For one, I previously failed to understand what motivated the twins to be vigilantes and disregard the justice system. Deciding to kill Santiago Nasar seemed not only extreme but quite ridiculous if only to restore the idea of “honor” to their family. However, it was during class discussion, when a student revealed that such concepts and societal expectations had a long history within 1950’s Columbia and were very important to the culture. The community, who are rather conservative, idealize traditional morals and disregard contemporary ideals such as equality. This interactive oral helped me understand how the concept of honor influenced decisions: Santiago stripped the Vicario’s family name of honor, which could only be earnt back by an act of virtue. Further, machismo forced the twins to react in a significant exaggerated act of masculinity. Woman contributed by selectively looking out for these men. Furthermore, in the discussion we examined the role of woman, who were dictated by principles of Marianismo. The contrast between two polarizing societal expectations for women and med, expose a deep imbalance in society, depending one’s gender. This helped me realize Marques uses the book as a social criticism: to emphasize the weakness of the political scheme of Latin America.
Prior to the discussion, I was fascinated by the random events that occurred, to line up Santiago’s death, further displaying how unfair society was. However, through the discussion, I came to understand the prominent idea of magical realism present in Colombia. I came to understand through the interactive oral, that Santiago’s death may not be an unlikely and unlucky event, but rather destined to happen. One important distinction was how the murder’s declared themselves innocent in the eyes of God. The men’s blind faith, believing that what they are doing is right, when in actuality they are committing an insane act of murder, demonstrates again how unfair society is: Santiago’s death didn’t prove anything, merely traditions state otherwise.
This interactive oral made me consider the conventional nature of the pre-modern Latin America: it allowed me to understand extreme cultural differences, where a society expects and values traditions over human life. I recognized Marquez owns views towards this culture is represented through a satirical representation.
In Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, presents moral dilemmas that must be considered in Santiago’s life and death. Despite a banal English translation, the narrator vividly explores whether an ill-fated murder was solely a random, in the moment occurrence, or the result of collective will. In doing so, Gabriel Garcia Marquez forces the reader to question whether fate and one’s belief can be both solely relied upon as an inevitable occurrence. In this compelling novel, Marquez uses the recurring theme of fate to illustrate the moral dilemmas his society encounters as a result of an over dependence on the concept.
Certainly, it would seem Santiago’s death was a result of people acting on their own accord and demonstrating free-will: Santiago decided independently to have sex with Angela Vicario; The twins had agreed together they would restore their family’s honour by killing Santiago: it was Santiago’s in the moment action that forced a unrealistic reaction decided in the moment. While this view gathers credibility, one can also interpret that ultimately Santiago’s death was destined to happen. Marquez reveals this doomed fate for Santiago from the very first line: “on the day when they were going to kill him” (Marquez. 1983, 1). By setting forth the idea that Santiago’s death is inevitable even before his birth from the start of the novel, Marquez forces the reader to consider how unfair society is, and to question the ethics of a society that truly did believe nothing could prevent the event, as you read and learn how and why the murder occurred. In doing so, an idea of frustrated expectancy presents itself – irritation that an apparently inevitable event was never attempted to be changed, despite so many chances for it to be.
Marquez, writes that the book is a chronicle, however the book is not written chronologically. We first are presented with the murder at the hands of the twins, and despite describing the circumstances of his death, we are never truly told if Santiago was guilty and underserving of this fate. Just like the townsfolk awaiting the bishop, only to see him bypass them all: “He won’t even get off the boat… He’ll given obligatory blessing, as always, and go back the way he came. He hates this town.” (Marquez. 1983, 8): Marquez’s word choice evokes the insignificance, even condescension, that the Church has forsaken and secluded within society, linking to the coldness and unethical aspect of fate and the fate of Santiago.
The ironic foreshadowing of Santiago’s death is used by Marquez, to describe how Santiago himself had never predicted that the murder would happen to him, indeed, to question whether Santiago was actually guilty and warranted this fate. Indeed, as Santiago dies, “his reaction was not one of panic, but was rather the bewilderment of innocence” (Marquez. 1983, 59). Demonstrating how unsuspecting and underserving Santiago was: stabbed seven times, dyeing a lonely death. Nether the less, Santiago is described to have experienced two different dreams focusing on a forest the night before he died, where he fails to recognise the bad omen. Visual imagery vividly portrays Santiago going “through a grove of timber trees where a gentle drizzle was falling, and for an instant, he was happy in his dream, but when he awoke, he felt completely spattered with bird shit.” (Marquez. 1983, 1).