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Because it is perhaps the most intense theme of the play, understanding repression is the key to understanding both the characters and the story. Bernarda seems to understand that her children are capable of sexual desire, but she makes it her explicit purpose to tyrannically keep them from expressing those desires. They are forced into an eight-year mourning period at the beginning of the play, and she is terrified they might give in to the demands of a man like Pepe if they are not kept from exploring their desires. Even when La Poncia tells her that the children will break free the second they are given an inch of freedom, she believes she is doing the right thing. The claustrophobic atmosphere of the play is a reflection of the steady bitterness and hatred that exists between these sisters because they are so repressed. Their animosity towards one another is easiest to understand when one considers how desperately they all need Pepe as an object of admiration in their repressive world. Lorca might be ambivalent about the powers of human sexuality, but he is clear about the cost of repression: it causes people to shrivel up into suffering, which ultimately makes us into worse, uglier people.
These two methods of repression are quite different, in that Bernarda genuinely wants to protect her daughters' virtue.... Tartuffe is the story of a deceiver, he is a hypocrite. He hides behind his religious guise and acts on those things he preaches against.