In The Chronicle of a Death Foretold, religion acts as a foremost determinant of the meaning of Santiago’s murder and parallels biblical passages. Gabriel García Márquez employs religious symbolism throughout his novella which alludes to Christ, his familiars, and his death on the cross. There are many representations throughout the novella that portray these biblical references, such as the murder of Santiago, the Divine Face, the cock’s crowing and the characters, Bayardo San Roman, Maria Cervantes, Divina Flor, and the Vicario children.
Santiago is, undoubtedly, crafted as a Christ figure, from his innocence to his crucifixion. His innocence is derived from the narrator’s doubt and the doubt invoked in the reader, that Santiago deflowered Angela prior to her marriage; he is murdered for this reason. In the novella, Santiago attempts to flee from Pedro and Pablo Vicario once he realizes that they are out to kill him; unfortunately, he does not make it into the safety of his home. As the stabbing progresses, Santiago stops defending himself and lets the brothers continue “knifing him against the door with alternate and easy stabs” (Márquez 118). With the surrender of Santiago, the entire town became horrified “by its own crime” (Márquez 118).
Just as Santiago gave into his assailants the biblical Christ never fought against the will of the people in Jerusalem and in the end, all the people of Jerusalem came to see Jesus on the cross for they knew that they were at fault. Also like Christ, Santiago received stabbings “through the palm of his right hand” (Márquez 117) as well as “a horizontal slash across the stomach” (Márquez 119). Santiago wore white linen at the time of his death, to symbolize the innocence and purity of the Holy Spirit. The wooden door, on which Santiago was stuck, called the “Fatal Door” by the townspeople, represents the cross that Christ was nailed to. After the Viciario brothers left Santiago to die, Santiago got up and trudged to the other side of his house. Santiago then enters his home, the Divine Face, symbolizing the opening of heaven and hell.
The Divine Face was the ranch that Santiago’s father, Ibrahim Nasar, built by converting an old port into a large home with “five cubbyholes for the many children he intended” to have (Márquez 21). The Divine Face was a sacred home for Santiago because it was all he had left of his father and where he learned and developed certain traits from his father. The Divine Face is a representation of all that God has given Christ throughout his life and the privileges that come with being one of God’s children. The Divine Face is also a symbol of heaven because Santiago enters into his home before he dies, just as Jesus entered into heaven for his resurrection.
Furthermore, within The Chronicle of a Death Foretold, cocks are often heard to be crowing thrice. Each time a cock crows within the novel it symbolizes a townsperson’s betrayal of Santiago. Before Jesus died,...