Chronicle of a Death Foretold

‘Crónica de una muerte anunciada is a narrative of horrifying ritual and social rigidity.’ College

The definition of a ‘crónica’ is a factual account of important or historical events in the order of their occurrence. García Márquez’s novel, far from being chronological, involves the chronic repetition and re-enacting of events over and over, pointing to a turning-over in the mind of the events which speaks to collective guilt. While the majority of the townsfolk seem to point to an incomprehensible fate[1] as the cause of the crime, the narrator has returned to the town several decades after the crime was committed, still disturbed by the uncanny chain of coincidences that led to Santiago Nasar’s brutal murder. Key questions are left unanswered in the novel: we never know who deflowered Ángela, or who left the letter of warning under Santiago’s door. However, these questions become less relevant as the culpability of the town as a collective becomes more and more apparent. It is the rigidity of social obligation, the meek acceptance of ‘fate’, and the horrifying practice of scapegoating that stand as the principal causes of the recorded events and the repetitive, neurotic narrative certainly points to a sort of collective neurosis brought on by this guilt.

From the opening sentence of the novel, we are aware of the...

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