Honor is the dominant theme of Garcia’ Marquez novella, and the town’s residents are committed to avenging a stain on any individual’s honor. The question of male control remains debatable, as numerous women play active roles in the string of incidents that lead to Santiago’s death. In the local way of thinking, an insult to one person is an insult to the community. Although Bayardo was not local, he was wealthy and his marriage to Angela would have elevated her status. On the evening after their wedding, however, he discovers (or decides) that she is not a virgin.
Angela is the key character because all other events proceed from her actions and statements. The reader never learns definitively how Angela lost her virginity, or if she gave it willingly or, as she states, was raped. Her own mother advised her to preserve her virtuous reputation before the wedding. Afterward, she names Santiago Nasar as her rapist. While this insult will affect the whole town, it most directly affects her family. Her brothers are obligated to exact vengeance on the man who ruined their sister, however much they might prefer not to kill anyone, much less the affable Santiago. Although the whole town talks of the upcoming killing, and any number of steps could have been taken to prevent it, ultimately the deed must be done. Because Angela was the injured party and Pedro an Pablo are her brothers, the burden falls on them. Despite being apprehended and imprisoned, they are ultimately released. After the murder, Angela wants to reclaim her right as Bayardo’s wife, but he will not retract his rejection.