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Published: 14-09-2019

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The use of symbols in characterizing and foretelling the death f Nasar

Gabriel Garcia Marquez incorporates and emphasizes various symbols such as the falcon, linen and boat to aid foreshadow and characterize the murder of the principal character, Santiago Nasar, in the novella “Chronicle of a Death Foretold”. Even if the readers know that Santiago Nasar will be murdered from the initial sentence of the book, they are constantly browsing and believing that something will prevent his death from occurring. The author utilizes symbols present in the Latin American culture to construct up tension and suspense in the novel as they reaffirm that his death was destined and absolutely nothing or no one could have prevented it, destroying the readers’ hope.

The 1st symbol readers are confronted with is an animal, the falcon, which appears in the epigraph. The falcon in Christian tradition is a symbol which represents evil. The wild falcon is a predator that attacks other birds. Garcia Marquez uses lines from a poem of a 16th century’s poet, Gil Vicente, as the epigraph to the novel: “The hunt for love/is haughty falconry”. These verses are a summary of the complete novel and serve to foreshadow Santiago Nasar’s death as his alleged love story with Ángela Vicario provokes his assassination by her brothers to defend the family’s honor. As the hawk who when sighted the prey relentlessly goes after it, the brothers Vicario as soon as they know the name of the man who deflowered her ordain to take his life. When analysing the diction, one particular can note that 3 words “hunt”, “haughty” and “falconry” characterize the dynamic element of the book whilst only one particular word, “love”, gives us the motif. In addition, the imaginary of these verses underlined by the use of the words “hunt” and “falconry” appeal to the readers’ senses by generating the image of an animal getting hunted. Additionally, these two words are linked with the animal kingdom which leads the readers to characterize Santiago Nasar’s death with animal-like qualities such as inhuman, brute violence, grotesque and irrationality. This will result in getting the case as his death was inhuman, symbolized by the use of crude pig knives to kill him. Brutal as he was stabbed repeatedly, practically slaughtered, grotesque as in the last moment of his life he was holding his intestine. Irrational since although absolutely everyone knows that he will be killed, no one particular will act and prevent it from occurring. This epigraph builds up tension in the readers as they know that the book will be about the search and murder of a man characterized by brute violence and inhuman qualities.

The novel is set in a little village in South America which has really sturdy Christian religious roots as a result, the second symbol representing death is linen as this was the cloth utilized to wrap Jesus Christ when he died. Santiago Nasar is described numerous times with characteristics and symbols resembling Jesus Christ. “Santiago Nasar put on a shirt and pants of white linen, each items unstarched, just like the ones he’d place on the day prior to for the wedding” (web page 3). The reality that Santiago Nasar wears white linen clothes recalls Jesus Christ and foreshadows his death. In the Jewish tradition, in preparation for the burial, the body is thoroughly cleaned and wrapped in a simple, plain linen shroud. Jesus, as well, was wrapped in a linen shroud and buried. The author dresses Santiago Nasar with white linen as if he were already dead, telling by means of the symbolism that his fate has currently been written. Furthermore, this quotation shows that white linen clothes have been his dress code for special occasions and he was unconsciously going to a unique occasion, considerably more unique that the arrival of the bishop, his personal death. This is underlined by the use of the word “unstarched” as the bands with which dead bodies had been wrapped in have been unstarched as they needed to be flexible, while clothes, specifically ceremonial clothing in South America, are often starched so that the clothing appears ironed and keeps its shape. This foreshadows that Santiago Nasar’s death was predicated. The Vicario brothers had predicted to kill him ever considering that they have been told he was the 1 who took their sister’s virginity and they announced it to the complete village.

Jesus Christ’s death was also predicted as it was pointed out by Old Testament’s prophets, and later predetermined by Christ himself at the final supper increasing the similarity with the novel. In addition, the white colour in the Christian religion is linked with purity and innocence: this foreshadows the truth that Santiago Nasar like Jesus Christ, when again, was killed for sins he had by no means committed, but rather for the conventional values and sins of their respective societies. Santiago Nasar was blamed unjustly on the basis of Angela Vicario’s basic words and from that moment he was destined to die in order to uphold the conventional code of honor given that the Vicario’s family members would regain its honor only with Nasar’s death. On the other hand, Jesus Christ was killed to uphold the tradition of the Jewish religion as he defied and outraged the Rabbis by claiming He was God. The use of the symbol linen makes the murder of Santiago Nasar related to the one of Jesus Christ he was the lamb that had to be sacrificed for the collective sins of the town and his death was written in destiny.

On the first web page of the book we are introduced to one more symbol representing death, the boat. “On the day they were going to kill him, Santiago Nasar got up at five-thirty in the morning to wait for the boat the bishop was coming on.” The author tells the readers correct away that Santiago Nasar will be killed and at the identical time, he introduces the symbol of the boat, a boat that need to arrive that day at the village. The significance that Santiago Nasar attaches to the boat arrival is so fantastic that it appears to the readers that the boat is coming specifically for him. The boat has usually symbolized the signifies of transportation amongst the world of the living and the dead. Each the Egyptians and the Greeks imagined that the soul of the deceased was carried on a boat amongst the globe of the living and the dead: the Underworld was separated from the globe of the living by a river. The boat actually comes for him and instead of running away, he wait for it, for his death. The structure of the sentence is typical of journalism, easy and linear it contrasts with the narrative content material, which is complete of references to the classical tradition and Latin American literature. The boat is described once more when departing on web page 15: “It appeared at the bend in the river, snorting like a dragon, and then the band of musicians started to play the bishop’s anthem, and the cocks began to crow in their baskets and aroused all the other roosters in town.” The boat is parallel with the visual imagery of a dragon. The dragon is seen as the strongest and most feared animal as it spits burning fire which can additional make an allusion to hell.

The departure of the boat is followed by crows from the cocks. The cock has far more than a single meaning as a symbol: on the one particular hand, it represents virility and also lust, that are the factors why Santiago Nasar will be killed, but on the other hand, there is also the warning cock of St. Peter which reminds us that Peter denied the Lord and let him go to his fate, which is in fact what the villagers will do by permitting a murder to be committed. The crow of the cocks therefore foreshadows the actions of the villagers failing to alert and prevent the murder. The diction employed in this quotation tends to make continuous reference to the animal kingdom as the author declares that the cultural context of the citizens will make them act inhumanely and irrationally throughout the murder.

Santiago Nasar’s death was announced in the first line of the novel and so it occurs. In truth, death is the main character of the novella: in every single page the reader can locate a reference to his death either directly or indirectly via the use of symbols. Moreover, the dichotomy between the style standard of the news as it is also indicated by the title of the novella and the content material which enhances in the dynamics of the story of the function of the symbols we have analyzed: the falcon, linen and boat. The symbols permit his death to be foreshadowed, characterized and declared nicely before it occurs. In my opinion, death is the driver of the action as if the characters were only puppets. Nevertheless, Gabriel Garcia Marquez is able to maintain the tension and suspense till the last sentence, which leaves this remarkably thoughtful, precise and uniquely styled novella opened to the readers’ interpretation.
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