Chronicle of a Death Foretold

by Gabriel García Márquez
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What ultimately is Marquez saying about love in Chronicles of a Death Foretold?   The theme of this novel is love. How is it true that “Love is like falconry" and "Love can be learned" and "Honor is love."

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The phrases: “Love is like falconry," "Love can be learned," and "Honor is love" are ironies. Marquez does not mean to state them as truths. He states them in order to elicit the emotions of anger that arise from the atmosphere and tone of injustice that permeates the novella. If they were true, these phrases would still tell more about the society in which this "love" develops more than they would tell about the act of love itself.

Ultimately, Marquez is saying that, in his society, love is tantamount to forcible action, demands, submission, compliance, and abiding by roles. He is actually stating how wrongly love is perceived in his society.

"Love is like falconry." This phrase is not Garcia Marquez's. It is a phrase he cites from Gil Vicente, the most celebrated dramatist of Portugal.

La caza de amor
es de altanería.

Here is how it is ironic. Falcons are ruthless animals with their prey. To tame a falcon, would be to learn the ancient art of controlling one of the world's most independent animals. It would be tantamount to "mastering the master." Hence, to view love as an act of control and submission tells a lot about the society in which this type of love develops.

It is a rough society with masters and servants, primary and secondary citizens, and with its own rules. It is a society where expectations are demanded of genders, not of people. It is a violent, chauvinistic, and ruthless society. Such is the society in which Gabriel Garcia Marquez, ironically, developed his magical realism, and the society in which he bases Chronicles.

As such, it is no surprise that Marquez chooses Gil Vicente's quote, "The pursuit of love is like falconry," to expose the society in which Chronicles of a Death Foretold is based out of. He is not only juxtaposing two totally opposite activities, love and falconry, but he is also showing his society for what it is: ridiculous, violent, pathetic. Only in a world with horrid standards could love be possibly connected with falconry.

"Love can be learned" is an extension of the falconry phrase. The women of the story, all second-class Latin American citizens, are subjected to the demands of men. They even act against one another in order to preserve the roles expected, nay, demanded, of their gender. Therefore, to them, love is not a choice, or a naturally grown emotion. It is yet one more lesson to be learned as the secondary characters that they are forced to be. They are to love who they are told to love, and they better like it. Such is the world of chauvinism.

"Honor is love" is the phrase that completes the "trifecta" of irony regarding love and Garcia Marquez. The honor killings that take place in Chronicles on behalf of Angela's honor would only would make sense in the minds of narrow-minded individuals like those in the novella. That honor is equated to love is yet another pathetic attempt at justifying the killing of another human being in a society where violence is not just expected, but encouraged.

In all, all three phrases are ironic, and that is the point of using them. Love is nothing like falconry. They are two entirely different things. Love is not a learned behavior, either; it is an emotion. Honor is honor, and love is love. They are not the same thing. These are examples of the genius of Garcia Marquez, and how he uses phrases and words to elicit in us questions and emotions that makes us wonder further about ourselves and those around us.

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Falconry is a sport in which birds are trained to hunt.  These lines are quoted from a poem by Gil Vicente: “the pursuit of love/ is like falconry.”  The idea is that love kind of sneaks up on you.  At first, you find and train the falcon with the objective of hunting, but then you become attached to it and cannot get along without it.

The idea that love can be learned applies to people who have suffered such difficult events in their lives that they have not learned how to love in childhood, when most people do.  Angela’s misery, for example, is based on her early experiences with love and losing her honor.  She can recover, and learn to love.

Honor is love is an interesting theme, because Angela’s loss of honor is what spins the story into motion.  By trying desperately to regain her honor for her, her brothers demonstrate their love for her.



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