Cuban Theater Digital Archive

La casa de Bernarda Alba

Play script (Spanish)


After the death of her second husband, Bernarda Alba, an unpleasant and dominating woman, imposes a period of mourning on her household that is to last eight years, as has been traditional in her family. Bernarda has five daughters, aged between 20 and 39, whom she has shielded and controlled to an excessive degree and prohibited from any form of relationship. The mourning period further isolates the daughters, and tension mounts within the household. Angustias, the eldest daughter, inherited a large sum of money from the death of her father, Bernarda's first husband, while the other four sisters didn't inherit much of anything from their father, Bernarda's second husband. Angustias' wealth attracts a suitor, the young and attractive Pepe Romano from the village. Passion and jealousy between the daughters increases, as they feel it is unfair that Angustias, the oldest and most sickly of the sisters, should receive both the majority of the money and freedom to marry and leave the constraints of the house. It transpires that Adela, the youngest daughter, has been conducting an illicit affair with Pepe el Romano and she becomes increasingly passionate, refusing to submit to her mother's will and arguing with her sisters, particularly Martirio, who is revealed to be also in love with Pepe. The tension in the story comes to a head as the family confronts one another and Bernarda chases Pepe with a gun. A shot is heard and it is implied to Adela that Pepe has been killed. Adela flees, and we learn that she has committed suicide out of grief, but it is revealed that in fact Pepe had managed to escape with his life. The closing lines of the play show Bernarda characteristically preoccupied with the family's reputation as she calls for it to be made known that Adela died a virgin.

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