Significance of the Title “Chronicle of a Death Foretold”

If one were to commit a murder, the last thing you would expect them to do is to tell everybody about it before it actually happens, in most cases at least. Gabrielle Marquez’s novel Chronicle of a Death Foretold shows the unlikely case where an entire town knows about a murder except for the victim. Through the plot, characters, and point of view, the significance of the title “Chronicle of a Death Foretold” becomes apparent.

Chronicle of a Death Foretold’s plot effectively helps show the significance of the title through what the Viccario do to Santiago. Despite not having clear evidence, the Viccario twins decide to hunt down and murder Santiago for taking the virginity of their younger sister, Angela. However, the twins decide that instead of keeping it a secret to avoid getting caught, they will tell everybody in a boasting manner. This detail of the plot shows how the death was foretold, yet nobody decided to warn Santiago about it, assuming he had already heard about it or that the murder was justifiable. Everybody knew about the murder prior to when it actually happened, showing how the lack of action from others in the town directly costed somebody’s life, a very preventable mistake.

In addition to the plot, the characters of the story also greatly relate to the title of the book. Throughout the book, there are many instances of the Viccario twins straight up telling people about what they are going to do to Santiago. However, the characters’ decisions to dismiss these claims as bogus directly shows the predictability of the crime. Through these characters who decide not to warn Santiago or take any further action, such as Colonel Aponte, the word “foretold” is appropriate to use, as everybody in the town was aware of the crime to take place, yet they decide not to tell Santiago.

The perspective of the story is told by an anonymous narrator, which shows the significance of the title. The narrator decides to tell the story in non-chronological order, jumping between different people and time periods frequently. Such shows the irony of the title due to how it is not actually a chronicle. Because of this, the reader is required to piece information together throughout the book, which can help them understand the events that took place more clearly. 

The significance of the title was effectively shown through these aspects of the novel. Because of this, the reader can connect the dots easily and have a better understanding of what goes on in the book, along with any potential purposes or messages posed by the author.

-Jeremy L

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

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