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A chronicle of a death foretold - Honor vs. Religion.

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Introduction

Tim Stefanou AP Lang Comp Honor vs. Religion Chronicle of a Death Foretold, by Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, is a story that brings one to question the code of honor that exists in the Columbian town. Marquez' paints a picture that shows how societal values, such as honor, have become more important than the inherent good of human life. The Vicario brothers' belief that their sister was done wrong was brought upon by this honor, along with racial and social tension. The dangerous path of both honor and religious faith caused Santiago's untimely death. "'Before God and before men,' Pablo Vicario said. 'It was a matter of honor'" (Marquez 56). In the town honor is taken very seriously and any action taken to protect one's own honor or family's honor is never questioned. If someone loses their honor, they automatically become an outcast in the society. Angela Vicario's father had "lost his sight from doing so much fine work in gold in order to maintain the honor of the house" (33). ...read more.

Middle

In the town though, honor is not defined by race or color. The Vicario brothers are cousins to Santiago, yet when Santiago died the Arab families were "perplexed and sad...but none harbored the ideas of vengeance" (94). After they killed Santiago, the brothers went to the parish house, not for repentance, but because they would be "safe from the Arabs" (91) and "were comforted by the honor of having done their duty, and the only thing that worried them was the persistence of the smell [of death]" (91). Before their release, their mother Pura asked Father Amador "to confess her sons in jail, but Pedro Vicario refused, and convinced his brother that they had nothing to repent" (95). That scene gives the reader a picture of how the twins viewed the killing as being above their religion, as if it is an even higher power. Marquez tries to explain that honor can be used as a way to justify an unjust or rash action. ...read more.

Conclusion

Guilt in God's eyes became separate from the guilt that comes from the town's eyes. Since the honor system is corrupt, the religious beliefs found in the community are also shady. The nun is found to be drunk and the bishop does not get off his ship that he is traveling on and instead asks to eat cock-comb soup, one that is costly to make and considered to be a sexual innuendo. He only offers his blessing on the boat nearly a few hundred yards off shore. The people take pride in how they are of religious faith, yet a whorehouse and constant sexual relations saturates everyone in the town. Marquez in Chronicle of a Death Foretold attempts to show that people naturally blur the interpretation of their own beliefs. The honor code that exists in the town is merely outdated. The hypocritical system of honor and religion breeds infidelity, murder, and deceit. The Vicario brothers abused honor and God's repentance as reasons for their act. In this town, religion and honor can be a dangerous force to merge, and Santiago Nasar was an innocent victim right in the way. ...read more.

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