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How does The House of Bernarda Alba represent Spain?

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1219 words Published: 8th May 2017

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The play "The House of Bernarda Alba" gives an interesting portrayal of a middle class home consisting entirely of women. The plot is set in a small town, in a society dominated by men. It is believed to be set somewhere in Spain in the 1930s. The play was written in a time when the suppression of woman was still strong. The mother, the head of the household, does everything she believes is necessary to keep her house within a good social standard in the town. The mother had become the master of the house after her husband died, which makes her work harder to keep a good reputation for her house of women. As studied Bernarda acts as the dictatorship in Spain and how Bernarda looses all her money and power represents the crisis that Spain had in the Spanish revolution. Looking deeper into the story you might find two sides to the dilemmas that cover the house. There are protagonists, main characters in a story, and antagonists, characters that act as adversaries or opponents to the principle characters. In this play one of the maids, Poncia, is forced to be in the middle of much of the drama consuming this house. She, Poncia, can be looked at as both a protagonist and an antagonist.

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The house of Bernarda Alba, forms a play expressing what Federico Garcia Lorca saw as the tragic life of Spanish women. Adapted for the stage by David Hare, who has been writing for the national theatre since 1975, this story is set in rural Spain at the turn of this century. The characters, all women, exist in a claustrophobic household managed by a newly widowed mother of five daughters. The main character tyrannises her daughters by enforcing an eight-year mourning period so as to protect the reputation of the family. As the story progresses we find out that the only way out that they have is to marry, if they can find someone who Bernarda sees as worthy. When the eldest daughter is engaged to be married to the most attractive man for nearby, Pepe el Romano, tensions flare up among the sisters as each of them unleashes their feelings.

The play “The House of Bernarda Abla” has a representation of how was Spain in those days. It can be analyzed that between 1898 to 1936 Spain had a terrible crisis on hand. Spain had a dictatorship led by Francisco Franco. Francisco Franco was the dictator of Spain from 1939 to 1975, including the time of WW2. Perhaps he was better known as "El Caudillo, translated into English as “The Leader”. He was born and raised in Spain. He was a very brilliant military general who led Nationalist rebels in defeating the Spanish government during the Spanish Civil War. Although he was viewed as a Fascist Dictator, he strongly opposed communism. He was an extremely important figure in the course of world history. Due to the Spanish civil war, Spain went from being one of the richest and most powerful countries in Europe to being one of the poorest countries.

It can be analyzed in the play “The House of Bernarda Alba” what happened to Spain in the civil war, happens to Bernarda Alba in the play, being the house of Bernarda Alba Spain. For Federico Garcia Lorca this was a way to show the reality of Spain situation without being question for his different ideas against the government. In “The House of Bernarda Alba” the family of Bernarda Alba experiences the same situation that happens in Spain. The family had a lot of power due to the fact that Bernarda Alba had a lot of money. But then they become poor and they lose all the power they had. It can be analyzed how four of the daughters do not have the freedom to pick who they want to marry due to the protection of Bernarda. It can be studied that this power and protection of Bernarda in the house represents the Francoist of Spain at that time. The protection and the dictatorship that Bernarda imposes on her daughters, demonstrates the power that Spain had with the dictatorship at that time. Bernarda Alba doesn't allow the daughters to have relationships with other men and these daughters can not chose who they want to marry. Another symbol that represents the power that Bernarda Alba has over the house is her walking stick. Another representation of the dictatorship and the power is at the end of the play where Bernarda Alba demands it be known that Adela died a virgin because Bernarda wants to protect the family reputation.

Before the dictatorship and the Spanish revolution, Spain was one of the most powerful and richest countries in Europe at the time. The way that the Bernarda Alba is very powerful and very rich at first but then Bernarda loses all the power and money she had due to the fact that her husband died and gave all the money to her oldest daughter. In “The House of Bernarda Alba” the corruption of power can be analyzed through the needs of economic help of Pepe el Romano. This can been seen by the passionate Pepe el Romano had for Adela, but is obliged by economic needs to court Angustias instead. "If he were coming because of Angustias' looks, for Angustias as a woman, I'd be glad too," Magdalena comments, "but he's coming for her money”. It can be studied with this quote that Pepe el Romano is only looking for the money because Angustias is not the most beautiful daughter but Angustias does have the most money out of the five sisters. The needs for passion are gone due to the fact that the desire for economic aid is a much greater need. This desire for money than beauty shows how Spain needed economic help rather than having beauty due to the Spanish revolution.

As it was mentioned before the play “The House of Bernarda Alba” represents the historical event that Spain was going through in those years. Where Spain went from being one of the richiest and powerful countries in Europe, but due to the dictatorship Spain lost all the power and went into an economic crisis. Federico Gracia Lorca represented this crisis through Bernarda Alba, as how Bernarda Alba shows power in the house by protecting the daughters from having freedom and picking who they want to marry. This shows the dictatorship, how the people had no freedom due to the dictatorship. Bernarda Alba had lots of money and power due to her first husband but because he died Bernarda lost everything and her old daughter, Angustias, inherited her husband`s money. This hides the reality of the economic issues that Spain was going through at that time. Federico Gracia Lorca hide the reality of Spain through “The house of Bernarda Alba “ due to the different ideologies that Lorca had compared to the ideologies that Francisco Franco had with Spain.


Book: Federico García Lorca.Michael Dewell (Translator), Carmen Zapata (Translator). Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st ed edition (September 1, 1993)

Internet: The House of Bernarda Alba (play)

Author: Wikipedia contributors

Publisher: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

Date of last revision: 7 March 2008 03:22 UTC

Date retrieved: 7 March 2008 18:46 UTC

Permanent link: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_House_of_Bernarda_Alba_%28play%29&oldid=196453158


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