Presentation and Role of Religion in Chronicle of a Death Foretold Essay

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Chronicle of a Death Foretold is set in Columbia, where the extreme theocentricity means every character’s actions are intrinsically affected by religion. Whilst Marquez also explores much deeper religious issues, the action of the novel centres on the God-fearing townspeople allowing the murder of Santiago Nasar, which clearly contradicts the Christian commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’1 Since female virginity is so venerated in the Catholic faith, when Santiago is accused of taking Angela Vicario’s virginity, her life would be worthless without it, and Angela’s brothers are charged with redeeming her honour. The novel can boil down to the assertion that a
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One in particular is the town mayor, Colonel Lázaro Aponte, who as a result of the incident became “a spiritualist.”10 His faith was not the only character’s to falter under the strain of justifying murder. In fact, the faith of the older generation seemed already to have dwindled, as is notable in Plácida and Luisa. The younger generation, including the narrator and Angela follow suit, as Angela states “The only thing I prayed to God for was to give me the courage to kill myself…but he didn’t give it to me.”11 She also resents the gluttony of the Church12, asserting that she “didn’t want to be blessed by a man who only cut off the combs for soup and threw the rest of the rooster in the garbage.”13 Angela’s radical discontent with the Church is presumably Marquez’s suggestion of a wider disillusionment with religion, beginning to seep through the more contemplative members of the novel’s characters, and perhaps even the real South American people.

The immoral waste that Angela refers to is part of a much wider hypocritical routine. This includes the “mechanical”14 blessing the Bishop bestows upon the town as he passes by, not bothering even to stop the boat to greet his flock. This event indicates the Church has long-since ceased to be a charitable establishment, and is now effectively a totalitarian