The Character of Leonardo Felix In Blood Wedding
In this essay, I will be focussing on the characters of Leonardo and Bazarov, in their respective texts, and how they act as catalysts in changing family structure, so that by the end of the text, the family unit is different from what it was in the beginning. I will also analyse their characters and examine their impact on the plots of the two texts, and their role in plot development. In particular, I will analyse the character’s words, and the tone of voice in which they speak; this will help in analysing their specific character traits.
This analysis will help me in understanding their impact on character and plot development, which leads to them acting as catalysts in changing their respective family structures. It should be noted that while the text Fathers and Sons features many families that are important to the plot, I will be specifically looking at Bazarov’s impact on Arcady’s family; as well as the impact on his own family. In the text Blood Wedding, I will be looking at Leonardo’s impact on his family and on the Bridegroom’s family.
In the text Fathers and Sons, when Nicholas is waiting for Arcady, we see him as a very happy person as he eagerly anticipates the arrival of his son. However, when Arcady introduces Bazarov, we notice a change in Nicholas’s character. He appears to be withdrawn, and he does not converse as openly with Arcady as he would normally. There is one incident when Bazarov offers Arcady a cigar, Arcady accepts it and when he lights it, Nicholas turns his head away. This foreshadows that the introduction of Bazarov, to the Kisranov family, will cause a gap between Nicholas and Arcady.
Similarly in the text Blood Wedding, the text opens with a conversation between Mother and Bridegroom. The conversation leads to the topic of knives that involves the Felix family of which Leonardo is a member. The topic of knives foreshadows the violence and bloodshed that is to arise. The mention of the name Leonardo Felix leads to a small dispute between the Mother and the Bridegroom. Though the dispute is small, it hints of the trouble that Leonardo is likely to cause.
In the text Fathers and Sons, when Bazarov has left with Arcady to go freshen up, Paul talks to Nicholas about Bazarov. We get the impression that Paul does not like Bazarov very much. Even though it may not be Bazarov’s fault directly, we can see that his presence causes some tension in the family; it causes some change in Paul’s mood. As we can see from the following quotation, Paul does not focus on welcoming Arcady, but he focuses on criticizing Bazarov.
“Is he staying with us?”… “That hairy creature?” “
The use of the words “Hairy creature” are spoken with a tone of contempt thus creating an overall sense of tension and hostility.
In the text Blood Wedding tone is also important for example when the Neighbour and Mother are talking, the Mother finds out that the Bride had a relationship with Leonardo. At the mention of the name Felix, the mother flares up in anger. It’s not Leonardo’s fault that he is a Felix but the fact that he is a Felix causes great anger in the Mother and a drastic change in her mood. The mother does not ‘welcome’ the marriage with complete love and affection, but instead with hostility and animosity.
In the text Blood Wedding there is a section where Leonardo, Wife and Mother-in-law are having a conversation. In this particular conversation the girl comes in and tells them what the Bridegroom is buying for the Bride. Leonardo is very rude and unpleasant.
“What do we care”
“Did I ask for your opinion?
“Leave me alone”
“Why can’t you just shut up?”
These are four of his lines in that particular scene. As we can see his words are very harsh, and he employs a very defensive tone, by the use of questions. He ignores his wife’s pleas and just storms out of the house without a word to where he is going. It seems that Leonardo does not really care about his family at all. This indicates that Leonardo’s family is breaking down; we can see abrasive feelings between Leonardo and mother-in-law.
However, change is not always negative. In the text Fathers and Sons, Bazarov changes Arcady’s family structure in a positive way. Bazarov persuades Arcady to accept an invitation meant for Nicholas. Arcady accepted and he went with Bazarov into town. While the two were having lunch at Eudoxia Kukshin’s residence, she mentioned a name; Madame Odintzov. Bazarov was interested in Madame Odintzov, as she was described as very attractive; and Sitnikov said that he would introduce Bazarov and Arcady to Madame Odintzov. It is at Madame Odintzov’s abode where Arcady met Katya, whom he ends up marrying.
“…it was noticeable that Nicholas Petrovich had already become devotedly attached to her.”
We can see that Katya has ‘fitted-in’ with the Petrovich family. So we can therefore say that Bazarov is indirectly responsible for Arcady’s marriage to Katya, hence changing Arcady’s family.
In the text Blood Wedding; after the bride and bridegroom have left for the wedding, only Leonardo and his wife remain. They have a conversation that shows distance between Leonardo his wife. Wife wants to go to the church by cart and Leonardo wants to go by horse. They have a short argument that is clearly symbolic of the unhappy, troubled marriage between the two of them.
“WIFE: And I have no intention of going to a wedding without my husband. I can’t take much more of this.
LEORNADO: That makes two of us.
WIFE: Why do you look at me like that? As though you had a dagger in each eye.”
The wife says that she can’t take much more of this, this signifying the marriage. Why can’t she take more of her marriage? It is because of Leonardo. He has not been shown to be a very attentive husband, as depicted by his choice of words. The wife can’t take much more of the marriage and Leonardo replies by saying that he feels the same. We would expect the husband in a marriage to counter the wife when she feels this way, however Leonardo just agrees with his wife. The fact that he can’t take much more of the marriage shows that he wants to break free of the bonds of marriage. This is an implication of things to come later on in the text.
Leonardo is implying that he wants a divorce or another wife, and by doing so he is proceeding to change his family structure. The metaphor used by the Wife (dagger in each eye) goes only to emphasise the distance and hostility felt by Wife from Leonardo as well as foreshadowing the violent conclusion of the play. Leonardo is still in love with Bride, and the wife is all that stands between him and the Bride. Thus he looks at the Wife in such a way that she might leave him alone. At the end of the text, Leonardo does achieve what he wanted; freedom to do as he pleases without worrying about the rules of society. However, this freedom came at a great price to Leonardo – his life. And it is through his death that he changed his family structure.
Similarly in the text Fathers and Sons, Bazarov’s death inadvertently changes his own family structure. After his first visit home, he leaves too soon; we see this has an impact on his parents, they are saddened and depressed. Bazarov’s death finished the change; he was the centre of their life and now he is gone; it is no longer a family, just a husband and wife. His parents as shown when Arcady and Bazarov first visit Bazarov’s home were once very lively and full of energy, and very excited and joyful. However, after his death (towards the end of the last paragraph of the text), we see Bazarov’s parents as being very quiet and withdrawn. They no longer have that motivation (their son) to live. All they want to do is linger by his grave reminiscing over the memories they have of him as is shown by the quote:
“…unable to tear themselves away from this spot where they feel themselves so close to their son and their memories of him…”
The use of hyperbole goes to show the extreme love that Bazarov’s parents had for him and the extent to which their lives have changed now that he is gone.
So in conclusion, we see that Leonardo and Bazarov do act as catalysts in changing family structure in their respective texts. Although they cannot strictly be called catalysts because they do not remain unchanged; their presence in the respective texts does have an impact on the characters, as well as the plot.