Symbolism of Colors in Blood Wedding Essay

“ Color a crucial element has been influencing literature from ages. ” It is also an essential part of life without which life would be dull and gloomy. Color also plays an important role in the play Blood Wedding written by Federico Garcia Lorca. The role of color in this play identifies the mood of the play to help the reader and the audience to understand the play better and fathom the aspect to what the playwright has to contemplate, as the color may depict the various components that have been portrayed in the drama.

There are many incidents that provide an approval to the allegory of the color. In the play Blood Wedding the color yellow is mentioned from the very beginning of the Act 1 Scene 1, ‘The room is painted yellow’. It is said that the room in which the play is taking place is painted yellow; a color that symbolizes happiness and joy is ironically used because the scene depicts the sorrow of the bridegroom’s mother and the loss of her husband and her first son.

She is so shocked by their death that she cannot get them out of her head; thus she takes care of the bridegroom, as he is the only son and family member left. Then comes the neighbor wearing a dark dress. [1] A dark color is usually associated with sorrow or any grievance and the playwright has correctly put it as the neighbor laments about her son being cut by a machine and losing both arms and by doing this the neighbor promotes the plot because the machine that the neighbor mentions reminds the mother of knife and pistol which could be the means by which they were killed.

Thus the melancholy and nostalgia of their lost ones truly contradicts the color of the room. The color pink, a very lively color symbolizing love, tenderness and care is the color of the room[2] in which Leonardo’s mother-in-law and his wife are rocking the child to sleep by singing a lullaby but paradoxically, the lullaby that they were singing were melancholic and usually not sung to a child. Thus playwright uses pink in the same way he used yellow to contrast the mood of the play to the symbolized meaning of the color.

The playwright uses color to make the audience understand and interpret the mood and atmosphere of the scenes and it is a type of foreshadowing, a very strong literary device used to make the audience predict the mood and the atmosphere but there are some colors which the playwright has just mentioned without any hidden meaning in them. The silver dagger mentioned in the play is important because it’s mentioned most of the time whenever there is music.

Silver mostly symbolizes purity and in the poem the silver dagger resembles the pure anger and frustration Leonardo has on the bridegroom. The reason of anger being the wedding of the bridegroom and the bride who once was his wife and Leonardo was still infatuated by her but silver every time mentioned in the play does not relate to purity as the mention of silver flies[3] is just used by the playwright for visual imagery.

The colors pink, white and blue [4]each representing love, purity and spirituality composes the audience because they would naturally understand that the scene that is going to take place will have a mood of happiness and it actually has the mood of happiness as the mother of the bridegroom has come to see the bride and they eventually fix the date of the wedding. Here too the playwright has used foreshadowing with the help of colors because the bridegroom and his mother have come to the bride’s house wearing black and the color black usually reflects sorrow or sadness and that is exactly what the bride gets in the end of the play.

The mention of the orange blossoms in the maids dialogue ‘I am going to set the orange blossoms from here to here, so they form a crown on your hair’[5] is important because orange is a color of happiness which the maid tries to put it on her head but she looked down dejectedly and threw it away giving an impression to the audience that she is not happy with the wedding which is contrasting to the mood of the color orange.

The bride once again wears the orange blossoms during the day of her wedding; she does so only for pretense and to make everyone believe that she is happy and satisfied with the wedding but within her there was a storm brewing as she still liked Leonardo and was in a state of dilemma. The storm within her is mirrored by the dress she wears which was a turn of the century black dress.

On the contrary, the bridegroom comes into the play wearing a golden dress, gold a color so strong and rich it resembles wealth and status of the bridegroom and also the joy because of the wedding. The color yellow is also compared to wheat field, as the wheat field seems yellow before harvesting and this yellow field can be epitomized as the foundation of life as the breads are made of wheat and it is the basic necessity of life but in the play Blood Wedding the yellow wheat ironically is concomitant to death of the mothers husband and her eldest son antecedent to the play.

The play also links the color yellow to pusillanimity and cowardice because the Felix family who murdered the mothers spouse and her eldest son were in prison where according to the mother was a place where ‘people eat, smoke there, they play their music there’ and the murderers in the prison are ‘alive and well and gazing at the mountains’ (take from page no. Act 1 Scene 1) the recent deaths that took place was also considered cowardly because Leonardo had a knife with which he stabbed the bridegroom it is considered cowardly action because by stabbing by a knife there are very few chance of retaliation and thus the assailant could be safe but the opposite happens and both died in the fight as it was an ironic tragedy. ‘ So on a fated day, between two and three o’ clock, / with this knife/ two men are left dead, / with their lips turning yellow. ’

One of the other most important colors mentioned in the play Blood Wedding is the color RED. It is a color linked with two ironical ideas that is love and blood. The title of the play Blood Wedding too is ironic as there are two different ideas and both related to the color Red. From the beginning the motif of the play had been death and blood which has the color red in it while the wedding an auspicious day of ones life filled with love and care and all holy things also has the color red in it as the color of our heart is red and heart is the place from where everyone loves.

Thus the play comprehending many ironies and one of them being color red has an important motif behind it. The motif is that of a person giving his life for love. In the play Leonardo and the bridegroom both fought with each other shedding blood and taking each other’s life for the same girl. So the color red within itself containing two different ideas assimilates into one idea and that is of Danger as red is the only color used for the Danger signs.

The idea of color red associated with danger over here is because “Love Kills” and both love as well as kill have the color red in it and both of them when combined causes danger. Thus the significance and the symbolism of all the colors in the play are very important to understand the play. The playwright has very appropriately added some colors to enhance the effect to enable the audience to understand and entertain them to augment their visual imagery by the use of colors in the play.