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Conner Beihl

Mrs. Balka

IB HL English 11

November 13, 2018

“Chronicle of a Death Foretold” Supervised Essay, Prompt #2

The novel, “Chronicle of a Death Foretold” by Gabriel Márquez is a unique book that

questions society and other parts of the world using many techniques. The book centers around

the mid 20th century Colombian society and its morals and beliefs. Within the novel Márquez

creates this society and picks apart every problem and impurity about the society's morals and

reasonings. Of the ways Márquez does this, his use of honor as a motif is very clear to conveying

his goal and aspirations of ridiculing and questioning the Colombian society in which why he

wrote the book.

To start off, the main character of the novel, Santiago Nasar, was horrifically murdered

and the book itself was about the retelling of the events that led up to his death. The perpetrators

of the murder were the Vicario brothers to whom believed that Santiago had sex with their sister

and took her virginity. Outraged in their newfound knowledge they brought it upon themselves

to kill Santiago ¨in legitimate defense of honor,¨(Márquez 48) because their sister no longer

could marry and this was a blemish to their family honor. What Márquez uses is the idea that the

whole story was about the society's belief in honor and the shear importance of it was worth

killing someone over it. Márquez ridicules such a society to believe that one family´s ¨honor¨
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being slightly tattered must result in someone´s death whether that someone is guilty or not. The

society's morals are inadequate and so Márquez took it upon himself to reveal that their honor

moral was unjust and lacked reasoning in the mid 20th century world.

Later, when it came to the court hearing of the brothers it was their time to attempt

justifying their reasonings and innocence. The brothers believed they were innocent for the

murder that even though they ¨killed [Santiago] openly,¨(Márquez 49) and admitted it to them

being guilty the fact of that ¨´it was a matter of honor´¨(Márquez 49) had made it justified and

alright that they killed Santiago Nasar. Representing the Colombian society, it would be common

that killers and murderers got off scott free from their crime for arguing that it was for their

honor that they committed the crime. As it is obvious that is not a justified or just moral so

Márquez used the novel to ridicule and question the Colombian society, that is it okay to kill

someone only over honor? These morals and beliefs somehow festered in a time period of

change in the world, where civil rights movements were occurring and people were becoming

equals yet one society is still killing each other for honor and Márquez is provoking the

Colombian society to change too because their morals were far from what they should be.

Lastly, the morals and beliefs of the Colombian society were shown and cemented further

when before the Vicario brothers murdered Santiago Nasar and had gone around town before. In

the time before the murder when the brother had went around town, they ¨had told their plans to

more than a dozen people,”(Márquez 58) and yet no one did anything to stop them or to save

Santiago Nasar. Even though news had spread and the whole town pretty much knew of what

was going to happen to Santiago Nasar not a word or action was brought to impede the plans

because everyone understood that it is was for honor. That the whole society decided to take a
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rain check on saving Santiago Nasar because they (too an extent) had sided with the Vicario

brothers killing Santiago to preserve their honor. This exemplifies the Colombian morals the

collective belief that honor was to everyone worth killing someone for, and this is what Márquez

is so deeply attacking because it didn't belong and need to change. The Colombian beliefs were

in the time of the past and it was about time that they changed.

In conclusion, the novel, ¨Chronicle of a Death Foretold¨ by Gabriel Márquz is using the

motif of honor to ridicule and question the morals and beliefs of the mid 20th century Colombian

society. Everyone was changing and it was necessary that the society did too. Their morals were

wrong and did not belong in that time so Márquez questioned it to catalyze that change.