Chronicle of a Death Foretold

by Gabriel García Márquez

Start Free Trial

Student Question

What does Marquez suggest about religion's role and importance in Chronicle of a Death Foretold?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

"The only thing I prayed to God for was to give me the courage to kill myself," Angela Vicario told me. "But he didn't give it to me."

The Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who won the Nobel Prize in 1982, published Chronicle of a Death Foretold in 1983, and it tends to get overshadowed by his longer, more popular books such as One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. The novel's relatively simple plot is about the murder of Santiago Nasar, a rancher in a small town.

Marquez's use of and commentary on religion in the novel are subtle and mostly in the background. Colombia, like much of Latin America, is a Catholic country, a legacy of colonialism, and Marquez was no doubt raised in this culture, even though I don't believe he ever identified himself as religious and he flirted with socialism.

Religion is in the social and cultural fabric of the village where the book is set. The doomed protagonist is going to meet a bishop on the first page; there is a priest, Father Carmen Amador, who is a minor character; and characters often mention God.

Likewise, Marquez deals with themes that, if not explicitly religious, are certainly rooted in a certain moral, religious understanding, such as innocence and guilt, sexual purity, and how to treat your neighbors. Yet there seems to be tension between Marquez's concept of fate, which hast more in common with the Greeks, and the divine plan of God, which a more traditionally religious sensibility would embrace.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial