Attacks on Religious Figures in Chronicle of a Death Foretold, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Attacks on Religious Figures in Chronicle of a Death Foretold, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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In Columbian culture, society is hierarchical in which authority figures, mainly those involved in religion and justice, are considered to have a great deal of influence and responsibility towards the town they preside over. In Chronicle of a Death Foretold, written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Marquez attacks this idea and suggests that these figures are superficial and unimportant. He does this mainly through the religious and judicial figures of the Bishop, priest, police officer and the colonel as authority figures that ignore their duties, thus making authority in the village in illusion.

Catholicism plays an important part in Columbian society as it influences a number of its actions and beliefs. Thus, prominent religious figures, much like the bishop and the priest, are highly respected as well as having an impact on the villagers. When the bishop arrives at the village, the blessing given is listless, as the bishop only makes ‘the sign of the cross in the air opposite the crowd in the pier’, which was ‘without malice or inspiration’ (16). Here, Marquez is attacking religion in the sense that it’s disappearing from the village, as he describes the bishop’s blessing as a ‘fleeting illusion’ (16). Moreover, the actions of the bishop are ironic. Rather than the bishop conveying the ideals of Catholicism, as he should do because it is his responsibility as a bishop, he acts apathetically. He doesn’t put much effort into his blessing and doesn’t even get off the boat. This shows Marquez’ opinion of authority figures, which are that authority figures are indifferent in helping out the village in creating a better Catholic society. Thus, lack of Catholic ideals causes the villagers to become susceptible to the influence of nega...

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...tos ‘had reported it to a policeman … Leandro Pornoy’ (53). Pornoy then goes to Clotilde Armenta’s shop, where he begins ‘chatting with the brothers’, and then finally goes to Colonel Lazaro Aponte where he ‘revealed the Vicario brothers’ intentions to him’ (55). By Faustino Santos immediately trusting that Leandro Pornoy would take action suggests that on the surface, authority figures seem to be respected and trusted, however the truth is that they don’t do much and just pass the responsibility onto someone else. The act of passing on the obligation symbolises that authority figures lack initiative and are lazy. Even though Leandro Pornoy has an excellent opportunity to arrest the Vicario brothers, he just ends up chatting with them and does not help to stop the murder. Again, an authority figure has proven to not fulfil his duties, making authority an illusion.

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