The concept of marriage and machismo in a Chronicle of A Death Foretold impeccably describes Colombian culture during the 1950s. The author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez portrays these concepts throughout the novella. Chronicle of A Death Foretold is a story about a man named Santiago Nasar, the protagonist, who was murdered because of the accusation of taking a girl’s virginity. Angela Vicario, the bride of Bayardo San Roman, is returned to her house on the day of her wedding night after her husband finds out she is not a virgin. Subsequently, her mother beats her and her twin brothers pressure her into revealing the identity of the man who took her purity. She utters the name Santiago Nasar.
Thus marking the beginning of the end of Santiago Nasar’s life. The narrative walks the reader through the events leading up to the death of Santiago from a different perspective for a better understanding from each character’s point of view. Throughout the novella, we see the gender roles and expectations assigned to the characters depending on their situations.
In particular, pride was emphasized in the men with their sexaual behaviors. While if the woman were to partake in the same behaviors, it would be looked down upon. Because of this machismo society, double standards were prevalent during the 1950s in Colombia and across the novella. In the beginning of the novella, we see Santiago Nasar tends to do as he pleases.
This behavior is exemplified when he grabs Divina Flor’s “whole pussy”, the daughter of the cook(Marquez 13). He would grab her whenever he catches her in “some corner of the house” and would touch her in an inappropriate manner(Marquez 13). This behavior leads Divina to believe she is meant to have the same gender role as her mother did in the Nasar’ household. As time went on she started to feel even more powerless and the only way she gets through it is by letting him do as he pleases.
Due to this male chauvinistic society, Santiago is able to do as he pleases and it’s considered socially acceptable. The relationship between Angela and Bayardo San Roman is best characterized by Angela’s meekness. Angela the youngest daughter of the Vicario family.
Bayardo is the new guy in town searching for a bride. Angela arouses his attention, and he immediately wants to make her his wife, “I’m going to marry her”(Marquez 29). Being a man of his word he marries her. However, on their wedding night he finds out she is not a virgin.
Out of disappointment, he returns her home. Her mother, Pura Vicario, beats her out of sheer rage due to the dishonor she has brought upon the family. Due to the male chauvinism, Bayardo is able to return his wife because she was not a virgin which damages Bayardo’s pride considering how much time and money he invested in her.
Gabriel Garcia hints about sexual interactions throughout his lifetime.Between Angela and Bayardo, Angela is held up to higher expectations than Bayardo because she is expected to maintain her purity while Bayardo is given the freedom to do as he pleases. Feeling humiliated and disrespected, the Vicario twins, being the main heads of the household feel obligated to restore their family honor by killing Santiago Nasar. On their way to kill Santiago, they run into the fiancee of Pablo Vicario at the coffee shop and she agrees with the plan the twins have concocted in order to murder Santiago Nasar’s life. This all leads them to believe that Santiago is the one who took Angela’s chastity. The consequence the twins had to deal with, and being beaten all night is not comparable to the punishment of death. Catholicism played a major role in the Colombian society. The primary rites of the Roman Catholic church are communion, baptism, marriage, and extreme unction.
Catholic faith is meant to be an immense part of the culture and would become an essential part of a person’s being. Marquez portrays the Catholic Church as a vital manipulative factor in the story. The church confines the people and ultimately causes Santiago’s death. If the values and beliefs of the church were not deeply ingrained in everyone who lived in the town, Santiago’s death could have been prevented.
Furthermore, before a man and a woman get married they have to meet with priest to decide if they are eligible to get married. Either the man or woman has to be catholic, the woman has to be a virgin and the man has to have sexual prowess. The man and the woman have to both agree to marriage and they have to showcase signs that they are truly in love. Marriage and machismo are major concepts that are illustrated in the novella.
The decisions that the characters opt to make have a powerful impact on the people and everyone around them. The author, Gabriel Marquez, does a phenomenal job in defining these concepts especially in the understanding of how men and women are treated differently. Men and women live in a society where they face different hurdles on rules and repercussions depending on their gender and this is the type of society that Marquez has his characters live in.