Although the most prominent conflict in Blood Wedding is between the Bridegroom and Leonardo Felix, generational conflict plays a subtler and more insidious role in the tragic events. The Bride rebels openly against the social mores of her parents' generation; her actions can be read as a response to feeling trapped by the limited prospects that a woman had at this place and time. Although he is a man, the Bridegroom is similarly constrained, constantly having to explain his life decisions to Mother, who cannot understand why he would take the risk of associating with Leonardo Felix's former love. Although he tries to incorporate Mother into his life, allowing her to live with himself and the Bride, she refuses, clinging adamantly to the past, as represented by her house near the cemetery.
In Blood Wedding, García Lorca presents several opposing views of women's proper role in society. Mother and the Mother-in-Law both advocate for women being cloistered behind "thick walls" after marriage, for their personal safety as well as to preserve their fragile psyches. The Bride feels constrained by the obligation to marry at all, let alone to be sealed away from society for the rest of her days. Although she does not love the Bridegroom, she appreciates that he will be a good husband and provider, but marrying for either wealth or pure sexual passion seems unpleasant to her. The Bride's struggle to find a middle way ultimately proves fruitless, and her excruciating dilemma is representative of the situations of many rural women in similarly untenable situations.
Physical and emotional isolation
The characters in the play frequently discuss the isolation of the Bride's farmhouse from the rest of the town. Similarly, the Neighbour mentions that Mother only rarely leaves her own house to visit friends or do errands. The physical isolation of the play's female characters reflects their emotional alienation--in Mother's case, due to the murders of her husband and son, and in the Bride's case, due to the pressure to marry.
Leonardo and Mother both tend to fixate on blame as a way to cope with their bitterness about how their lives have turned out. Neither, though, directs the blame in productive or even accurate directions; Mother believes that knives are responsible for her loss of her husband and son, and Leonardo rapidly shifts the blame for his bad marriage to various people around him. Similarly, the Bride frequently lashes out at her Servant due to her frustration about the impending marriage. The characters cannot correctly identify the sources of their problems, and thus forgiveness is out of the question.
Humanity in nature
The repressive social norms of the rural town are often contrasted with the raw, emotional state of nature in which the characters desire to live. However, this state of nature is perhaps no better than the town, as evidenced in the woods, when the Moon itself is spiteful of the characters and contributes to their demise. The shallow and restrictive town, then, can be seen as a response and overreaction to the chaotic, bleak fate that man faces in nature.
Even more important than the Bride and Bridegroom's virtue is the sensibility of their match from an economic standpoint. Both are reasonably well off, which goes a long way towards ensuring their parents' approval of the union. However, the constant talk of buying and selling land points to a deeper rift between the two families. Although the Bride's Father has done well for himself through hard work, he cannot compete with the old-money extravagance of the Bridegroom's family, and this perhaps prevents the Bride from truly bonding with her fiancé. Furthermore, Leonardo's frustration at being unable to marry the Bride might just as easily be due to his inability to advance himself materially in the world--in the scene in his kitchen, García Lorca frequently emphasizes the family's dire financial circumstances.
The exchange of information
Much of the suspense in Blood Wedding is derived from the fact that the characters do not have the latest or most complete information about what is happening. The tragedy in the final act could arguably have been avoided if the elder generation had not chosen to keep the Bridegroom and Leonardo's Wife in the dark about the old relationship between the Bride and Leonardo. Furthermore, the delivery of information often comes from symbolic sources. For example, the town girls represent the stakes of the characters' conflicts about feminism, and the Beggar Woman is said in the character list to represent death.
Blood Wedding Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Blood Wedding is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
The setting for Blood Wedding is in the 1930's, during the Spanish Civil War. More directly, the play was inspired by a sensational crime that Lorca read about in the Madrid daily ABC in 1928. In the farming village of Níjar, a young man had been...