Symbolism in Federico Garcia Lorca's Blood Wedding
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The play Blood Wedding is a rural tragedy which was written by Federico Garcia Lorca in 1932; in 1933, it was performed for the first time. It is of common knowledge that the tragedy is one of the most famous works created by Federico Garcia Lorca as it presented not only an abundance of new theatrical innovations but also it showed the tragedy of love and the conflict between the wishes of the characters’ souls and the demands of the society. The plot of the play has a lot of peculiarities which make it more than unique and recognizable among any other plays. Symbolism, which is evident in the play by means of its poetry, song, rhythm, and, of course, the plot in the whole, is one of them.
First of all, it is necessary to notify that the author of the play was not only a gifted poet and playwright but also a painter and a musician. This is the reason why dances and songs, as well as images and colors, in particularly, play an integral role in the symbolic nature of the play. It is proved by the fact that the play begins with the yellow room in the house of the Groom whereas the rose color, in the Bride’s cave, the large flowers are rose in her room, and the curtains are hold by the rose ties) as well as the room in Leonardo’s house, which is also painted in rose, symbolize the romantic and tender feelings of the Bride and Leonardo. The yellow color is a symbol of the impossibility of the reciprocity between the main characters, the Groom and the Bride and even gives a hint on the tragic final of their relationships.
Furthermore, the symbolism of colors and their proof of the true love between the Bride and Leonardo include the cold colors, which were used to show the landscape outside the cave of the Bride and the house of Leonardo. It is evident that the choice of the author was intentional, for instance, cold blue and grey colors are everywhere; even cactus trees are not showed in their natural colors; their shadows are silver. These cold colors demonstrate the symbol of the tragedy of two lovers. When they are inside their dwellings, their love and individual wishes are protected by these walls, but when they are outside, the society prevents them from being alone. Grey colors symbolize their pain.
What is more, “for the final scene of catastrophe, a simple dwelling with arches and thick walls is done all in white” (Styan 86) In order to symbolize the church and the atmosphere in it. It is proved by the fact that “there should not be a single grey nor any shadow, not even what is necessary for perspective” (Styan 86). That is why a certain impression was intended to be present in the play.
In the play Blood Wedding, not only the colors but also images play a prominent role in symbolizing various items. Most these symbols comprise the items from different spheres; they are from the mineral kingdom and the animal kingdom. For example, the Earth is one of the fundamental symbols of the play; it is associated with the life and the existence. The concept of life is demonstrated during the whole play; this is the reason why its symbol, the Earth, is obvious in each act of the play.
Making a profound analysis of the play, it is evident that the author distinguishes the world between the male and the female parts of it. It is one of the reasons why the symbols, which are used for any associations with each of these parts are different. To begin with, the men are considered to be symbolized with the knife. The Mother of the Groom admits that her elder son and her husband were killed with a knife. A knife is a weapon which was used to kill some characters of the play (the Groom and Leonardo). This item symbolizes a man and his power, his strength and, from some perspectives, even cruelty of the world the men govern.
Taking into consideration the fact that every detail has its essential sense in the play, it is necessary to admit that the artistic image of an abundance of various vegetables is one more symbol. In most cases, they symbolize a man, as well. For instance, wheat, weed, bread, and flowers are considered to be the symbol fathers and their sons and the relationships between them.
Animal kingdom includes a symbol of a man too. This symbol is a horse as, since the ancient times, a man is associated with this animal. Taking into account this fact, it is obvious that a knife and a horse have a common symbolic sense. They are the symbols of a man and his strength.
A female world also has its symbols. They are mostly from the animal kingdom, and they include the birds and the serpent. It is explained by the fact that, in the play Blood Wedding, a woman is associated with both treachery andfertility. A serpent is an animal which is considered to be a symbol of dishonesty; this is the reason why the author chose this animal to be associated with the woman’s treachery.
A bird is associated with both a Bridegroom and a death in the play as Federico Garcia Lorca uses the Catholic symbol of Holy Spirit as a marker of good news (a dove is associated with a wedding of the Bridegroom). At the same time, a bird means death and the tragedy of the characters.
In case of womanhood, the Earth is as significant as it is for the description of the manhood. The earth symbolizes fertility and their role in the family life, for example, growing up children and looking after the husband. At the same time, the Earth is a symbol of women suffering which is quite long-lasting. Analyzing the symbol of the Earth, it is obvious that it can be associated with both a male and a female world, but its meaning depends on the part it belongs to.
Blood and water are the central symbols of the play. These two symbols make up an opposition. Blood is the symbol of life and honor whereas water and river in particularly, is death and life at the same time. For example, Leonardo is described as a man of not a good blood; it means that he is admitted not to be honorable. In the play Blood Wedding, river is fatal for numerous women who are decent, but who throw themselves in the river in order to commit suicide. In this case, water symbolizes death. On the other hand, the Bride describes the Bridegroom “as a little bit of water from which [she] hoped for children…”. In this context, water is denoted to be a symbol of life and future. Analyzing the majority of symbols used in the play, it is obvious that an abundance of them can have a dual sense. In some cases, they can have a meaning which is opposite in other cases.
In conclusion, it is significant to admit that symbolism is one the fundamental peculiarities of the play Blood Wedding written by Federico Garcia Lorca. The most important and widely used symbols of the play are the following: colors (each color has its own symbolic meaning), a knife, animals (a horse, a dove, a serpent), the Earth, substances (water, and blood). Some symbols used in the play have only one meaning; other ones can be explained in two or several different ways. In most cases, it depends on the context the symbol is used in as, for example, water has two opposite senses. An abundance of symbols was used by the author because of the necessity to make the images and the characters of the play more vivid and to emphasize on the problem of the influence of the society on the personality and his/her actions. The tragedy touches upon the most burning issues of life of its characters, and the symbols used in the play are more than noteworthy in achieving this goal of the author.