House Of Bernarda Alba
The non-verbal elements of a play are crucial in setting the mood and tone of
the production. These features subtly provide the audience with important
information about the setting of the play and gives insight into the backgrounds
and personalities of the characters. The House of Bernarda Alba by Frederica

Garcнa Lorca is full of vivid nonverbal elements that are essential in
portraying exactly what life was like within this household. Colour is very
important in The House of Bernarda Alba. The walls of the house are all painted
white. This is characteristic of homes in Spain, since white reflects the
scorching sun. There is, however, a deeper meaning than the simple practicality
of white in the play. White is symbolic of purity and cleanliness along with
lifelessness, pallor and emptiness. All of these features are descriptive of the
life the daughters of Bernarda are forced to lead. In fact, the family name Alba
means white. This colour is shown to be in sharp contrast to the black dress of
the women in mourning as they enter the stage. The white of the walls serves to
exaggerate the black of their dresses. Black is indeed the colour of death and
may not only indicate the death that has occurred but also allude to the death
that is to come. By all wearing the same lifeless colour the women also lose
their individuality. This is very important in this work since Bernarda does not
want her girls to be noticed and refuses to let them show their true colours.

They appear as nuns, not as eligible young women. It is also interesting to note
that black is the colour representative of the fascist regime of the time. Not
only was fascism the political situation but it was also alive and well in

Bernarda’s home, with her as the ultimate dictator. Her cane is also symbolic
of her role as the ruler of the home. The colour in the play makes a dramatic
twist when Adela removes her black clothes of mourning and opts to wear her
green birthday dress into the yard to feed the chickens. Green is often regarded
as being a symbol of Earth, youth and fertility. The green of the dress really
is a symbol for Adela herself. Adela wants nothing more than to be free from her
mother’s rule and to live the rest of her young life as she wishes. She is
full of the vigor of youth and is of the perfect age to marry and begin her own
family. These features pour from the young woman as she wears this dress while
exclaiming to the chickens "look at me!" The vibrant green colour is a very
sharp contrast to black signifying how she cares not for the restrictions
imposed on her by her mother. The decorations of the room in which much of the
action takes place are very important. The arched doorways are described as
having jute curtains tied back with tassels and ruffles. The harsh jute fabric
is symbolic of the male presence in the home residing within the ruling hand of

Bernarda. The tassels and ruffles however show the distinct femininity that is
also present and is begging to be noticed. On the walls there are pictures of
nymphs and legendary kings. These are seemingly out of place in such
surroundings. They do, however, depict imaginary places, a dreamland of sorts.

The daughters of Bernarda can easily identify with these pictures since all they
have is their unfulfilled dreams. They also serve to concrete the image of
innocence within the play. The kings serve as an image of the golden age of
control with one high and mighty ruler. Bernarda is indeed the "King" of her
castle and these pictures are representative of this. Nymphs are often
characterized as being scantily clad and very sexual in nature. Therefore, the
nymphs presented to us here are representational of the sexual energy present in
the women of the home. Their attire also displays a sharp contrast to the black,
conservative dress of the characters. The sexual tension in the play is very
apparent and is manifested by the stallion locked up in his stall. He pounds on
the wall of the house as he tries to break out. In a way, Bernarda’s daughters
are doing the same thing, pounding on the walls of their home, their prison,
trying to escape. They also keep all of their sexual desires pent up just like
the stallion in his stall. The stallion