Essay Topic: The Role and Significance of the Cult of Virginity as a reflection of the hypocrisy in society, in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold.
Word Count: 1598
Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s evocative novel, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, is remarkable in that it not only portrays the impact of one man’s death in a small town in Columbia but also makes the reader ponder over the prevailing cults in Latin America such as the cult of virginity and the cult of machismo. Marquez uses the prominence of the Cult of Virginity to reflect the hypocrisy found in a society, and does so by heightening the expectations of an ideal woman, questioning what defines a victim in society and evoking the weaknesses within this Cult of Virginity. Hypocrisy, in this context means the contrast in the treatment of women versus the treatment of men. Marquez reflects on the double standards prevailing in the Columbian society through various literary devices such as style, language and imagery.
Marquez highlights the importance of the Cult of Virginity in the 1980’s Columbian society where most of the people were Catholic Christians. The Cult is an amalgamation of the beliefs of the people in the Columbian town, where they deem that honor is gained from chastity before marriage. The cult creates these obstinate parameters that women need to abide by in order to be accepted in society. Marquez adopts an ironical tone while exposing these strictures for women to show how the women are taught to be obedient and subservient in the patriarchal society. In the case of Angela Vicario, “it was imposed on her, the obligation to marry a man whom she had barely seen”. If a woman is found to be violating her stereotyped gender role, she becomes the “profanation of the symbols of purity”. Marquez has very successfully blended a historical account with fiction in order to show that men want women to be virgins not because of religion that advocates for virginity but for the mere grounds of satiating their expansive and almost uncontrollable sexual appetite. He exposes the diabolical nature and religious hypocrisy of men who openly practice the cult of machismo and dominate the women in the name of religion.