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Published: 10-11-2019

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The use of contrasts and tensions to bring out the theme in Chonicle of a death foretold

Numerous acclaimed novels attain prestige by way of their esteemed authors’ tendency to critique their culture and time period among these belongs Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Garcia Marquez. Garcia Marquez critiques the Colombian culture by means of an investigative depiction of the events top to a fellow citizen’s death in a small town in Colombia. Marquez incorporates tensions and contrasts in the initial chapter with the purpose of illustrating the flaws in the Colombian culture, specifically by way of the relationship in between Santiago and his servants, the part of the Vicario twins, and the community’s partnership with the bishop.

Firstly, Marquez generates tension between Santiago Nasar, the protagonist who is brutally murdered, and his servant, Victoria Guzman. On the morning of Santiago’s death, an altercation amongst Victoria Guzman and Santiago ensued because Santiago believed he was entitled to “having” Victoria’s daughter, Divina Flor. Santiago “grabbed [Divina] by the wrist” (Marquez, 8) and concluded that the “time [had] come for [her] to be tamed” (eight). This presumption was commonplace throughout that age in Colombia due to the adamant machismo, which is the masculine pride of males. Even so, Victoria thwarted Santiago’s demand, “showed him the bloody knife” (8), and asserted that he would never ever have Divina “as lengthy as [she was] alive” (eight). The tension in between them is clearly discernable, and given that Santiago is a male and her employer, Victoria’s actions are quite alarming. “In spite of her age” (7) and gender, Victoria is the only female in this novel characterized as obstinate and resolute. In addition, Victoria is the only citizen who confronts the prevailing social norms and does not accept the illusion of machismo or the corresponding values of their culture and traditions. Victoria attempts to break the cycle in which “she’d been seduced by Ibrahim Nasar” (eight), Santiago’s father, so that Divina require not be “destined for Santiago Nasar’s furtive bed” (eight). Marquez criticizes this society’s blind acceptance of traditions and cultures via Victoria’s disparate viewpoint and prowess. Additionally, Victoria’s ability to stand up against the “inevitable cycle” indicates that Santiago’s death may possibly not have been inevitable, which further incriminates this town. Similarly, Victoria is the only citizen whose reason for not warning Santiago is unambiguous, due to the fact “in the depths of her heart she wanted them to kill him” (11). Victoria’s distaste and lack of “affection” (7) for Santiago may have indirectly brought on his death, given that she could have very easily warned him and prevented his brutal death. Nonetheless, Victoria is neither the antagonist of this novel, nor is she blamed for her selection not to warn him, given that she hated him for his machismo. The tension designed in between Victoria and Santiago is a important element utilized by Marquez to criticize machismo and the entitlement and superiority of guys.

Moreover, Marquez criticizes the society’s unwavering faith in their traditions and religion, even though they have failed them on a number of occasions, by way of the contrasts within the town’s relationship with the bishop. The town had ready dozens of “gifts for the bishop” (15), roared in “jubilation” (12), woken up early, and accumulated at the docks to wait for the bishop. Juxtaposed to the town’s enthusiasm are the bishop’s “mechanical” movements, “without […] inspiration” (16). This contrast illustrates how rituals and traditions are embedded in the community’s nature, given that the town repeatedly bestows faith in the bishop, even even though he by no means even “get[s] off his boat” (15). Marquez conveys how delusional the town behaves, given that they comply with their traditions and beliefs so rigorously, even although their faith has constantly failed them. For instance, even the bishop, who embodies their religion, has failed them because he is not passionate about his role in Catholicism and executes his obligations “mechanically”. Even so, the town continues to follow their traditions and beliefs without hesitation to the point that an innocent man is murdered. In addition, Marquez conveys how preposterous the town’s conduct and attitude is by means of the irony that Santiago died because of the town was too preoccupied with their religious beliefs and “the bishop’s go to to worry about any other news” (20). Similarly, the contrast amongst the towns infatuation of the bishop and the bishops “hat[red] [of their] town” (six) highlights how nonsensical this neighborhood is. Furthermore, the bishop’s hatred of the town could be construed as an abhorrence of its immoral and corrupt nature. By means of the contrast between the town’s reaction to the bishop and the bishop’s reaction to the town, Marquez criticizes the town’s faith in rituals and traditions and lack of consideration for the dire consequences these traditions bring about.

Moreover, Marquez critiques the contradictory and unethical expectations of society via the part of the Vicario twins and the contrasting claims that describe them. Firstly, Pablo and Pedro Vicario are depicted as “hard-hunting but of a excellent sort” (14), symbolizing their internal conflict on no matter whether or not to murder Santiago for their family’s honor. Becoming described as “hard-looking” illustrates the expectations for guys to be hard and masculine due to machismo, indicating that they are obligated to restore their family’s honor. Nonetheless, the juxtaposition of the preceding description with “of a very good sort”, highlights that they did not attain their selection primarily based on malicious intent, but actually believe their actions had been justified. Similarly, they are firstly described as “devastated by so several hours of poor living” (14), which implies their internal conflict on whether or not they ought to kill Santiago, and in contrast, described as diligent and still executing “their duty and shav[ing]” (14), which suggests their acceptance of their obligation to kill Santiago. Marquez criticizes the expectations and beliefs that arise in this society due to machismo by equating murder and shaving, because they are both expectations of the neighborhood. The contradicting descriptions portray the Vicario twins’ dilemma and produce ambiguity about whether or not or not they are immoral. Their reluctance is additional substantiated as they “looked at [Santiago] a lot more with pity” (15) than with rage or hatred, and effortlessly abided by Clotilde’s request that they “leave him for later” (14). Additionally, Marquez’s selection of twins as the murderers is considerable because they act related to a individual with a split character, because they by no means arrive at a definite decision, which epitomizes their internal struggle. This illuminates the flaws of a patriarchal neighborhood, since their machismo forced them to commit this crime. The twins are conflicted among what the community and the church expects of them, to such an extent, that their internal sense of correct and incorrect is blurred. Certainly, the twins embody the complete town, since everybody in the town is complicit in this crime considering that they were conscious of the twins’ motives and decided not to warn Santiago. More specifically, the twin’s internal conflict is mirrored in the town, as they had been all conscious of the wrongdoing of the twins, and but did not want to be responsible for stopping the Vicario’s type regaining their honor. Marquez introduces this ambiguity about the morality of the selection to murder extremely early on in the novel by way of the contrasting descriptions of the twins, which illustrate their–and the town’s–internal conflicts.

Marquez is in a position to underscore his critique on Colombian beliefs and communities through his incorporation of contrasts and tension so early on in the novel. The very first chapter introduces the flaws of the society, specifically machismo and the community’s eager acceptance of traditions, which are two of the principal motives Santiago is by no means warned, and thus, murdered. Machismo is one particular of the most alarming ideas in the novel, since such behavior today is regarded sexism, and is extensively disputed. Even so, machismo is really much more intense than sexism, because it not only degrades females but also victimizes guys, as noticed with the Vicario twins’ dilemma.
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