Chronicle of a Death Foretold

by: Gabriel García Márquez

Chapter 5

Summary Chapter 5

Meanwhile, Santiago Nasar was in the house of Flora Miguel, his fiancée. She had heard about the planned killing, and thought that even if they didn't kill him, he would be forced to marry Angela Vicario in order to give her back her honor. She was upset and humiliated, and when Santiago came in she was furious. She handed him a box with all of the letters he had ever sent her. She told him that she hoped they did kill him, and she went into her room and locked the door.

Santiago's frantic knocking on her door woke everyone else up. Nahir Miguel, her father, told Santiago that the Vicarios wanted to kill him. Santiago said, "I don't understand a god-damned thing." He left the house, and started to head home. Clothilde Armenta yelled at Santiago to run, and he ran the fifty yards to his front door. Placida Linero, Santiago's own mother, had just closed the front door because Divina Flor lied to her and said that he was already home and had gone up to his room.

The Vicario twins caught up with him and began stabbing him. After his entrails had fallen out of his body, he fell to his knees, then managed to stand. He walked more than a hundred yards, completely around the house, and went in through the kitchen door, and fell flat on his face in his kitchen.

Analysis

This chapter demonstrates the complicity of the town in the murder of Santiago, and shows how they saw themselves as spectators rather than actors. The division between spectator and actor is blurred by the narrator's role. He himself acknowledges that he is not absolved of blame. Because the narrator is a part of the community in which the murder took place, he cannot be an objective observer. The blurring of journalism and fiction in the story is shown most clearly in the character of the narrator himself, since he hardly discloses any revealing information. In many ways, he is the most enigmatic of all the characters.

Despite the narrator's interviews of town residents throughout the story, and despite the investigative magistrate's report, the narrator does not shed any new light, twenty years later, on the murder of Santiago Nasar. This failure to fully explain events shows that the object of the investigation to be not the discovery of the truth, but rather the determination of how such a publicized death could have taken place. In the end, the reader is left with a series of coincidences, moments of personal weakness, and assumptions whose random variety evades any sort of an overarching explanation or understanding of the crime.

Throughout the novel, the narrator's steady tone and method of progressively disclosing more information, leads us to think that the truth is about to be revealed. Especially because the narrator repeatedly insists upon Santiago Nasar's innocence, the reader feels that the true identity of whomever took Angela Vicario's virginity will be clear by the end of the book.