The Effect of Double-Standard on “Chronicle of a Death Foretold”
In the Hispanic society being portrayed in Gabriel Marquez “Chronicle of a Death Foretold”, when it comes to the characters we can see that there is a significant amount of double standards in the portrayal of male and female characters. In this society women are forced to adhere to strict societal and cultural expectation. While men are encouraged to be themselves, the sole protectors and to be experienced in the bedroom. However the moment a woman follows in the same mannerism as a man she is deemed as unfit to marry and an embarrassment to her family.
In order to prevent this type of behavior from occurring, women where “reared to be married” (Page 31) and taught to think that “love can be learned” (page 35). All while finding a man who they can marry, that pleased their family and brought good fortunes to their name. However as said before if a woman, such as Angela does not follow these rules she will be labeled as an outcast and will never be able to move up in her social class. Which is what happened when Angela did not adhere to the ideal standards she was pressured into, and this ultimately resulted in the killing of Santiago Nasar to honor Angela’s name. Due to him being accused of taking Angela’s virginity. Showing a connection between the results of double standards and the death of a man.
To further explain the connection, women have been “raised to suffer” (Page 31) and remain under the control of their man, while men were allowed to chose as they pleased. As Bayardo did with Angela, since he “was to marry whomever he chose” (Page 34) . So by Santiago Nasar having relations with a woman he did not intend on marrying and then taking her virginity it essentially resulted in his death. Because to take a woman’s virginity with out the intention to pursue, that means that she will be deemed as unfit to be married and impure. Ruining her reputation and her families also consequently not allowing her to move up the social latter. Since it was the only way a woman of her position could succeed. Simply because men at that time were taught to believe that if a woman they were to marry had previous relations she will no longer remain faithful to them. Thus the honor killing done by Angela’s brothers Pablo and Pedro Vicario.
To continue, if the double standards presented in the novel did not exist then Angela would of had the power to of not of married Bayardo as she originally intended. Seeing as “Bayardo San Roman hadn’t even tried to court her” (Page 34) and “Angela Vicario only hinted at the inconvenience of a lack of love” (Page 35). Also by not being forced into a marriage, Bayardo would of never of known that Angela lost her virginity and the chain of event following after would of never of occurred. In addition, if women had the same expectations as men being married would of not of been as much of an obligation as it was at them time. Again proving how the pressures of society resulted in a death.
However, to contrary belief we can also argue that the male double standard is at fault. Knowing the strict cultural expectation placed on Angela we as the reader can assume the same went for her brothers. Seeing as they “were brought up to be men” (Page 31) and were as well reared to be believe that as a man they had to protect their family. For example if we look at this dialog between the Vicario twins and Father Amador, “We killed him openly,” Pedro Vicario said, “but we’re innocent.” “Perhaps before God,” said Father Amador. “Before God and before men,” Pablo Vicario said. “It was a matter of honor.” (P.49) we can see what society expects men to value certain ideals such as honor, no matter the circumstance. As long as they are willing to prove that they are men and live up to the word machismo. Because if it were not for their honor-bound oath to protect and provide for their family, the Vicario twins might not of thought of committing the crime in the first place. For example, through out the novel we are shown evidence of the Vicario Twins hinting towards the fact that they are going to kill Santiago than the actual act it self. As shown in page 57 Clotilde Armenta suspected the “brothers were not so eager to carry out the sentence as to find someone who would do them the favor of stopping them”. Reinforcing the idea that the Vicario twins did this because of societal pressure, rather than for personal pleasure. The same can be said for Santiago Nasar, if society were not so male-dominated the chances that Santiago got himself involved with Angela could of been very slim.