The role of Familial Honor and fate in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's The Chronicle of a Death Foretold
"On the day they were going to kill him, Santiago Nasar got up at five-thirty in the morning..." (3). In this manner, in the first line of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novel, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, the reader is introduced to Santiago, the main character who is viciously murdered by Pedro and Pablo Vicario for allegedly taking the virginity of their sister, Angela. In the novel, Marquez uses family honor and the role of fate in determining the course of events and setting up an inevitable outcome.
The theme of family honor is developed in the description of the Vicario brothers' reasoning for killing Santiago and plans to kill him. When taken to court after the crime was committed, they were acquitted on the basis that they acted in "legitimate defense of honor." (49) It is here that the brothers' mentality becomes clear and some of the value systems of this society become evident to the reader. Neither the brothers nor the society in which they lived perceived a fault in their killing of Santiago Nasar because they were attempting to restore familial honor, which was obviously extremely important in their society. Earlier in the novel, Prudencia Cotes understands what the twins are rushing off to do, but instead of attempting to stop them, says, "I can imagine, my sons... honor doesn't wait" (62). Through these two passages a clear picture is drawn of the type of society this novel is based around and how much their honor meant to the inhabitants of this town. When a family's honor had been as badly destroyed as it had been in the Vicario brothers' case, the members of that family were obligated to obtain some kind of restitution. The twins continued to defend their actions even before the priest, Father Amador, saying, "We're innocent... before God and before men." (49) The upholding of family honor was an unwritten code above any law which...
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