Chronicle of a Death Fortold, by Gabriel Marquez, is concerned with death in life and life in death.
It was rainy on the day of Santiago Nasar’s murder, and yet by the account of others, it
was not. His death is so mingled with illusory images that everything seems mystified: much like
death itself. The fact that the story is about how a death consumes the lives of the entire town as
well as the victim, shows that it is concerned with death in life and asks us to evaluate our own
Not only is the story concerned with death in life on the literary level, but the people of
the town feel obliged to honor and offer gifts to a bishop that doesn’t even like the town. It is
perhaps because they fear if they do not keep their faith, they are putting in jeopardy their fate after
death; this is the primary concern of all religions, life after death and fear of the unknown. “For
years we couldn’t talk about anything else. . .and it was obvious that we weren’t doing it from an
urge to clear up mysteries but because none of us could go on living without an exact knowledge of
the place and the mission assigned to us by fate”(113).
“?All right, girl,’ he said to her, trembling with rage, ?tell us who it was’. . .’Santiago
Nasar,’ she said”(53). Whether or not Santiago Nasar was the reason behind Angela Vicario’s lost
honor, his death shapes and defines her life afterwards. Many in the town describe her as being a
woman half in mourning and the narrator is amazed at how she ends up understanding her own life
despite how much she was made to die in life(101).
Chronicle of a Death Fortold makes us look at life and death and face uncertainty about
our future. Because it questions death and our belief in religion, it depreciates, in a sense, our
strong belief in the glories of afterlife. Like the narrator, maybe we, “couldn’t bring ouselves to
admit that life might end up resembling bad literature so much”(102). It makes us think that we
should be content now, and not later, and that the intermingling of life and death is not purely
coincidental, but perhaps one is no greater than the other.