Chronicle of a Death Foretold

by Gabriel García Márquez

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What is the critic's statement, "It was not chance but malice that prevented Santiago Nasar from being warned in his house." based on in Chronicles of a Death Foretold?

A critic states: "Fatalidad is a refusal to see socio-political causes (ethnic prejudice, dogmatic religion, extreme materialism, sexual harassment, class antagonism) behind what seems to be chance or coincidence."

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The story that unfolds in Chapter 1 of Chronicles of a Death Foretold, is wrapped in the irony of Santiago Nasar going to meet the Bishop at the pier. In another layer of irony, which doubles as foreshadowing, the Bishop does not disembark from the boat as Santiago stands, expectantly waiting, on the pier. This is both irony and foreshadowing because the Bishop's passing by can be metaphorically understood as the withholding of blessing. The reason for Santigo's death, which may be interpreted as a withheld blessing, involves the twins' sister Angela who is returned to her father after her wedding because her groom discovers she is not a virgin. This represents many kinds of outrage. Angela is humilated and cast aside by her groom as worthless. The Vicario family is dishonored and humilated. Angela's (note the irony of the symbolism of her name linking her to angel) twin brothers must act in revenge. The town becomes co-conspirators in the revenge.

The story reveals that it is Santigo who is responsible for Angela's loss of virginity and thus must die by an act of fatal revenge. The critic you quote posits that chance did not enter into the absence of a warning because essentially the whole town was complicit in (i.e., indirectly participating in) the carrying out of the Vicario's revenge against Santiago. This complicity attests to malice, which is shared outrage at his violation of Angela's womanhood and of her family's honor. The critic may even go so far as to say that it was part of the complicity that the town kept Margot from learning of the impending revenge act because they knew she would try to warn him. Therefore the critic's comment is based upon the nature of the village moral system and upon what the critic calls the "socio-economic causes" that drove the revenge, the complicity, and the silence.

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