A Consideration of La Casa de Bernarda Alba

In AP Spanish literature class, I fell in love with a popular Spanish play, La Casa de
Bernarda Alba, the central theme of which is the authority and importance
of public opinion for the central character, Bernarda Alba. At the beginning of the story, Poncia
(the house maid) and another maid speak ill of her employer because they know that Bernarda
Alba is a cold and authoritarian woman. In addition, it can be seen that Bernarda always sends
“silence” (symbol of her authority) from other people and wants to control all the things that
happen in her town and the lives of her five daughters. In reality, her authority hurts her
daughters, especially Angustias, the thirty-nine-year-old older sister who cannot marry the men
of the town because Bernarda does not believe that there is a man who deserves her. In this case,
Bernarda Alba’s authority interferes with the natural things in life. In this case, marriage.
Similarly, Bernarda Alba takes advantage of mourning to implement her agenda of
controlling her daughters. Mourning serves as a symbol of her power because, during mourning,
Bernarda Alba tells them that, during mourning, her daughters cannot marry, dress whatever she
likes, or leave home during mourning. In reality, Bernarda Alba’s authority makes us see that
Bernarda cares a lot about her honor and appearance in front of the public. In the story, Bernarda
Alba does not want her neighbors to look at her daughters outside the house so that the neighbors
do not speak ill of her daughters. So, it can be concluded that Bernarda Alba cares more that her
daughters remain virgins and have honor that they are happy and content. In addition, it could be
seen that Bernarda Alba wants her maid, Poncia, to tell her all the things that happen in the town
in order to maintain the honor of her family. At the end of the play, Adela, the young rebel who
wants to live a freer life, breaks Bernarda Alba’s cane.

It is very clear that the cane of Bernarda Alba symbolizes the power and authority of Bernarda Alba. In this situation, Bernarda Alba recognizes that her youngest daughter has a clandestine relationship with Pepe el Romano;
Bernarda Alba is very angry that her youngest daughter is with a man. So, as the controlling
mother of the entire town, Bernarda tells her daughter that her love, Pepe el Romano, has been
killed. In reality, these lying words make us see that Bernada will do everything possible to make
her youngest daughter , Aldea, not marry Pepe. Also, when Adela commits suicide, Bernarda
says that her youngest daughter died as a virgin and she says “silence,” a symbol of her authority.
In any case, this dramatic work by Federico Garcia Lorca makes us see Bernarda Alba’s
obsession with authority and the damage that her authority causes to her daughters. Furthemore,
the exploration of this theme allows me to reflect on authority figures in my life and makes me
ask myself, “Can authority figures damage me?” and “Is it wise to confront authority?” All in all,
this well-known Spanish play has gained me an understanding of humanity’s reaction to
authority and public and private opinion