To What Extent Is Lorca’s Use of Symbolism and Imagery in the House of Bernarda Alba Central to the Unfolding of His Tragic Tale?

1420 Words Sep 12th, 2011 6 Pages
To what extent is Lorca’s use of symbolism and imagery in The House of Bernarda Alba central to the unfolding of his tragic tale?
When Federico Garcia Lorca talked about his new play, The House of Bernarda Alba, he said that it was pure realism and did not have a drop of poetry in it, however if you look closely you can see expressionism elements. The tragedy of the play has been emphasised by symbolism and imagery to help the unfolding of his tragic tale by presenting the fears, the fact that “They’ve been robbed of the capacity of hope” and tensions of all the characters; showing the bleak ending for the girls.

Lorca has used the symbol of heat in The House of Bernarda Alba to show the utter desperation for passion and male attention:
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This symbolism is rather tragic in a way as everyone knows that white does not stay clean forever. The colour white also emphasises the colour black which the family are forced to wear by Bernarda: “keep your mourning clothes on your backs”. The symbolic use of black reminds the audience of just how long Bernarda’s daughters will have to endure the mourning of Antonio Maria Benavides and how much it will affect them. On the other hand the traditional colour the black stand for is death, and there is an abundance of that in this play. At the end of Act Two there is a women who has had a bastard baby and Bernarda reacts in a horrible was “Let any woman who drags her honour in the dirt pay the price”. This could foreshadow what is going to happen to Adela as she has dragged “her honour in the dirt”. Also there is a question at weather she is pregnant: “clutching herself”. This could show that Adela is pregnant and that she sympathises with the women who is being tortured.

In a way Bernarda is sentencing these girls to life of solitude and unhappiness and Adela also selfishly prolongs this by killing herself. The lack of colour and of personal opinions in this house hold almost represents a type asylum, or as is suggested “They appear as nuns, not as eligible young women”. This lack of colour makes Adela’s lover for colour stand out even more.

When Adela presents
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