Chronicle individual decisions and reactions as the characters grapple

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Marquez was written in 1981. It is a journalistic account of an historic murder in a small town in Columbia, a detective story, and a work of allegorical fiction all rolled into one. The plot revolves around the vicious murder of Santiago Nasar, justified as an honor killing, and the community’s role in this event. Despite defining themselves as devout Catholics, killing to preserve honor and lying to avoid culpability implies a superficial religious devotion where corrupt traditions trump all. Gender roles, reflecting religious beliefs and cultural expectations also impact individual decisions and reactions as the characters grapple with the unfolding events.As the story unfolds, it is quickly clear that honor is paramount in this society, particularly family honor. The whole focus of the story is the murder of Santiago Nasar which was committed to restore the family honor lost by Angela Vicario when she had premarital sex, resulting in her failed marriage. Angela’s brothers commit murder, a mortal sin, to restore the family’s honor as tradition demands despite their reluctance since it “was certain that the Vicario brothers were not as eager to carry out of the sentence as to find someone who would do them the favor of stopping them” (Marquez, 57). Even after confessing to the crime, a jury found the brothers innocent in the name of honor “Before God and before men…It was a matter of honor” (Marquez, 49). Yet these actions, in the name of honor, go against the religious beliefs of the town. How the townspeople handle the clash of religious beliefs and honor is complex and shows how difficult it is to for them to define morality. There is no justification for honor killing, not even religion can justify it. Honor killing is completely different from what the bible teaches. In our bible it states that “Thou shall not kill”(Exodus 20-13). Even though the town was filed with religious saints, the only people who even attempted to help Santiago and stop the murder were Clothide Armenta and Yamil Shaium. It seemed that the citizens believed that God would be okay with them killing in honor even though murder is clearly frowned upon in the bible. Father Amador, the local priest, is one of the most influential people in the town and one of the few people who had the absolute power to stop the Vicario brothers from killing Santiago. He fails to do so simply by inaction. Although he is aware of their plans, his “‘first thought was that it wasn’t any business of his but something for the civil authorities, but then he made up his mind to say something in passing to Placida Linero.’ Yet when he crossed the square, he’d forgotten completely. You have to understand,’ he told me, “that the bishop was coming that day'” (Marquez, 70). Consequently, he fails to stop a murder because of its relative lack of importance to him. He performs the functions of his job such as saying mass, but forgets the purpose of his position. This is the town’s moral leader; a man who cannot be bothered to stop a murder, a sin that destroys ones relationship with god. On the day Nasar was murdered, the arrival of the Bishop was a community event. Nasar, still unaware of his fate and most likely innocent, “got up at five thirty in the morning to wait for the boat the bishop was coming on” along with the rest of the townsfolk (Marquez, 3). The whole event was ritualistic “It was a fleeting illusion: the bishop began to make the sign of the cross in the air opposite the crowd on the pier, and he kept on doing it mechanically afterward, without malice or inspiration, until the boat was lost from view and all that remained was the uproar of the roosters” (Marquez, ). It is ironic that the citizens make a great deal of effort to greet the Bishop even though he never left his barge, indicating superficial attention to his flock, while being fully aware of Nasar’s impending murder and apparently not troubled by the contradiction between religious teachings and human actions. The traditional patriarchal society, defined by honor and religion, ignores the yearnings of life. By having premarital sex, Angelica Vicario directly rebels against these traditions, only to find that her life is dictated by them. Her attempt to disregard tradition results in the brutal killing of Santiago Nasar and in her writing “a weekly letter for over half a lifetime” to Bayardo, begging him to return to her and forgive her for dishonoring him (Marquez, 93). He eventually does. Angelica is desperate to break free from tradition and this is the reasoning for her actions. However, she is forced to realize that she cannot lead a happy life while separate from tradition. Life must function through the forms of tradition in this this society; honor dictates life.There are other parallels with Christianity and Chronicle of a Death Foretold. For example, Santiago wore “white linens”, implying innocence, on the day he died, just as Jesus wore white on the day of his death (Marquez, 5). He was impaled against a wooden door and Jesus was crucified on a wooden cross (Marquez, 119). A crowd of people were watching his murder mirroring Jesus’ public crucifixion (Marquez, 115). And, according to the autopsy report, the injuries “looked like the stigma of the crucified Christ” (Marquez, 75 ) In addition the name Santiago itself can be interpreted as the Spanish word Santo, which translates to “Saint”, while Nasar is similar to Nazareth, the birthplace of Jesus. Also, on the morning of Santiago’s death there are three references to cocks crowing, a symbol of betrayal in Christianity (Marquez, 13, 21). This symbol is also used in the Bible. In the story of the Last Supper, Jesus predicted that before the rooster crowed his disciple Peter, would deny him three times (Mark 14-72). Jesus’s disciple betrayed him by denying that he knew Jesus, and the town people betrayed Santiago by failing to warn him of the plot to end his life. Despite the tradition of following religion to a tee, there are some blatant disregarding’s for Catholicism’s teachings. Catholocism teaches to love all, but the citizens equate love with honor. “Honor is love” is said by the narrators mother (97). It is this belief that allows people to justify wrongful actions