Love in the Time of Cholera

by: Gabriel García Márquez

Important Quotations Explained

[Lorenzo Daza] . . . lowered his voice. "Don't force me to shoot you," he said. Florentino felt his intestines filling with cold froth. But his voice did not tremble because he felt himself illuminated by the Holy Spirit. "Shoot me," he said, with his hand on his chest. "There is no greater glory than to die for love."

This brazen declaration is made in Chapter 2 by the impassioned Florentino Ariza at the Parish Café, where Lorenzo Daza buys him a glass of anisette and orders him to stay out of his and Fermina's lives. Ultimately, Lorenzo does not shoot Florentino, but instead, cruelly forces Fermina to make a long journey through the mountains so that she will forget him. Florentino has courage enough to challenge Lorenzo, even in the face of his loaded gun, primarily because he feels "illuminated by the Holy Spirit," which can also be interpreted as his blind, reckless passion for Fermina, and his ruthless determination to make her his own. Secondly, Florentino declares, "there is no greater glory than to die for love" because, aside from conquering Fermina, he likes nothing more than delighting in the suffering his intense, obsessive love inflicts. Strangely, Florentino enjoys the suffering he endures for love; his suffering sustains him, for he sees his anguish as a gratifying, strengthening experience that will lead him to his ultimate desire: Fermina.