“But if it be a sin to covet honor, / I am the most offending soul alive” (Shakespeare IV, iii, 28-29), King Henry states Shakespeare’s play in Henry V. Even as a king, which represents the highest of the societal hierarchy, Henry is constantly concerned with the matter of maintaining “honor”. Regardless of the time of era or class, honor seems to be prioritized within the society. The desire to maintain honor sometimes drives people’s actions. In Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Gabriel García Márquez depicts a Spanish family that is not afraid of committing immoral deeds to preserve its honor. Similarly, Honoré de Balzac portrays French men striving to sustain “the name” in Eugénie Grandet. In both Chronicle of a Death Foretold and Eugénie Grandet, characters’ motives to preserve family’s honor reveal that honor persists even during times of immorality.
In Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Vicario family’s name is besmirched when Bayardo San Román, Angela Vicario’s husband, discovers that she is not a virgin. People doubts “that Angela Vicario wasn’t a virgin. She hadn’t known any previous fiancé and she’d grown up along with her sisters under the rigor of a mother of iron” (Márquez 37). The word iron is both a metaphor and a hyperbole which characterizes Pura Vicario as an austere mother. The use of hyperbole through dictions such as “mother of iron” further exaggerates moral firmness of Pura Vicario. Pura Vicario then “holds [her daughter] by the hair with one hand and beat [her] with the other with such rage that [she] thought [her mother] was going to kill [her]” (Márquez 46). Throughout the novel, Pura Vicario demonstrates strictness and austerity to protect the family’s honor. Furthermore, Pura Vicario ul...
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...ealth and money. Therefore, Chronicle of a Death Foretold and Eugénie Grandet differ in regaining the honor, the former by committing a murder and the latter by purchasing a name. Yet regardless of the class and what their honor consist of, the honor is valued. Gabriel García Márquez and Honoré de Balzac both build distinct characters by change in characteristics or portraying characters’ sole motive in preserving honor which conveys that honor prevails in any society even when situations may cue for immoral actions.
Balzac, Honoré. Eugénie Grandet. New Yrok: Oxford University Press Inc., 1990. 37-73. Print.
Márquez, Gabriel García. Chronicle of a Death Foretold. 1st Vintage International ed. New York: Random House Inc., 2003. 43-184. Print.
Shakespeare, William. King Henry V. Cambridge, Great Britain: The Univeristy of Cambridge, 1992. 166. Print.
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