Blood Wedding Summary

Federico García Lorca

Blood Wedding

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Blood Wedding Summary

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The tragic play Blood Wedding by Spanish poet and playwright Federico García Lorca tells the story of a family vendetta. Lorca was inspired to write this classic of twentieth-century theater after reading a newspaper story about a horrific crime. A man was murdered for running away with a bride from an enemy family in the farming village of Níjar. The groom’s cousin was guilty of the murder. Fascinated by the investigation, Lorca incorporates many details from it into the play that closely mirrors the real-life people involved.

In act 1, scene 1, we meet a wealthy young man who recently bought a vineyard. The Bridegroom currently lives with his mother. The Mother is overly protective of her son because both her husband and one of her sons were murdered. His intended bride lives on an isolated farm with her father.

A neighbor tarnishes the Bride’s reputation by telling the Bridegroom’s mother that Leonardo Felix, from a rival family, loved the woman when she was younger. The relationship ended a long time ago and Leonardo married the woman’s cousin instead. The Bridegroom’s mother, who only wants her son to be happy, chooses not to share this new information with her son.

In act 1, scene 2 we meet Leonardo Felix. Leonardo’s wife asks him why he was seen riding near the farm of his former love, who is now engaged to the Bridegroom, and why he seems out of sorts. Leonardo has had recent financial worries. He does not appreciate the gossip that the Bridegroom just purchased lavish presents for his Bride.

In act I, scene 3, the Bridegroom and his Mother visit his Bride so that their families can meet for the first time. After the guests leave, a servant tells the apprehensive Bride that Leonardo rode by the house last night and is out there again right now.

The first scene of act 2 opens with the loyal Servant doing the nervous Bride’s hair on the day of her wedding. The reluctant Bride resolves to get married that day because guests are coming. But the Bride believes marriages do not result in happiness. Marriage is the only way women can support themselves.  At the time in Spain, women could not vote, get divorced, get an abortion, or have a job, and adultery was a crime.

Leonardo visits The Bride before the other wedding guests arrive. He does not think the Bridegroom will be a good husband. Leonardo resents that he was forced to marry the Bride’s cousin when the Bride was his true love. The Bride orders Leonardo to leave, but as soon as he is gone, realizes that she still has feelings for him. As they prepare to go the church, the Bridegroom also has his doubts about the wedding when he notices his Bride is acting very distant.

In act 2, scene 2, the presence of Leonardo Felix makes the Bridegroom’s Mother extremely uneasy and fearful that something bad will happen during the wedding reception at the Bride’s house. Her fears come true. After pretending to have a headache, the Bride and Leonardo sneak away on horses. Some wedding guests chase after them.

Act 3, scene 1 opens with three woodcutters in a forest. The men say that Leonardo and the runaway Bride will no longer be able to hide once the moon comes out from behind the clouds. They fear that the Bridegroom will be no match for Leonardo and will get himself killed if he finds the couple. While a Beggar Woman directs the Bridegroom to the couple, the Bride begs Leonardo to help her commit suicide or to leave. Leonardo refuses, and they pledge their love to each other.

In the final scene, two girls are weaving in a white room unaware of the news about the wedding. A Beggar Woman tells the girls that both the Bridegroom and Leonardo were found dead, stabbed, with the blood covered Bride nearby. The Bridegroom’s mother and a neighbor enter the room followed by the Bride, whom the mother attacks. The Mother blames the Bride for her son’s death. The Bride gives a long explanation that she wishes she could die and that she was not attracted to Leonardo. Surprisingly, the Bridegroom’s Mother is understanding. We learn that both men were stabbed by the same knife.

Spanish poet, playwright, and theater director Federico García Lorca (June 5, 1898- August 19, 1936) made a large impact on Spanish poetry and helped start a second Golden Age of Spanish theater during his 19-year career. He is best known for his poetry but was also a popular playwright in his day. At the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, Nationalist forces executed him. His body has never been found.