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Natalie Mendolia

December 17, 2012

Chronicle of a Death Foretold

In Gabriel Garcia Marquezs Chronicle of a Death Foretold, the narrator suggests the
importance of honor in the unnamed town as he recounts the past killing of Santiago Nasar. He
reveals the towns singular desire for honor as it becomes a recurring element in the recollection of
the weekend. The chronicle functions around Angela Vicarios marriage to Bayardo San Roman,
her lost chastity, and the killing of Santiago Nasar, events that all examine and exemplify the role
honor is given in the town. Bayardo discovers the truth about his wifes virginity because Angela
consciously reveals it to him. Her consent to marry causes the town to become aware of her
situation; therefore, this act represents her as a seduced sister without possession of her honor
and causes the Vicario brothers to seek her redemption by killing Santiago (84). Thus, by
consciously [dressing] as a bride to wed Bayardo, Angela becomes involved in the fate of
Santiago Nasar, Bayardo San Roman, and her brothers as she is involved in each of their lives
(41). Although raised under the rigor of a mother of iron, Angela ultimately demonstrates the
control over herself to fulfill the choices she makes; therefore, Angela Vicarios ability to make
and act upon her own decisions dictates the status of honor for the men in her town (37).
Bayardo San Romans honor becomes reliant on Angela Vicario when he decides to court
her as a bride. After having gone from town to town looking for someone to marry, he is
described as an idyllic vision of a man who is honest and has a good heart and is of
irresistible charm (26, 28, 27). Bayardo shows Angelas family that he can be a suitable husband
when he buys the prettiest house in town that [Angela] liked best (35). Bayardo gains the
familys support with his charm and obtains the position to take [Angelas] honor as her
husband when he succeeds in securing her as his wife (34, 37). Because Angelas family
wouldnt let her go out alone with Bayardo, they display their responsibility to preserve her
virginity; as her husband, Bayardo is granted both Angelas honor as a virgin and therefore his
own respect (37). In addition, the narrator explains that Angela Vicario only dared hint at the
inconvenience of a lack of love, suggesting that her marriage will not be founded on a basis of
love or romance; by consequence, their union will additionally have no honor according to the
towns belief that honor is love (35, 97). Therefore, Angela further dishonors both her marriage
and Bayardo because she reveals her lost possession or virginity when she decides to let herself
get undressed openly in the lighted bedroom where there is the expectation to display... the stain
of honor on the eve of the wedding ceremony (38). Angelas choices regarding her future with
Bayardo San Roman and the fact that she [isnt] a virgin reflect the fate of his honor because she
ultimately resides as a mistress of her own free will without any shame while he is considered
a memory of a victim (37, 93, 91 86).
The honor of Pedro and Pablo Vicario, Angelas brothers, is determined by her choice to
display her lost virginity. The consensual marriage of Angela Vicario to Bayardo San Roman
forms a union between him as a man and her stain of honor, a duty to represent her chastity
until marriage (26). Angela also reveals the identity of her secret lover as Santiago Nasar when
she decides to not proceed with performing tricks to feign her lost possession; this knowledge
thus incites her brothers to plan the murder of Santiago (83, 38). The Vicario brothers, as other
actors in the tragedy of the weekends events who are [fulfilled] with dignity, obtain honor
through their intentional act of murdering Santiago Nasar by [proving] their status as men and
additionally returning the possession of her honor once more to Angela, their seduced sister
(83, 84). Prudencia Cotes explains, honor doesnt wait and additionally say that she never
would have married [Pablo Vicario] if he hadnt done what a man should do (62). She therefore
suggests that their retaliation against Santiago represents the duty a man has to redeem the honor
of another in order to gain the same for themselves. By fulfilling their responsibility as men to
undo the disaster of [Angelas] wedding night, Pedro and Pablo Vicario regain their honor
through the opportunity given to them by her choice to unveil her own lack of honor (90).
Similarly to Pedro and Pablo Vicario, Angelas conscious act of showing her misfortune
as a seduced sister dictates the honor of Santiago Nasar (91). Santiagos death becomes the
center of an irreparable day of public exhaustion because he takes the virginity of Angela on
her wedding night (82). By naming him as her perpetrator and the man responsible for her lost
honor, Angelas choice initiates the transformation of Santiagos identity in the town from an
angel to poor Santiago Nasar who ended up being involved in such a mix-up (100, 61, 18).
His level of honor decreases to that of Bayardo who likewise is regarded as a poor man.
Furthermore, the lawyer in charge of the Vicario twins case stands by the thesis of homicide in
legitimate defense of honor, suggesting that Santiago has worth sans honor because his death is
the major element in relieving the town of the single common anxiety that is the outcome of
the drama (48, 96, 88). Santiago Nasar is left with repute as the reason for Pura Vicario [to
wrap] the face of the rejected daughter in bright red so nobody might think she was mourning
her secret lover (82). Honor becomes the basis of legacy and reputation for the town; however,
Angelas decision to name Santiago leaves him with only a legacy and the acknowledgment as an
[actor] in the Vicario twins plan to gain the honor granted when having done their duty
(83, 79).
In deciding to not wait for his arrival to perform her marriage ceremony, Angela also
influences the honor given to the bishop. The unnamed narrator suggests the importance of the
bishop when he chronicles the towns awaiting of his arrival, stating that the crates of well-
fattened roosters are meant as a gift for the [him] and the colored wedding decorations hang
in honor of him (16, 14). In addition, Clotilde Armenta tells the Vicario brothers to postpone
their intentional murder if only out of respect for his grace the bishop (16). As Angela Vicario
is against holding off the wedding for a day when the [the bishop can] marry her to Bayardo,
she decides to wed without the [his] blessing (38, 39). By deciding to marry Bayardo, deny this
blessing, and revealing the loss of her virginity, Angelas actions, by consequence, reaffirm the
honor of the bishops position as a patriarchal leader; they initiate Santiagos death, a murder
meant to redeem the lost honor he brought to the town. This marriage is intended to be consecrated
and blessed by the bishop, and evokes a response in the towna murderthat ultimately
embraces the sacred virginity of Angela that is observed in matrimony. Furthermore, Angelas
choices prove the honor that the bishop holds in overseeing this union that affirms a womans own
honor through chastity.