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How does Lorca represent women as a marginalized section of the society in

his play The Blood Wedding?


The main role of a man in the Hispanic culture was reiterated as Machismo, the provider of the
family and was expected to be extremely brave and strong. Whereas a woman was referred to as
a Marianismo, whose main role was to be a good housewife and mother. The women used to
imprison themselves behind the walls of their houses as though they were buried alive; this
causes a repetition of fate because overtime they lose all their freshness, vitality, and influence
their children's lives with the same devastating traditions that had destroyed them.
The first woman we are introduced to in the play is the Mother, who is seen to live her life in
mourning post the loss of her husband and son; and also in constant fear of losing her last son,
the Bridegroom. She is our first insight into the role of woman in the society. In Act 1, Scene 1
the mother says to the Bridegroom I wish you were a girl, Then you wouldn't be going down to
the stream 1, Lorca conveys that the girls never left the house and the sons did all the tasks that
involved leaving the house. Soon after that, the mother says Wed be embroidering borders,
with flowers and little woollen dogs.2 The gender roles are distinguished through these few
lines, we see that the girls performed the most delicate tasks such as sewing and other household
chores. Through her words One Woman, one man and thats it3 we also learn that it was against
her ethics to even look at another man or remarry even though she lost her husband. Another
detail about the mother is also introduced to us in her conversation with the Neighbour when the
mother responds with the words I haven't been to the top of the street in twenty years4 this
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4

Pg.3,
Pg.3,
Pg.4,
Pg.5,

Blood
Blood
Blood
Blood

Wedding
Wedding
Wedding
Wedding

by
by
by
by

Federico
Federico
Federico
Federico

Garcia
Garcia
Garcia
Garcia

Lorca
Lorca
Lorca
Lorca

brings out her isolation from society after the loss of her husband and son. She is seen to have
completely locked out the world outside of her house. Throughout Act 1, we learn that the
mother believed that men were obligated to work at the fields and women cloistered away from
the society with their sole focus on satisfying their husbands and raising their children.
In contrast, the Bride is seen doing what was proposed to be a mans job in the Hispanic culture.
This is brought out in Act 1, Scene 3 during the conversation between the Father and the Mother,
in which the Father says his daughter is also a worker, and can cut rope with her teeth5, this
brings out the Brides rough nature which is a complete contrast from that of the other woman in
the play, who are portrayed as delicate and incapable of chores outside the house. The Bride also
emphasizes this when she says Because Ive always done a mans work? I wish I were a man.6
This conveys her frustration and anger of being amongst a society that expects a woman to be
nothing but a good mother and wife inside of the house with .. a wall two feet thick7.
Throughout the play, we see that the Bride does not conform to the role that the society has laid
upon her and instead goes against everything society expects of her.

The bride emerges as the non-conformist in the play, making her the second most important
woman in the play, we are acquainted with her in Act 1, through the Neighbour, She lives away
out there, alone with her father- miles from the nearest house. But she's used to loneliness8 who
imparts that the Bride is also isolated from the society not just emotionally, but physically too.
The bride is forced into the marriage with the Bridegroom simply because of his possessions and
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Pg.18, Blood Wedding by Federico Garcia Lorca


Pg.21, Blood Wedding by Federico Garcia Lorca
Pg.19, Blood Wedding by Federico Garcia Lorca
Pg.6, Blood Wedding by Federico Garcia Lorca

her father's greed, which develops an inner conflict in her, as she is forced to conform with the
society. This is seen during her meeting with the Mother where she is hesitant to look at the
presents and then bites her hand in anger, which brings out her inner turmoil. This is significant
as we continue to see this even in todays world with people so educated. The Bride also refers to
marriage as ..endless bitterness9 which conveys her views on marriage completely contradicted
those of the woman of the older generations. Unlike the other woman in the play, the Bride
continues to rebel against the constraining society. Firstly, she flings the Orange blossom aside,
which was symbolic of fertility, virginity and chastity, and none of this concerned her. In
addition, Leonardo also says Something quite small would suit her best10 referring to the
wreath and hinting at her lack of chastity in reference to their past. These two instances also
bring out the fact that she did not believe in staying pure until she was married, which was
considered a sin in the society. This continues to be argued upon in a lot of societies even today.
The two other woman in the play are the Wife and the Mother-in-law. The wife is a conformist in
the play, she gets married to Leonardo out of compulsion and even after having a child with him,
she is unable to earn his love. She is also well aware that Leonardo is infatuated with the Bride,
and therefore lives an unfulfilled life, bearing the burden of the childs upbringing. Although the
mother-in-law shares the Mothers views on the role of women, she understands her daughter's
suffering and, therefore, supports her throughout. However, it is seen that their voices are
suppressed simply because of the gender bias that existed. We see this when Leonardo says And
then I left her. Are you going to cry now? Stop it...11 In response to the Mother-in-law bringing
up Leonardo's past with the Bride.
9 Pg.24, Blood Wedding by Federico Garcia Lorca
10 Pg.27, Blood Wedding by Federico Garcia Lorca
11 Pg.13, Blood Wedding by Federico Garcia Lorca

Furthermore, Lorca also ensured that the diction he used for the Bride and Leonardo was very
different throughout the play. For instance, In Act 3 Scene 1, the Bride is extremely agitated and
tangled because she has to choose between running away and losing her pride or marrying the
Bridegroom and remaining honorable. On the other hand, Leonardo is very straight forward and
has no second thoughts about running away with the Bride. He tries to convince her to chose her
happiness over her pride when he says Your pride won't save you. The contrast in the language
brings out the conflict between her love for Leonardo but her incapability to express herself
because of being suppressed by the society. This also brings out another aspect of the Hispanic
culture: which was that love didn't have any role to play in marriage. It was as though wealth and
influence were supposed to bud love for a couple.
Men in the Hispanic culture too, looked down on woman and preferred having sons as opposed
to daughters, we see this in Act 1 Scene 3 when the Father says If Id had sons I would have
bought everything between the mountains and the stream12 and again in Act 2 Scene 2 he says
This land needs strong hands that cost nothing13. Lorca uses this to imply that the men believed
that they would only become wealthier or more successful if they had sons, and daughters were
nothing but a burden until they were married and sent away. This was mostly because of the
gender roles that confined woman from carrying out most of the tasks that would help a family
grow financially, such as farming. Lorca also conveys to us the perspectives of a different
woman on marriage through the voices of the Guest at the wedding. The Guest says, ..Todays
she's a maiden, Tomorrow a woman. which tells us that many women were convinced that their
existence needed to be validated their husbands.

12 Pg.17, Blood Wedding by Federico Garcia Lorca


13 Pg.39, Blood Wedding by Federico Garcia Lorca

In addition to the disparities between the roles of woman and men in the Hispanic culture, in
which woman were given the less significant roles, Lorca also shows us the non-conformists that
existed in the society which makes us feel sympathetic towards the woman, who lost their sense
of individuality because of all the rigid believes that they complied with. Some of the orthodox
mindsets we are acquainted with help us understand the reason behind women remaining a
marginalized sector of the Hispanic society.