Yerma is my favourite Federico García Lorca play. Yerma (meaning barren) is the protagonist of the tragedy. Throughout the play we see how her attempts to fulfil her role as a woman isolate her from society.
In the play Lorca tackles many problems in Spanish society. He brings to light problems of sterility and fertility and proves how they can lead people to become outcasts. He uses symbolism as well as the sounds and colours of Andalucia as aids to tell the story and bring the play alive.
Yerma marries her husband Juan whom she doesn’t love. However she feels she must wed him in order to becoming closer to fulfilling her role as a woman. She is extremely happy to get married as this means she will soon bear children.
Two years pass and she still isn’t pregnant. Slowly Yerma becomes more and more obsessed with the idea of having a child whilst Juan spends more and more time working out in the fields. She becomes consumed with this obsession of having a child. She even visits the town witch to see if she can help. Her actions spark off a series of rumours about her which Juan hears about.
Juan disapproves of her wandering and so sends for his two unmarried sisters to guard her. The sisters are two very serious and stern women who only cook and clean. With them doing all the housework Yerma is left with little to nothing to do. As a prisoner in her own home she is forced to make up excuses to escape the house.
Soon her need for a child consumes her and pushes her away from Juan, her only chance of having a child. Juan wants her to love him for what he is and not because he could give her a child. Yerma is not capable of loving him for whom he is as she is in love with someone else yet she remains faithful to him
As the play progresses she starts to realise that maybe it is not her who is sterile. Everyone believes that she is sterile and as a sterile woman she is therefore useless.
The play ends with her strangling her husband and her final words are, “Yo misma he matado a mi hijo!” (I myself have killed my child). In killing her husband she destroys any chances she may have had to have a child and is now destined to be barren for the rest of her life.