Chronicle of a Death Foretold

by: Gabriel García Márquez

Guilt

Quotes Guilt
Furthermore, with the reconstruction of the facts, they had feigned a much more unforgiving bloodthirstiness than really was true, to such an extreme that it was necessary to use public funds to repair the main door of Placida Linero’s house, which was all chipped with knife thrusts.

As the narrator recounts the trial of the Vicario brothers, he notes that they did not act as tough and unforgiving as they seemed at the time, proven by the fact that they stabbed the door of the house they were in more aggressively than they stabbed the victim, Santiago Nasar, himself. Even before the brothers killed Santiago, they seemed to know that their consciences could not handle the heavy guilt of killing a man.

“No matter how much I scrubbed with soap and rags, I couldn’t get rid of the smell,” Pedro Vicario told me.

Here, Pedro Vicario recounts to the narrator how they tried to clean the blood off themselves while in the jail cell directly after the murder. Although they used soap and water, Pedro says that there was no getting rid of the scent of Santiago Nasar. Most likely, this scent was only in their minds, perpetuated by their guilt over having killed Santiago Nasar.

On the other hand, she never forgave herself for having mixed up the magnificent augury of trees with the unlucky one of birds, and she succumbed to the pernicious habit of her time of chewing pepper cress seeds.

Placida Linero, Santiago Nasar’s mother, has forgiven herself for locking the door to her house, preventing Santiago’s escape from the Vicario brothers. However, as revealed by the narrator here, she still blames herself for thinking that Santiago’s dream about trees and birds represented a good omen and feels guilty that she did not warn him sufficiently that he was in danger. Even though he was more likely to have survived if he could have escaped, she feels that she could have prevented his death using fortune-telling. She represents just one example of the many people who feel they could have saved Santiago.