Presentation and Role of Religion in Chronicle of a Death Foretold

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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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The reader will also discern the scores of parallels able to be drawn between Santiago and Jesus Christ, making Santiago a literary ‘Christ-figure’. Both were somewhat outcast, in Santiago’s case because he was not a native Columbian. This makes it easier for the town to allow Santiago’s death, and make him the scapegoat. The town’s unwillingness to save Santiago is similar to the Jews choosing to have Jesus killed rather than a murderer. In both cases, those who had the chance to save the innocent man felt terrible afterwards. Jesus had foretold his own death, and although Santiago was blissfully unaware of his demise until it befell him, the narrator states ‘never was there a death more foretold.’ In dying for the sake of Angela Vicario’s honour, Santiago is sacrificed for the sins of others, which was also Jesus’ purpose in dying. In addition, the seven fatal wounds Santiago suffers probably represent the Seven Deadly sins.
Even the way in which Santiago was murdered is akin to the Romans’ killing of Jesus. “The knife went through the palm of his right hand and then sank into his side up to the hilt.”8 The Romans ensured their victims were dead by stabbing them in the side, their hands having been pierced by being nailed to the crucifix. Incidentally, the Vicarios’ knives “kept coming out clean”9, which denotes Santiago’s innocence. This is amplified by his Christ-like appearance that day, dressed in white. Finally, since Santiago eventually dies in the

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