Saturday, March 5, 2011

Death In The Afternoon

             The Plaza de Toros

The first major novelist I felt camaraderie with was Ernest Hemingway. His novel "The Sun Also Rises" was a favorite of mine. I was fascinated by the bullfight. When I was in the navy and made it to Spain, I had to see a bullfight. When the opportunity came, I took it. I rode by bus to a little town named San Lucar where the bullfight was held in the Plaza de Toros. The whole town was out in celebration. It was a carnaval
atmosphere. I was mesmerized by the novelty of it--nothing like I'd ever experienced before. I was impressed with it all.

                        The Bullfight Begins
The bullfight itself was nothing like I expected. I'm not sure what I expected. But what I saw both fascinated and repelled me. First off, the bull doesn't have a chance. It is going to die. Of course, it doesn't know this. It charges out into the bullring and prances around, confused and annoyed. Then the taunting and carnage begins. I suppose there's an art to it. It is a contest, but an unfair one. The matador has all the advantages except size and strength. But intelligence and razor sharp swords will beat brute strength anytime, as long as the matador doesn't get careless.

                                            The Matador Aims for the Kill

But it was fascinating and exciting. The horses, the gala, the roses tossed to the matador after the kill, and the snorting and ferocity of the bulls hooked me. The dance of death reminded me that humans and nature are often at odds. As long as humans are careful, they can subdue nature. But make one mistake, and nature will gore humans to death.

                              The Dead Bull Is Dragged Away


Tanya Reimer said...

I had no idea they KILLED the bull. How do you kill a charging bull? I've been chased by one, and the only way I know of surviving is to run faster! I can run like nobody's business. Trust me.
Not the point of your incredible story, I know, but still, why do they kill it, is there a reason? Do they eat it afterwards or something?

Richard said...

Yes, they kill the bull by stabbing it with swords repeatedly through the shouders as the bull passes by the Matador. I've heard its an ancient ritual from the Middle Ages, and the meat is given to the poor. There were three bulls killed that day in, I believe, 1970.

Richard said...

Hemingway wrote a book about bullfighting called "Death in the Afternoon."

Tanya Reimer said...

Wow. I would have to see that to believe it too. A sword. That does take talent, eh?