How is the cultural value of machismo presented through Santiago Nasar and Bayardo San Roman in Chronicle of a Death Foretold?How do these 2 characters examplify Machismo

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Machismo is a cultural value that bestows upon men rights and privileges that would never be thought to be worthy of women. It is entirely based on gender, and not on the ethical treatment of every member of society as an equal. Moreover, machismo carries with it a sense of entitlement that is dependent on factors such as virility, strength and psychological domination. This being said, machismo is not only expected to take an effect on women as a "weaker sex", but also on weaker and less able males who become followers of what is commonly known as the more powerful "Alpha Male". This is a direct comparison to the way in which canines are equally submissive to the "Alpha Dog", or the most dominant dog of the pack.

Bayardo San Roman is the epitome of the "macho de monte" or town's alpha male. His character is crafted exquisitely to present all the common denominators of the true "man's man". First, he is the son of a distinguished and wealthy hero of the civil war, the General Petronio San Roman. Mysterious and enigmatic, 30 year-old Bayardo has only been in town for a mere six months, and is already claiming the want of a wife. His money, his arrogant and powerful presence, his looks, and his obvious dominance of psyche and conversation create him into the true Alpha Male of the town, which is forgiven everything. His looks even evoke the almost royal presence of character of the bullfighter. He had

the waist of a novice bullfighter, gold eyes, and a skin slowly roasted by saltpeter

He also arrives in the town dressed like a true "macho the monte" complete with tight pants, calfskin jacket, silver-tipped boots, saddlebag and the likes of a cowboy. All women are in love with him, and all men are impressed indeed.

This makes both males and females accept him immediately, and basically bow to his demands. When he purchases the home of the widower Xius, the man dies shortly after under the idea that he had just "sold out" the memories of the home that he had shared with his dead wife. However, at the sight of "ten bundles of thousand-peso notes", the poor widower could not resist. Neither could resist the Vicarios, and therefore, they "gave him" Angela as his intended bride. Machismo is accentuated when Bayardo feels offended that Angela is not a virgin. This is what ultimate leads to the problem of the story, which is the false accusation that Angela Vicario makes against Santiago Nasar.

Santiago Nasar also conveys the sense of a man's man. At 20 years old, he is admired for his sense of loyalty to the family business after the death of his father, the Arab immigrant Ibrahim Nasar. Santiago "plays like a man" as well: he is into falcons, weapons, and is known to be courageous and to have valor. He is also somewhat of a flirt, as he is engaged but still quite interested in Divina Flor. It is the combination of looks, money, and physical prowess that distinguishes Santiago as a man to be respected, and admired. However, the information that we get from the narrator places Santiago in an equally enigmatic position as Bayardo; we are not quite sure of whether every trait passed on from the one-sided narrator is actually true, or if it is just town-based embellishment. It could also be an attempt to "even out" the rivals to see who was more macho than the other. However, we can ascertain that Santiago is still the innocent victim of the novel.


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