Chronicle of a Death Foretold

by Gabriel García Márquez

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What is Marquez's message about love in Chronicle of a Death Foretold, especially in relation to the statements "Love is like falconry," "Love can be learned," and "Honor is love"?

Quick answer:

The theme is love, but it is kind of a twisted idea. Love can be learned, when people need to learn it. Honor can seem like love, but it’s not the same thing. Angela’s brothers loved her enough to kill Santiago for dishonoring her. The story you are given as an example seems to just be an arbitrary story that Marquez made up. It would be difficult, probably impossible, to interpret this story in light of the novel being critiqued and support your interpretation with evidence from the novel itself rather than outside sources.

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You did not include the passages, but I have some thoughts on the theme.

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...

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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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Perhaps I can point you to an approach that would work.  Each one of these statements about love seem to be ironic ones.  They are stated as truths, but in each case, when these truths supposedly are applied, they become a formula for disaster.  Falconry is a sport, a hunting sport. Falcons are trained and used to hunt prey.  We see the courting rituals of Bayardo, who attempts to capture his prey--Angela.  He uses his money as biat and a trap. 

When Angela resists, her mother comments that "love can be learned."  Angela marries Bayardo to comply with the wishes of her family, who are selling her off to the richest man they have ever known.  Bayardo upon finding out that she is not a virgin returns her, as if she were damaged goods.  A relationship that is begun with such fragile beginnings has no hope of growing. 

The last statement, "honor is love," can be taken ironically as well.  The Vicario twins act out of duty, or a sense of honor, to avenge the perpetrator who took their sister's virginity. But they do not act out of love.  Bayardo acts out of honor when he returns Angela to her home.   

In other words, the characters seem to believe that they are acting according the dictates of society.  In actually, Marquez shows how complex relationships are and that no rules truly govern them.  Characters will use honor or money as excuses for their actions, but in reality these ideas are not truly connected to love.  Love is not falconry.  It is not a cat and mouse game.  Neither can it be learned through forcing two people together because one has money and the other does not.  It is also not honor, at least the way honor is portrayed in the novel--as a justification for murder or  for publicly humiliating a young bride.

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