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Qwiz5 Quizbowl Essentials – Federico García Lorca

Spanish poet and playwright Federico García Lorca was one of the most influential writers of Spanish history. Seamlessly combining elements of Andalusian folk traditions with Modernist themes, García Lorca singlehandedly ushered in a brief golden age of Spanish arts. However, not all Spaniards were enamored of García Lorca’s work. García Lorca was arrested in 1936 by Nationalist forces at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. Opposing García Lorca’s politics and condemning his homosexuality, the Nationalists executed him in August 1936. Despite this tragic end, García Lorca’s legacy has lived on, and he is still praised today for his pioneering art.

By analyzing questions, you can see patterns emerge, patterns that will help you answer questions. Qwiz5 is all about those patterns. In each installment of Qwiz5, we take an answer line and look at its five most common clues. Here we explore five clues that will help you answer a tossup on García Lorca


One of García Lorca’s most famous poems is his “Lament for the Death of a Bullfighter,” written in 1935 in memory of the matador Ignacio Sánchez Mejías. The poem is divided into four parts: The Goring and Death, Blood Spilt, The Body Lying Prone, and Absent Soul. Each section has a unique meter and draws from a variety of poetic traditions. García Lorca makes extensive use of repetition in the poem, punctuating almost every line of “The Goring and Death” with the refrain “At five in the afternoon.” “Blood Spilt” echoes the phrase “I don’t want to see it,” and “Absent Soul” hauntingly repeats the phrase “because you have died forever.”


García Lorca’s tragedy Blood Wedding premiered in 1933 and is considered the first work of his Rural Trilogy. The play centers on an illicit love affair between Leonardo and a woman known only as The Bride. The Bride is betrothed to another man, The Groom, who is engaged in a bitter feud with Leonardo’s family. The play is rife with classical allusions, including a trio of woodcutters who function like a Greek chorus. Blood Wedding is also richly symbolic, with characters playing the part of The Moon and Death. THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA

The last play García Lorca completed before his death, The House of Bernarda Alba is a tragedy concerning the matriarch Bernarda Alba and her daughters. Bernarda controls every aspect of her daughters’ lives and forces them to mourn for eight years when her husband dies. No men appear on stage, but Bernarda’s daughters Angustias, Adela, and Martirio all have feelings for a local villager named Pepe el Romano. Adela, the most free-spirited of the daughters, dons a green dress in defiance of her mother’s directives and engages in an unseen affair with Pepe. Unfortunately, no one ends up with the attractive suitor.


Garcia Lorca’s tragic Yerma details the plight of a woman—the titular Yerma—who is consumed with an unfulfilled longing for children. Her husband, Juan, works in the olive groves and has no apparent interest in a child. Yerma is drawn to Víctor and seeks out the help of a local woman named Dolores who can allegedly bestow fertility on women. Throughout the play the villagers comment on Yerma’s childless status, with some blaming her for it and others sympathetic towards her plight.


One of García Lorca’s first major works was the 1928 verse collection Gypsy Ballads. The poems in Gypsy Ballads combine Modernist poetic techniques with traditional Andalusian ballads. The subject matter in the collection varies between objects as diverse as the moon, death, and crime.


Quizbowl is about learning, not rote memorization, so we encourage you to use this as a springboard for further reading rather than as an endpoint. Here are a few things to check out:

  • The musicality of Lorca’s work has inspired other artists. Take a listen!


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