Hiding Red With Red
The dangling cape is for the bull but its shade of deadly red is for the audience.
Bulls charge the cape, not because of its red colour but its movement as the matador whips it around in a bullfight, which comprises of three stages or tercios. During the first round the matador uses a cape which is magenta on one side and either gold or blue on the other. In the final tercio, his cape is of a bright red hue. The bull charges both capes with equal fury, proving that it’s blind to colour.
The traditional red colour of the cape or muleta, hiding the matador’s sword, was actually meant to mask the bull's blood. The last round involves a series of passes called the faena, with the matador finally lowering the cape to make the bull bow his head for the kill.
Sometimes the bull becomes a hero. Its outstanding performance wins the hearts of the spectators who wave white handkerchiefs for the presiding authority to pardon the bull. The animal is then allowed to live and go free.