Sunday, January 25, 2009

Chronicle of a Death Foretold Essay, NOT FINAL COPY

Ignorance means Death: in Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Ignorance killed Santiago Nasar. In Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez, the narrator claims that the Vicario twins are responsible for the death of Santiago but society’s disinterest and ignorance let them kill him. Specifically, three people are as guilty of the murder as the twins who stabbed him. Leandro Pornoy, Colonel Lazaro Aponte, and Divina Flor each had an opportunity to stop the twins on their destructive path but failed due to ignorance. After hearing of the violent murder plans, these three should have become more involved to stop the bloodshed. Although some weak attempts were made to stop the murders, Leandro Pornoy, Colonel Lazaro Aponte and Divina Flor attempts were half-hearted and lacked the effort to stop the determined Vicario brothers.
The first person to take no action to stop the Vicario brothers is Leandro Pornoy, a town police officer who failed to take any action to stop the twins on their violent mission. Officer Pornoy died a year after Santiago Nasar and was never questioned by the narrator but he was warned about the twins’ plans during two occasions on the morning of Santiago’s murder. When the twins arrived at the meat market early Friday morning to sharpen their butcher knives, the butchers assumed the twins still drunk from the night before. So they ignored Pablo when he declared, “We’re going to kill Santiago Nasar.” Only Faustino Santos, a butcher, “perceived a glimmer of truth in Pablo Vicario’s threat. . .” Faustino informs Leandro about the brother’s suspicious behavior and Pablo’s open declaration when he comes for liver for the mayor’s breakfast. Leandro ignorance of how to deal with situation is so great that he does not even inquire into the situation but only mentions it to Colonel Aponte. Apparently he hopes to leave his job of keeping the peace to the dim-witted mayor.
Later in Clotilde Armenta’s milk shop, where the twins wait for Santiago, Clotilde watches “the twins chatting with Officer Leandro Pornoy, who was coming for the mayor’s milk. She didn’t hear what they were talking about, but she supposed that they had told him something of their plans from the way he looked at the knives when he left.” So while it is confirmed that Officer Pornoy discussed the twins’ plans, his ignorance on how to handle the situation allows him to make no effort to resolve the conflict or even take away their weapons.
Colonel Lazaro Aponte, the incompetent mayor of Macobo, the small town where the tragic events occur, received multiple reports of the Vicario brother’s plans and two chances to stop them. At each opportunity Colonel Lazaro Aponte fails to save Santiago from a violent death due to his ignorance and simplemindedness. Lazaro Aponte hears of the plot to murder Santiago Nasar first from Leandro Pornoy. Officer Leandro arrives as he finishes shaving but his ignorant simplistic mind ignores the gravity of the situation. Only when his wife raises her concern over the rumors that Angela was returned home during the last night does he understand the connection between twins and their plan to murder Santiago Nasar. He seeks out the brothers but decides the twins seem fairly sober. He does not take their threat seriously because they are not drunk. Colonel Aponte takes their knives but does not consider that the brothers are butchers and could find more knives. The ignorant mayor pushes all thoughts of the brothers firmly from his mind as soon as he walks away.
After taking the Vicario twin’s knives, it does not occur to Colonel Aponte that the twins were pig butchers and could find more weapons to murder Santiago with until Cristo Bedoya warns the mayor that they have the knives. The ignorant mayor responds with, “then they must have come back with two new ones,” like it was the first time he considered that there were more than two knives in Macobo. Even at this point Colonel Aponte might have been able to save Santiago but he decides to be puerile and go “into social club to check on a date for dominos that night.” The mayor’s ignorance of the situation and general stupidity caused Santiago his life.
Divina Flor, the teenage daughter of Victoria Guzmán is confused with the situation that leads to Santiago’s death. Her mother was the mistress of Ibraham Nasar and hated Ibraham for it. After his death, she learns to hate his son because she is sure that Santiago will use Divina as Ibraham used Victoria. Seeing Santiago always overwhelms Divina Flor with emotions she can not yet define or begin to understand. Although her mother tries to protect her and never leave her alone with him, Santiago finds the opportunities to touches her in ways she does not like. Divina Flor also believes that Santiago’s actions and her mother’s distrust of him means that Santiago Nasar wants to harm her. She knows of the plot to kill Santiago, but in her ignorance, she follows her mother’s directions and does not tell him of the note before he leaves to see the bishop. Divina Flor is too young and ignorant of the current and past situations to decide the proper course of action. She does not want to oppose her Victoria and let Santiago know that the twins are waiting to kill him but her fear of him is enough for her to decide to keep her distance from him. Divina Flor is so ignorant of the situation that she does as she thinks her mother would want her to do and tells Placida that Santiago already came into the house. This last act of ignorance was the final chance to save Santiago Nasar’s life but Divina is too young and ignorant to deviate from her mother’s example.


Colonel Aponte’s negligence to keep the peace of his town and stop a murder that he had opportunity to is caused by his indifference to the situation.

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