Chronicle of a Death Foretold: Chapter Notes - Chapter 3



·         We learn that the lawyer of the brothers claim that the killing was “homicide in legitimate defense of honor”

·         The brothers declare that they would have done the killing again and again and not even when they were waiting for the trial, did they ever seem to feel remorse.

·         After the brothers had done the killing, they went straight to church, claiming their innocence in front of God and men.

·         They also comment that it was fairly inevitable that Nasar would have to come out of his house.

·         The reason why Nasar left through the door that wasn’t the one that was the one that had access the square to meet the bishop befuddled the investigator who drew up the brief.

·         After hearing their sister accuse Nasar of stealing her virginity, the brothers got two knives from their bin, where all the sacrificial tools are kept. They then went to get them sharpened at the shop, where there were 22 people who heard them talk about the murder that was to happen.

·         There was no difference in the way they sharpened their knives, or how they acted.

·         No-one at the shop actually believed that they were going to kill Nasar. Only Faustina Santos believed that there was some truth in what they said and hence, reported it to Leandro Pornoy

·         They later traveled to the Clotilde Armenta’s shop, where she was shocked to learn that they were going to do with Nasar; she told her husband, who dismissed her. She told anyone who would see Nasar to warn him,

·         Leandro Pornoy told Colonel Aponte about what had been reported about the Vicario brothers; the Colonel did not take them seriously, merely confiscating their weapons and sending them home

·         Brothers went to sharpen a new set of knives, once again proclaiming their plan for people to hear

·         When they entered Armenta’s shop, she noted that they had less determination than before (they had just previously had their first disagreement)

·         The brothers stop by at Prudencia’s house (fiancée of Pablo). They claim to not want any coffee just yet, as they were in a hurry yet they do stop to drink some. Prudencia and her mother both approve of the killing.

·         We learn about Maria Alejandra Cervantes, the owner of the brothel, whom both Nasar (who was passionate about her, until his father forbade him. They still are affectionate, but not in love.) She also slept with the narrator.

·         We learn about Nasar’s talent for dressing others to the point that they themselves do not recognise their image.

·         Nasar and his friends (including the narrator) go to the house of the newlyweds, singing songs and lighting fireworks and rockets. No one seemed to be there



Motifs and Connotations:


·         This is an important chapter for this motif; this is where we ‘see’ the murder weapons and the build up and inevitability of the crime

·         This is the first real chapter where the knives are mentioned in detail.

·         The knives that the brothers chose (the first time) were from a bin where “sacrificial tools” (51) were kept. The mention of sacrificial seems significant, as if to allude to Nasar as being a martyr, alluding to a Christ-like imagery. It also implied that Nasar wasn’t the man that took Angela’s virginity

·         When they go to the butcher’s shop to sharpen the knives, it seems like they want to be stopped, telling everyone of their plans. All had “heard everything said.” (51)This shows how social obligation has a hand in forcing them to kill the man who took their sister’s virginity, in order to reclaim the family’s honor, as this is what is expected of them by society.

·         The knives also symbolise how the whole village (with the exception of Nasar) know about his death yet do nothing about it. “The only reason they had said it was for someone to hear them.” (51) Despite all 22 witnesses in the shop hearing this, they do nothing about it. This implies that they may believe that what was to happen was inevitable, that no one was going to be able to stop it from eventually happening. This could also imply that they wanted the murder to happen, to restore the town to its normal state of affairs.



·         The fact that most of the scenes that are present in this chapter occur within rooms rather than outside, where nature is most apparent could symbolise how nature is freeing whilst rooms (which have walls are not.) This could allude to how the brothers are trapped within the ‘walls’ of society and its expectations and how they must follow through with what must happen. Proof of this could possibly be, “there’s no way out of this.” (62)

·         This is not a major chapter for this motif, possibly to give way to the weapons motif.


Social ceremonies/events

·         The importance of social events, such as the arrival of the bishop, is seen in this chapter as the event is so important that Father Amador had “forgotten completely” (71) to “say something in passing” to Placida Linero (70), just because “the bishop was coming.” (71.) It might show how keeping up with social expectation (greeting the bishop) was more important than saving a man’s life. However, society might argue that as a person of the church, Father Amador’s priorities were in order.

·         Going to church for confession is also a social ceremony that anyone in a Christian society (like the village) would do frequently. The action of the brothers going to the parish and relinquishing their knives “with clean blades” (48) is almost an act of confession.




In this chapter, this theme is quite a major one. It however, links in with the other themes that are present and tragedy is almost a way We see how easily this tragedy could be avoided, how much the brothers themselves seemed to only be performing the acts out of the expectations of society.



This theme is seen through the description of the weather, from many different witnesses. “It was beginning to rain” (56) contrasting with “it wasn’t raining. Just the opposite.” (62) The fact that all are different shows how much work is needed to piece back the memories and that these memories may have been distorted by what they now know. Ie. Villagers might have believed that it was raining, since it would be pathetic fallacy, indicating of the death that wold occur.

A ‘mystery’ occurs within the chapter regarding about the doors that Nasar enters and leaves from, so mind boggling that the investigator who drew the brief “never did understand it.” (50) The imagery of the doors could almost symbolise the options that Nasar faced; if he chosen the correct door, he may have survived.


Responsibility as a society and individual

There are many instances in the chapter where people had the option of doing something, where they might have saved a life, but they chose not to. This could be explained by the fact that as many people heard the brothers, “twenty-two people declared they heard everything” (51), the people pushed the responsibility of doing something onto others; they were not obligated to do anything. On the other hand, it could be argued that people didn’t do anything as they either believed that this was inevitable or that “no one paid attention to them” (52) and that they were “a pair of big bluffers” (56)

However, those who did believe him, such as Santos and Armenta and even Colonel Aponte, did little to stop the Vicario brother’s actions. Santos, who informed the officer, did only that. Armenta told a lot of people (e.g. the milk beggar) to pass along the message to Nasar, but never took any real actions. The colonel, who had the most power, sent them “off to sleep” and “took away their knives”(57); a mere slap on the wrist.


Santiago as Christ

Nasar was murdered to avenge Angela’s honour. Since there is some uncertainty whether or not he was the right man, he can be considered a martyr who sacrificed his life to ensure that social expectations remain correct. This can be seen in the weapons that the brothers first pick, which came from a bin where the “sacrificial tools” were kept (51.) The word sacrificial has connotations of religion and more importantly, Christ, who also sacrificed his life for the people.



This is one of the main themes in this book. In this chapter, the narrator even states, “there had never been a death more foretold.” (50) The reason for saying this could be to show how constricted and expecting the society is; one event triggers certain, specific outcomes.

Also, the inevitability of Nasar’s death is re-iterated several times in the chapter, as people dismiss the brothers, believe them and half-heartedly attempt something by telling someone else to do something. Even if people did do something about the brother’s plan, it seems that they all fail. Eg. Father Amador wanted to pass along the message, and then forgot, as it was the same day as the bishop’s arrival.


Rituals and repetition

The bishop is mention several times in this chapter, along with his arrival. It is the source of Father Amador’s distraction from relaying important news of the death. It is also what Colonel Aponte used to mockingly threaten the boys, saying, “what if the bishop finds you in this state!” (57) By using the bishop as a threat, it shows to readers how there is an expectation that people must revere and have respect for the bishop and therefore must care about how he would react to them.

The repetition of moving back into the past from the present shows readers how much construction of the event is happening. It also hints at the unreliability of the people the narrator talks to; they can’t even agree on how the weather was that day. Also, as the narrator is linked to the story, despite trying to detach himself as possible to seem neutral (ie. he doesn’t reveal his name) as he was Nasar’s friend, he may have his own biases. For instance, “knowing her so well, I never doubted it.” (50) This shows a clout of judgement, not too different from those people who dismissed the brothers of their words, as they had “a reputation as good people.” (52)

The repetition of the brothers’ words, Nasar “knows why” (53) makes it seem to readers that the Vicario brothers have no doubt in their mind that Santiago Nasar was guilty. However, this certainty does not lie in the readers, as there is never certain proof that Nasar did take Angela’s virginity. This also shows the uncertainty that readers possess, reading into this chronicle. It may make them wonder whether all the ‘facts’ that are stated are true, or part truths and mainly imagination.


Honour/obligation/social expectations

“Spare those poor boys from the horrible duty that’s fallen on them” (57) shows the obligation and necessity of the murder that must be committed. This is what is expected of the brothers, from Prudencia Cotes, to their family, to all of society.

“I never would have married him if he didn’t done what a man should do.” (63) shows the pressure that is put upon both brothers and the expectation that has to be fulfilled.

The brothers claim they would have “done it a again a thousand times over” (48), shows the expectation of society-they are expected to regain the lost honour. Also, by proclaiming this out loud, they are fulfilling the expectations of furious brothers, whose sister’s innocence was stolen. They themselves know that “there’s no way out of this” and that it’s “as if it already happened.” (62) This shows that they might not be willing to kill a man.

Nasar possessed “a magical talent for disguises” (66) is a hint of magical realism, shows the importance of an outer appearance to society. It juxtaposes appearances and realities, things that are done for show and things that are done purposely. It shows the confusion of identity and the superficial roles in society-you could fool someone just by changing clothes. This shows the construction of what we are like.



There are not many images that occur within this chapter but the main one could possibly be of the knives and the faces of the brothers stained with “still living blood” (49). It is almost as if the brothers were proud to have the blood smeared across their faces, but not on the knives, for they have “clean blades” (48.) The blood on their faces seems to almost be cleansing them of their burden, for now that the murder has been committed, they have no obligation to their family, sister or society. The image of the brothers after they have killed at the start of the chapter is one that seems key as it is their freedom from the grasps of control and shows the extent of social expectation-people are expected to protect the family’s honour, with any means necessary. I believe that the imagery is changing to show a development in the plot, as the brothers are now free from control, as opposed to before the killing.



The Vicario Brothers: in this chapter, more depth is added to the characters of Pablo and Pedro Vicario. We learn about their background, how Pedro is more authoritarian and that served for “11 months in a police patrol” (60), that Pablo has a fiancée and knew of the inevitability of the murder an and how they have a reputation as “good people.” Marquez added more depth to the characters to make them more human and real; they have lives and feelings and are linked with everyone in the village, not just 2 people, like seen in other stories. My sympathy towards them does not change, but it does make me understand their motives and although doesn’t make the killing justified in my opinion, I understand how they could see it as a “defense of honour” (48.)


When Clotilde describes them as “two children” (55) and how that scared her, as “only children are capable of everything.” (48) Since she knew the twins, it shows that nothing will be able to stop them from what they must do, even despite everyone thinking that they were not “anxious to fulfil the sentence as much as to find someone who would do them the favor of stopping them.” (57) This reveals to readers about the Vicario brothers-they are reluctant of killing Nasar but are perhaps more afraid of going against social expectation; by yelling that they were going to kill Nasar, if someone had stopped them, they would have been relieved of their need to restore honour. In this sense, I sympathise with them more, as they seem like naïve and weak characters, in the sense that they cannot do what they really want, and that all they do is for public appearances and for show.



Although there are different rooms in which the characters are, they are not very important, apart from the fact that they are socially important areas, where people tend to visit regularly. In this sense, the setting can be considered important, or at least for the brothers, as these are good places to shout out plans to a murder a person and get stopped by someone. The places where the chapter occurs must be carefully thought out by the brothers to increase the chance of them being stopped, if that was what they had wanted. This adds depth to the characters, as they are seen as intelligent and not just two men who killed a man because they had to.


Narrative Style/Structure:

This chapter is no different from the other chapters, using the same narrator and narrative style. This is possibly because to show continuity, as this novella is a chronicle, a record of something. By keeping the same structure, it seems to show how the narrator has pieced together the past and readers are now able to read it in a coherent, chronological order. 


Unity of the Part to the Whole:

In this chapter, like the rest of the chapters in the book, we learn that the death is “inevitable” and the social expectations that befall upon the Vicario brothers. There is major character development for Pablo and Pedro, but not so much so for the others. We do learn more about Santiago Nasar and his magical ability with disguises and how the implications that has on social appearances and the importance of them. The basis of this chapter is the same. There is the re-iteration of the inevitability, fate and the responsibility of society and the individual. The uncertainty continues, with the differences in opinions on whether or not it was raining that day, showing readers the constructed nature of the chronicle and how hard it was for the narrator to piece together each section of history. There were developments in the weapons motif and how this can be linked to the theme of Santiago being seen as a Christ-like figure. The atmosphere continues to remain the same: grim and foreboding of the death of Santiago Nasar.