The structure of ‘Blood Wedding’
The structure of ‘Blood Wedding’ has a great influence on its continuous effect and final impact. Lorca carefully plans the events of the play in order to create a final dramatic climax. The play is split into three acts and the action is divided into each act. The opening act is a basic introduction to each of the characters, complexly explaining to the audience their given circumstances. In the first scene the audience have a lot of literal information to absorb, therefore the use of symbols is kept to a minimum until the characters can be easily identified. In Greek tragedy this would be refereed to as the prologue.
Following the light introduction, Act 2 mainly revolves around the Bride and the wedding and introduces the complications that arise. In the fist scene it is the wedding day and Leonardo tries to persuade the Bride not to marry, as to him it appears obvious that she does not really want to. However, the Bride forces herself to do so “And I’ll shut myself away with my husband, and I’ll love him above everything. ” (pg26). Soon after their marriage, in Act 2 Scene 2, the Bride leaves the wedding ceremony and her new husband claiming that she has a headache and needs to lie down.
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However it is discovered by the Brides father that she has eloped with Leonardo. Act 3 is perhaps the most dramatic and eventful act; in the first scene the major concentration is around the action rather than the characters themselves. The Bride and Leonardo have escaped to the forest, only to by found by the Bridegroom. The scene is full of different characters entering and exiting the stage adding to the frantic atmosphere. Two screams are heard, Leonardo and the Bridegroom are dead. This scene appears to be the pinnacle of the events and the story.
In great distinction the first scene, the second supports a completely different atmosphere. Instead of concentration on the action, it has been moved onto a very symbolic, calm scene; however the extent of dramatic tension has not been reduced. In holing with the idea of the climax occurring within the closing act, scene two focuses on the representation of symbols and the concealed importance of unspoken personal feelings within the play. The closing scene shows the grief of the Mother and Wife. The Bride attempts to justify her actions and uncontrollable passion for Leonardo but the Mother is remorseless.
The play closes with the Mother and Wife grieving over their deceased loved ones. Tragedy has shaped the entire structure of Lorca’s play greatly adding to ‘Blood Weddings’ expressionistic approach. The structure of ‘Blood Wedding’ is largely a component of the genre, tragedy. Holding so many different forms within it, tragedy was seen by the philosopher Aristotle to explore and illuminate, at the most uncompromising level, human suffering. Being a tragedy itself ‘Blood Wedding’ consists of many forms which appear to give the play a base to be developed from.
According to Aristotle within every tragedy there is a protagonist, the principle character, in ‘Blood Wedding’ we see that this is Leonardo; the protagonist is often opposed by the antagonist, the Bridegroom. An additional trait to the protagonist, Leonardo, is that they have a ‘tragic flaw’ that adds a moral defect to the character. In Leonardo’s case this would be the uncontrollable passion that he feels towards the Bride “And when I saw you from far away I threw sand in my eyes. But I’d get on the horse and the horse would go to your door. (pg52)
This shows that despite Leonardo’s efforts to disregard his love for the Bride it was irrepressible, when he recognises his moral flaw, it is called anagnorisis. The catharsis, seen by Aristotle, is the ‘cleansing’ of terror and pity. This is largely seen during act three, during the first scene the play, is at the climax of the terror and in the second scene all the secrets and lies followed throughout the play have been confronted and pity for the characters is felt “There is nothing else. Over your bed place a cross of ash where his pillow once was. ” (pg57).
As well as using archetypal characters in ‘Blood Wedding’ Lorca used abnormal, symbolic influences in order to resolve the plot and the problems of the characters. The chorus feature throughout and are an ensemble of characters representing the general public of the play. Within ‘Blood Wedding’ the chorus feature throughout almost narrating on the proceeding events, the chorus appear in many different forms like the Woodcutters, Servant, Neighbours and Little Girls. All of these characters serve the same purpose of the chorus, 1st Youth “Let the Bride awaken to welcome her wedding guests. (pg28) This shows a narrative tone explaining to the audience what is happening. Rising action comes just before the climax of the play that is the inciting action. It is the increasing conflict is a single action initiating a major conflict in the play that builds up to the inciting action.
Inciting action is undoubtedly, in ‘Blood Wedding’ the action of Leonardo and the Bride running away after the wedding “They’ve run away! They’ve run away! Her and Leonardo. On horseback! Arms around one another! Like a flash of lightening! (pg42) At the same point as the inciting action peripeteia takes place, it is the point when a reversal of the protagonist fortunes takes place. Leonardo is risking everything to be with the Bride, he has left his wife and baby and run away with another mans wife, ultimately he has rapidly lost everything. Pathos refers to the depths of despair emotion evoked by tragedy, the closing of the play is most likely the pathos in ‘Blood Wedding’ it shows three women who have just lost an important person in their lives and are now grieving.
The Bride until that time had everything she wanted but she has now lost it all, an element of sympathy arises “Your son was my ambition and I haven’t deceived him, but the other one’s arm dragged me like a wave from the sea… and would have always dragged me, always. ” (pg60) The audience can have compassion for the Bride, realising that the fate of herself and the two men was uncontrollable because of the passion, pathos, felt by them. In Greek tragedies this resolution was called Dues ex machina; the Moon is a clear example of this during act three.
Lorca emphasises its importance, filling the stage with a blue light when it is present. “But let them die slowly. We mustn’t let them get beyond the stream. ” The epilogue, concluding scene, comes at the end of Act three, Scene two when the Bride appears to be looking back on her previous actions and ultimately how they have effected the situation that has now come about, the deaths of Leonardo and the Bridegroom “Because I went off with the other one! ” (pg60) The order in which these forms occur creates the whole structure of the play; it gives a basis for the characters and the plays events which together make a tragedy.
Another genre present in ‘Blood Wedding’ is expressionism; it does not replicate characters, era, feelings or relationships precisely but portrays them in a way that expresses the personal feelings of the artist. Expressionism almost acts as the inner voice of the artist, conveying their own thoughts on society, traditions and people. An expressionistic play consists of many qualities; it is centred around a message that is being conveyed to the audience.
In ‘Blood Wedding’ the main message seems to be the inevitability of life and the fact that fate is uncontrollable, as is the fate of Leonardo and the Bride as their passion seems to have been irrepressible. The central character, Leonardo, sacrifices the emotions of other characters, disregarding social attitudes. Another trait of an expressionistic play is that it is infused with a sense of surreal or frightening fantasies; this is shown through many of the characters that are in the woods, like the Moon or the Beggar Woman.
Expressionism is not illogical or meaningless, it conveys deep emotion and personal prejudices of the writer. Despite Lorca’s strongly expressionistic approach throughout ‘Blood Wedding’ many of the characters within it are powerfully naturalistic for example the Mother-In-Law, her character is the typical interfering and worrying mother. We see this in Act one, Scene two when she and the Wife sing a lullaby to the baby, within it the Mother-In-Law is the voice of truth, she knows what is really happening and she is the one who question Leonardo concerning his whereabouts.
Lorca did not give his characters individual qualities as such, only archetypes, in ‘Blood Wedding’ there was no use of names or personality traits. He used archetypes to help the audience to carefully delineate a particular character and their role within the play. Archetypes can help to aid character identification, connecting their lives with social, emotional or physical qualities which could be collectively linked to a particular culture. Rather than being an exaggerated or stereotypical portrayal of a role, archetypes are more an essence of how a particular character would typically operate.
In ‘Blood Wedding’ a recognised archetype would be Leonardo, as the lover, who is prepared to be killed for his love or the Mother, who worries a lot and doesn’t want to let her son out of sight. In Lorca’s judgment, duende “is a power and not a behaviour, it is a struggle and not a concept. ” It is a power that no one can explain, but everyone recognises. In Spanish, duende translates literally as “ghost” or “goblin” and means ‘the power to attract through personal magnetism and charm.
This definition of duende could be greatly significant to the occurrences within ‘Blood Wedding’ Leonardo and the Bride have an uncontrollable passion for each other. The duende present in the play, it could be suggested, is inside the Bride and Leonardo as it is a spirit of risk and death which possesses them. Lorca felt death to be a very significant part of life, something that is to be expected and necessary. It seems that as a result of their love for the Bride, it is inevitable and necessary that Leonardo and the Bridegroom must die.