virtue than people think.