The Impact On The Contrasting Lives Of Santiago Nasar And Bayardo San Roman in Chronicle Of A Death Foretold

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Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez tells the story of a gruesome murder in a small town of Sucre, Colombia. The murder victim was an attractive, wealthy, half Arab man by the name of Santiago Nasar. Marquez modeled the character after his own godbrother Cayetano Gentile who was described as the “ tall, elegant, and good-looking” son of successful Italian immigrants. The murder of Cayetano served as the skeleton of the murder of Santiago as they echoed eachother. Another character seemingly simmilar to the murder victim, is Bayardo San Roman, also perceived as a foreginer, he arrives into the town clad in expensive calfskin trousers, gloves and a jacket. He was also perceived as handsome, enchanting and wealthy. Much like his counterpart, Bayardo San Roman’s life also revolved around wealth ergo his rising social status. Although they were charming and wealthy, Santiago was dubbed as the “foreigner” along with Bayardo, the way they are seen by the community is important as it emphasizes the idea that despite the fortune their life will not be any easier or more bearable. The recurring theme of money in the Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Santiago Garcia Marquez shows the societal impact of wealth on the life of both Santiago Nasar and Bayardo San Roman.

Santiago’s life is ample with privilege, even so, his father’s Arabic heritage casts him as a foreigner. It is often speculated that Angela chose him for his wealth, thinking that her brothers would never amount to murder of such a rich individual, as shown by the excerpt 'Don't be silly,' he said to her. 'Those two aren't about to kill anybody, much less someone rich.'. Throughout the book, the reader is presented with various ways that the murder victim is treated and seen by “his” community. For example in this excerpt when Santiago is in the kitchen, with Divina Flora, the daughter of the cook Victoria Guzman he grabs Divina. “'The time has come for you to be tamed,' he told her. Victoria Guzman showed him the bloody knife. 'Let go of her, white man,' she ordered him seriously. 'You won't have a drink of that water as long as I'm alive.' Even though Ms. Guzman works for Santiago, her distaste for him is blunt as she referred to him as “White man”.

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Another instance in which he is referred to as such occurs at home, “Victoria Guzman was keeping watch over the coffee pot on the stove when he passed by the kitchen on his way into the house. 'White man,' she called to him, 'coffee will be ready soon.'. That quote not only highlights her dislike for Santiago but shows that despite the fact that she works for him, her dislike will always be present. Although some believed his murder was justified, some thought that he did not deserve his fate, as shown here “Faustino Santos was the only one who perceived a glimmer of truth in Pablo Vicario's threat, and he asked him jokingly why they had to kill Santiago Nasar since there were so many other rich people who deserved dying first.”. Similar to Santiago, people did not believe that Bayardo deserved his fate. This scene, as gruesome as it is, is valuable as it shows that despite all the wealth acquired, the foreigner will never be treated as one of “us” and that money does not make life, alternatively it takes. The sheer amount of witnesses aware of the incoming murder, stayed silent due to many reasons such as their dislike for the foreginer or envy of his wealth. Unlike Santiago, Bayardo was liked, and people pitied the handsome man met with such a sad fate.

As for the husband of Angela Vicario, Bayardo San Roman, his life is also of significant privilege and societal respect. His arrival in the book is vital as it helps us establish the base of the connection between him and Santiago. Both men being wealthy foreigners settling into a small town. While the story of Bayardo unravels throughout the book, giving us an insight into who he is, and his impressive skills, one can begin to contrast the two men. When Bayardo arrived in Sucre he gained instant traction from the women in the town, as shown by this excerpt “Magdalena Oliver had been with him on the boat and couldn't take her eyes off him during the whole trip. 'He looked like a fairy,' she told me. 'And it was a pity, because I could have buttered him and eaten him alive.' She wasn't the only one who thought so.” Not only was he attractive but he was also talented and knowledgeable and establishing himself as such. His skills and looks played a big part in him gaining the reputation of a respectable man. This is a slight difference as Santiago was known as a playboy, meddling with girls, Bayardo had one goal, to find a wife. This excerpt shows his many achievements and contributions to the community as well as his budding relationship with the citizens. “The night he arrived he gave them to understand at the movies that he was a track engineer, and spoke of the urgency for building a railroad into the interior so that we could keep ahead of the river's fickle ways. On the following day he had to send a telegram and he transmitted it on the key himself, and in addition, he taught the telegrapher a formula of his so that he could keep on using the worn-out batteries. With the same assurance he talked about frontier illnesses with a military doctor who had come through during those months of conscription. He liked noisy and long-lasting festivities, but he was a good drinker, a mediator of fights, and an enemy of cardsharps.

One Sunday after mass he challenged most skillful swimmers, who were many, and left the best behind by twenty strokes in crossing the river and back. My mother told me about it in a letter, and at the end she made a comment that was very much like her: 'It also seems that he's swimming in gold.' That was in reply to the premature legend that Bayardo San Roman not only was capable of doing everything, and doing it quite well, but also had access to endless resources”. His great relations with the citizens set him apart from Santiago as they empathised with the groom “For the immense majority of people there was only one victim: Bayardo San Roman. They took it for granted that the other actors in the tragedy had been fulfilling with dignity, and even with a certain grandeur, their part of the destiny that life had assigned them. Santiago Nasar had expiated the insult, the brothers Vicario had proved their status as men, and the seduced sister was in possession of her honour once more. The only one who had lost everything was Bayardo San Roman: 'poor Bayardo,' as he was remembered over the years.”. This is where their life once again differs as Santiago was villainized, his fate seen as deserved, Bayardo was seen as the heartbroken man. The excerpt is a prime example of the differing life paths that were taken on by the foreigners.

Yet they lead to the same conclusion, that life can not be made or saved with money. Regardless of just how much Bayardo spent on his wedding, the dream home of Xius and life in the town, he was left heartbroken and alone in Sucre. In terms of the life of Santiago, it was quite the opposite, one could say that in fact his wealth is what put the target on his back, hoping that it would protect him, ultimately it was what brought about his downfall.

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The Impact On The Contrasting Lives Of Santiago Nasar And Bayardo San Roman in Chronicle Of A Death Foretold. (2021, August 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from
“The Impact On The Contrasting Lives Of Santiago Nasar And Bayardo San Roman in Chronicle Of A Death Foretold.” Edubirdie, 27 Aug. 2021,
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