Honour Violence Chronicle of a Death Foretold Essay
Throughout time, both violence and brutality have often been used to take control. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novella “A Chronicle of a Death Foretold” relies on both these aspects to show what devastations they can bring on to a society. Marquez’ use of machismo and honour work to show the link between them, and the lifestyle of the town and its Latin American culture. Machismo is a great part of the Latin American culture seen in the town. Machismo is a strong or exaggerated sense of manliness, sense of power, or the right to dominate.
It can be seen in the emphasis on male pride in the novella and on the sexual behavior of the male characters. The men take pride in visiting Maria Cervantes’s brothel, where they use women for sex. They are not ashamed of their actions, because their society endorses such desires and deeds. When Bayardo San Roman returns Angela Vicario, he demonstrates machismo-a woman is only worth marrying, he suggests, when she is a virgin; after that she is soiled. The Vicario brothers’ murder of Santiago Nasar is an even greater machismo act-an attempt to take back Angela’s honor by killing the man who deflowered her.
As the string of events in the novella shows, the severe emphasis on masculine and feminine behavior leads to injustice. One man’s machismo commits another man’s-Bayardo’s refusal to accept Angela leads the Vicarios to kill Santiago without trial or evidence. The killing of Santiago by the Vicario brothers can further be explored through honour. In the Latin American culture of the Colombian town in which the narrative takes place, honor is taken very seriously. Nobody in the novel ever questions any action that is taken to preserve someone’s honor, since it is commonly believed to be a fundamental moral trait that is vital to keep intact.
A person without honor is an outcast in the community. All of the characters in the novel are influenced by this powerful construction of honor. The defense of this ideal is directly responsible for Santiago Nasar’s murder. The Vicario brothers kill Santiago in order to restore the honor of their sister. She dishonors her family by marrying another man when she had already slept with someone else. In order for this wrong to be righted, her brothers must kill Santiago, the man who supposedly took her virginity, in order to clear her name.
Though a few people in the community, like Clothilde Armenta and Yamil Shaium, try to prevent the death from occurring, most people turned the other cheek, because they believed that the severity of the crime deserved a cruel punishment. The fact that death was considered a reasonable retribution for the crime of taking a girl’s virginity indicates how awful it was to sleep with an unmarried woman; doing so ruined her chances of marrying well, and marriage was women’s one way to advance in the world.
The right to dominate and to personal integrity are two beliefs that Marquez used to lead to violence and brutality in his novella. Marquez wanted the reader to understand the means and reasoning of the violence in it. He recounted the story of Santiago Nasar and gave it a couple of twists to better demonstrate the brutality in Colombian culture. Marquez showed that it is very easy to have control by using power and savagery.