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Yerma


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A: Federico García Lorca Pf: 1934, Madrid Pb: 1937 Tr: 1947 G: Trag. in 3 acts, Spanish prose and verse S: Village in Andalusia, Spain, early 20th c. C: 6m, 17f, 1 childYerma is desperate to have a child, but her husband Juan, though he loves her, will not make her pregnant, preferring instead to work hard on the farm. An old neighbour woman tells Yerma that she will never conceive unless she enjoys sex, and for that she needs the right man. Yerma finds herself strongly attracted to a shepherd, but Juan forces her to remain at home and arranges for his sisters to watch over her. Yerma becomes even more estranged from her husband. Juan buys out the shepherd, who takes his leave from Yerma. Despite her yearnings, Yerma's code of honour will not allow her to take him as a lover. At night, she escapes from the house to visit a sorceress. As she prays in the cemetery for a child, Juan arrives, furious at the public humiliation her absence has caused. She begs him to give her a child, but he rejects her. She participates in a fertility rite in the mountains, but, again because of her honour, refuses the possibility of becoming pregnant by another man. Juan, who has been spying on her, reveals that he has never wanted children. In anger and despair, Yerma strangles him, thereby destroying her hope of ever having a child.

A: Federico García Lorca Pf: 1934, Madrid Pb: 1937 Tr: 1947 G: Trag. in 3 acts, Spanish prose and verse S: Village in Andalusia, Spain, early 20th c. C: 6m, 17f, 1 child

This was the second of García Lorca's ‘rural tragedies’, here focusing on the plight of one individual, that of Yerma, whose name means barren. Her desperation to be pregnant is intensified by all the images of fertility of the soil which surround her.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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Federico García Lorca (1898—1936) Spanish poet and dramatist


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