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Gender Roles in Chronicle of a Death Foretold

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The narrative Chronicle of a death foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez outlines the events surrounding Santiago Nasar’s murder. He is the man who allegedly took Angela Vicario’s virginity. Bayardo San, Angela’s husband to discover that she was not a virgin on their wedding night, and takes her back to her house. Disgusted by the shame brought into their family, Pablo Vicario and Pedro Vicario, twin brothers to Angela, force her to say who took her virginity. The brothers then decide to kill Santiago and execute the plan on the day the Bishop was to visit to bless the marriage of Angela and Bayardo. Garcia work incorporates imagery, analogy, and uses the characters to portray the role of gender and fate to build up the story.

Garcia displays different roles of men and women through the various characters in the Latin American Society setting. She demonstrates the role of men as that of taking care of the family while protecting its dignity, while women are to marry and keep households. Pablo and Pedro murder the perpetrator of their sister to protect the woman’s honour in the family. Regardless of the cost involved, the men must uphold the family’s reputation. With that gender role in mind, Garcia created the twin brothers to the perpetrated bride. The author uses these characters to portray the culture of gender roles within the 1950’s social setting.

Through Pablo and Pedro, Garcia also exemplifies the men’s expectations and commitment to upholding honour within the society. The Vicario brothers think that killing Santiago was very necessary to redeem the lost reputation of their family. However, they hesitate to execute the murder, but the cultural norms have so much gravity and force them to do it. The author, through Clotilde, shows that the twins were not into the idea of committing the murder when the narrator says, “She was certain that the Vicario brothers were not as eager to carry out the sentence as to find someone who would do them the favour of stopping them”. The boys’ actions before the murder confirm this statement. The announcements they make about the murder plan, even in the market place, shows that they were seeking someone’s prevention not to do it. Twenty-two people already know the murder plan. This struggle to make the act known displays the battle they were going through in weighing between going to jail for murder or upholding Angela’s honour. While boys are more concerned with the status of their family’s reputation, Pablo’s girlfriend only thinks of being associated with them, that is, maintaining a household. Garcia treats men and women differently. Men put cultural norms before their emotions, while women only mind about keeping the family together.

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Garcia creates men as dominant over women. Santiago Nasar is one of the main characters of Chronicles of a Death Foretold. By taking away the virginity of Angela, he destroys her reputation. n. Santiago is throughout the show to have sexual aggressiveness, with the second case being his pushy behaviour on Divina Flor. Garcia created his character as one filled with sexual advances to illustrate the culture of men in using women as objects. Bayardo also reveals the same theme by forcing Angela to marry, even without meeting each other. Bayardo buys expensive things for her but does not take time to be with her. The author builds the Bayardo’s love for Angela on money and good looks, showing women as inferior and marriage as their only expectation. People blame fate when they experience misfortunes in their lives, and Garcia proves it in the investigation of the events before Santiago’s murder. She uses chance and coincidence in the narrative to reveal the murder incident and what happens afterwards. Garcia uses an accident as the leading factor to Santiago’s death. However, the actual cause is miscommunication brought about by the events occurring before his murder. Everyone focused their attention to the coming of the Bishop, a chance used by the Vicario twins to trace Santiago. Regardless, people viewed his death as fate through the claim, “there had never been a death more foretold”. The town priest also attributes the murder to coincidence, “the bishop was coming”. It is so ironic that the priest was aware of the murder plot, but it did not alarm him regardless of his knowledge and role in religious precepts. Through him, Garcia shows and criticizes the flawed society, and people’s behaviour to blame fate and coincidence instead of their actions. At least twenty two people knew of the plan, and if they took steps, maybe the brothers would not have killed Santiago. Although the priest blames fate, he goes through “despair and [is] so disgusted with himself” . Garcia’s narrative shows how responsible people suffer guilt, although they may blame it on fate.

Throughout the novel, Garcia uses imagery of animals such as pigs, butterflies and birds to characterize and foreshadow the fateful death of Santiago. The narrative began with a particular morning when Nasar met is death. On that morning, he dreamt oddly, “dreamed he was going through a grove of timber trees where a gentle drizzle was falling, and for instance, he was happy in his dream, but when he awoke he felt completely spattered with bird shit”. This dream represents his life story. The people who knew the murder plans death were the timber trees, the brief happiness moment shows his natural life, and the bird’s shit represents his death. The use of the butterfly analogy is in the scene when Pedro forces Angela to say the person responsible for taking away her virginity. It goes, “…like a butterfly with no will whose sentence has always been written. ‘Santiago Nasar,’ she said.” The imagery represents Nasar’s fate in cultural bounds after the revelation. It also shows Angela in the furious hands of his brothers if she did not give the name of the man who took away the family honour. Garcia also uses dogs which feature when the Vicario brothers leave Nasar’s body laid in his room. The dogs are agitated of the death to show they are lamenting it with their howls.

In summary, Garcia uses the characters and imagery to build the various themes in his narrative. The role of men and women portrays through the aspects of Santiago, Bayardo and Vicario twins. Men are generally dominant over women and bound by culture to protect family dignity. In Contrast, he associates women with family and men use them as sexual objects. Garcia criticizes the character’s blame of Santiago’s death on fate because most of them knew the plot and took no actions. Also, the imagery of dogs, birds and butterflies build the story by representing the characters situation and foreshadowing events.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does the Author Use the Character of the Nurse to Develop the Social Issue of Gender Inequality?

The author uses the character of the nurse to illustrate the gender inequality present in society. The nurse is presented as a woman who is constantly undervalued and overlooked. She is given little respect by her patients and her superiors, and her work is not respected or valued in the same way as that of her male counterparts. She is often told what to do and how to do it, and her decisions are questioned and undermined. She is expected to remain in her role as a caretaker and is not given the same opportunities and recognition as her male counterparts. This reinforces the idea that women are not seen as equals in the workplace and are not given the same respect and opportunities as men. The nurse‘s story helps to highlight the social issue of gender inequality, which is still a pressing issue in today‘s society.

What Two Roles Does Angela Play as a Woman in the Novel?

Angela plays two roles as a woman in the novel. Firstly, she is a nurse and caretaker, providing medical care and emotional support to her patients. Secondly, she is a wife and mother, providing guidance and support to her family. Throughout the novel, Angela is presented as a strong and capable woman, who is able to balance her roles as both a nurse and a mother. This highlights the importance of female strength and resilience in a patriarchal society.

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Gender Roles in Chronicle of a Death Foretold. (2021, August 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 6, 2023, from
“Gender Roles in Chronicle of a Death Foretold.” Edubirdie, 27 Aug. 2021,
Gender Roles in Chronicle of a Death Foretold. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 6 Dec. 2023].
Gender Roles in Chronicle of a Death Foretold [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Aug 27 [cited 2023 Dec 6]. Available from:
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