Gabriel García Márquez's Chronicle Of A Death Foretold

1223 words - 5 pages

Santiago Nasar, known as a playboy, handsome, rich, and a man of superficial traits in his town of Colombia is the protagonist in Gabriel García Márquez novel, Chronicle of a Death Foretold. His antagonist, and ultimately his demise, is Angela Vicario. Angela is a common girl with a "helpless air and a poverty of spirit that augured an uncertain future for her" (page 32). In the course of events, Angela is married to Bayardo San Roman, a suitor of sorts, and is found out by Bayardo to be “deflowered” after she is already married to him. To understand the extent of this crime, however, one must understand that in the culture of this small Colombian town, honor is a life or death circumstance. Honor for a woman is her virginity; an extremely important moral practice that is essential to keep pristine. “She only took the time necessary to say the name. She looked for it in the shadows, she found it at first sight among the many, many easily confused names from this world and the other, and she nailed it to the wall with her well-aimed dart, like a butterfly with no will whose sentence has always been written. 'Santiago Nasar,' she said” (page 47). Angela’s previous sexual encounter with a man whom she was not betrothed, blemished her honor. Her brothers, Pedro and Pablo Vicario, felt the weight of their sister’s dishonor heavy on their shoulders. In order to restore their sister’s good name they felt that they needed to dispose of the man who had taken it from her in the first place, and according to Angela that man was Santiago. However, in Gabriel García Márquez novel, the narrator’s description of the setting and Santiago Nasar’s murder suggests that Santiago is innocent. This overpowers Angela’s culturally influenced accusations against him, regardless of her dominant narrative voice.
There are a two main reasons for Angela’s accusations. The first reason being that Angela was in an extremely sexist Colombian town, just like many other towns at this time. In this excerpt from the novel, the exact duties of all women and their minimal impact on the culture of the town is told with an air of impending doom. "The brothers were brought up to be men. The girls were brought up to be married. They knew how to do screen embroidery, sew by machine, weave bone lace, wash and iron, make artificial flowers and fancy candy, and write engagement announcements… my mother thought there were no better-reared daughters. 'They're perfect,' she was frequently heard to say. 'Any man will be happy with them because they've been raised to suffer.'" (page 31). In this particular quote the narrator is describing the upbringing of Angela Vicario and her siblings, as well. According to social tradition and cultural expectations women were not allowed to get jobs, follow their own dreams, or live their lives freely. They were bound by the Colombian tradition and the social expectations of marriage and producing children, to be their husband’s heirs and carriers of the...

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