In the forest, three woodcutters discuss the night’s dramatic events as the wedding party searches for the Bride and Leonardo. They agree that it will be easy to catch the escaped lovers once the moon comes out. One of the woodcutters suggests that the couple should be allowed to go, since they were destined to run away together because of their blood.
The woodcutters speculate that the Bride is making love with Leonardo as they speak. They saw the determination with which the Bridegroom pursued them, and they worry he will be killed, effectively extinguishing his family name since he is the only living son. Presently, the Moon (represented as a young woodcutter with a white face) comes out from behind the clouds, and the woodcutters recite a mournful poem about it.
The Moon sings a lyric about how he is lonely and cold, because people shut him out of their houses. Tonight, though, he will have blood to warm his cheeks. The Moon disappears and a Beggar Woman enters. She recites a disturbing poem, predicting that “they” will die violently in the woods, and the trees will stifle their screams. The Moon and the Beggar Woman discuss the impending violence with relish, the Moon remarking that he hopes they will die slowly.
The Bridegroom and the First Youth enter, bickering about which direction in which to pursue Leonardo’s horse. They encounter the Beggar Woman, who hasn’t seen Leonardo and the Bride but believes she knows where they are. She leads the Bridegroom and the Youth offstage. The Woodcutters appear, reciting a poem hoping that the young couple will somehow survive the night.
They leave and the Bride enters with Leonardo. She asks him to leave her, since she’ll go on alone. He refuses and she asks him to kill her, or at least give her his gun so she can commit suicide. Leonardo remains steadfast, insisting that he will stick by her even though the plan to run away was her idea. The Bride and Leonardo pledge their love, although the Bride does not actually want to live and be in a relationship with him. They promise that they will never part until they die.
Act III of Blood Wedding consists of a significant change in register from earlier scenes. While Acts I and II consist predominantly of prose, the dialogue in Act III is highly stylized. The characters speak almost entirely in lyric or song, a shift that signifies the ultimate primacy of man’s animal nature over the rules of society. The role of minor characters has also changed. Unlike in Acts I and II, in which the minor characters served as mood setters or even comic relief, in Act III, the Woodcutters, the Beggar Woman, and the Moon all seem to know exactly what will happen to Leonardo and the Bridegroom.
The Moon’s role is unusual in the context of the play as a whole. In classical mythology, the moon is traditionally associated with Artemis or Diana, the Greek and Roman goddesses of the hunt, and European art and drama tends to reinforce this association of the moon with women. Not so in Lorca’s play, which portrays the Moon as a young male woodcutter. This is perhaps fitting with the celestial body’s bloodlust—it resents humanity for shutting it out of their homes, and longs for blood to “warm [his] cheeks.”
The bloodthirstiness of the Moon speaks to one of the broader themes of Blood Wedding—namely, the inability of individuals to choose their own destiny in a society that is ruled by heredity and the rhythms of nature. The sinister depiction of the Moon also calls into question the morality of the characters.
The townspeople, and indeed, many audiences, might reasonably blame the Bride and Leonardo for ruining the wedding and her happy marriage with the Bridegroom. However, their portrayal as helpless victims at the mercy of a powerful and malevolent Moon arouses sympathy, suggesting that no character is fully good or evil.
The three woodcutters serve as important foils to the Moon. Living even closer to nature than the Bride in her remote farmhouse, the men are powerless to stop the impending tragedy, but they nevertheless hope for the best. They are the only characters that suggest that the Bride should be allowed to run away, since being married does not take away her freedom to move and love as she wishes. This complicates the question of whether living in a state of nature would be better than living in the conservative agricultural town in which the play is set. Although the merciless Moon implies that the woods are as dangerous as any blood vendetta, the fact remains that the Bride would not have been pressured into marriage at all if the town were more liberal and accepting of women’s rights.