Responsibility Essay

1160 words - 5 pages

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is the story of the predictable murder of Santiago Nasar. His death was an example of an “honor killing,” which was supposedly justified by the fact that he defamed the Vicario family by taking their youngest daughter Angela’s virginity before she was married. Despite the fact that the novel is fiction, similar honor killings affect many people in traditionalist societies, such as Marquez’s native Colombia. This makes the novel relevant to today’s society because Marquez shows how the practice of honor killings, which are meant to preserve the morality of society, actually make the people affected act in immoral ways. In the novel for example, preserving the honor of the family leads the Vicario twins, Pedro and Pablo to kill another man, something that is strictly prohibited in all moral codes. However, they are not the only ones who acted immorally. Since their murderous intentions could not have been realized without Angela, she is also highly responsible for the crime. Furthermore, her moral responsibility is augmented by the fact that, as the novel suggests, Santiago was not even guilty. Moreover, in contrast to many of the townspeople who at least tried to stop the crime, there is no evidence of Angela attempting to prevent it in any way. Thus, although Angela was not the one to actually stab Santiago, she is largely responsible for his death.

In the marriage of Angela Vicario and Bayardo San Román lies the origin of Santiago’s death. After four months of engagement, Bayardo proposes marriage to Angela, which she accepts reluctantly. Her skepticism comes from the fact that she is not a virgin, which in the town is a requirement for brides. When Bayardo discovers this, he returns her home straightaway, consequentially defaming Angela, as well as the entire Vicario family. Pedro Vicario was “trembling with rage” (Marquez 47) when he found out what had happened with Angela. He asked Angela who had done it, and she replied “Santiago Nasar” (Marquez 47). The moment Angela said his name she provided her brothers with a specific target that they wouldn’t have had without her. Once her brothers had this key information, they were immediately able to set out to kill Santiago Nasar. During the next chapter of the book, where the crime is planned and takes place, Angela Vicario is nowhere to be seen.

Angela’s responsibility for Santiago’s murder is not solely rooted in her facilitation of the crime; her moral responsibility is aggravated by the fact that her claim that Santiago Nasar took her virginity seems to be false. The narrator brings this to light when he says: “No one believed that it had really been Santiago Nasar. They belonged to two completely different worlds. No one had ever seen them together, much less alone together. Santiago Nasar was too haughty to have noticed her” (Marquez 89-90). In a village where pre-marital sex is such a taboo, it does not seem realistic that two...

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