Chronicle of a Death Foretold: Chapter Notes - Chapter 5



·         Summarizing what happened to other characters in the village after Santiago’s assassination and the trial that happened against the twins.

·         Tracking back events happened on the day towards Santiago Nazar’s death from morning till very moment of his death.  Short descriptions of episodes occurred building up to Santiago’s death.

·         On page 101, the narrator insinuates that Santiago did not violate Angela Vicario, making note of how her statement, “He was my perpetrator”, did not take into account specifics (therefore alluding to its falsehood). The statement itself is brash and concise, suggesting that the fact it happened would be accepted by the populace and would therefore validate a fully justifiable motive for the killing.

·         The narrator appears to sympathise with Santiago, seen through pages 101-103 in particular. Allusions are made to Santiago’s “innocence”, therefore incriminating Angela Vicario (and as a consequence of what she has said, her brothers as well).

·         The chapter ends with a graphic account of his death at the hands of the Vicario twins, and his last moments leading to his collapse on the kitchen floor.



Motif and Connotations:

Ritual- Social ceremonies

Wedding— Formal wedding festivities -key event – result the death earlier on in the book.

The boat the bishop – an event they go repeatedly as a ritual.


Honour/obligation social expectation

p.98 “Most of those who could have done something to prevent the crime and still didn’t do it consoled themselves with the pretext that affairs of honor are sacred monopolies.”

““Honor is love” I heard my mother say.”


Inevitability, foretold, fate – lack of freedom

The inevitability of Santiago’s death plays a vital role in this chapter, as we are shown the remorse of the people who knew of it, and thus could have prevented it. To give an example, Clotilde Armenta asks Indalecia Pardo – who passes by her store – to warn Santiago of what will happen to him (presumably so that he can avoid his fate). However, he purportedly “lost his nerve”, as the social climate was strongly in favour of maintaining [the Vicarios’] family honor (through killing Santiago). In the end, Santiago seems to accept his fate; he allows the twins to pin him against a locked door where he is disemboweled – the important thing to note is that he re-enters the house through a door that had been open since long before he was stabbed, that is to say, he could have sought refuge in the building.

Impossible to avoid:

p.110 “Dead men can’t shoot” shouted Pedro. 

p.112 “he already had the face of a dead man” said Margot.

p.103 ““Don’t bother,” Pedro Vicario told him, “No matter what, he’s as good as dead already””


Uncertainty, ambiguity, mystery

p.114 “So many people hanging on his movements in the square that it was difficult to believe that no one saw him go into his fiancée’s house… “Fatality makes us invisible.” This also relates to inevitability and reconstruction motifs. 

p.99 “There was no classification of files … I myself did my searching many times… and only chance after five years of searching let me rescue some 322 pages filched from the more than 500 that the brief must have had… The judge’s name didn’t appear on any of them”

Excluded from definite information; never gotten to the actual letters and report’s contents therefore unable to access to real truths.

p.122 “Poncho Lanao told me: “What I’ll never forget was the terrible smell of shit.””, However, “But Argenida Lanao .. said that Santiago Nasar walked with his usual good bearing, measuring his steps well, and that his Saracen face with its headstrong ringlets was handsomer than ever



Narrator trying to construct the chronicles – inability to write a complete chronicle. As a lot of missing information and many uncertainties make it impossible to reconstruct a complete truth of what really happened. Narrator cannot help but to reconstruct his own version of the story although tried his best to gather the most information and point of view with many interviews with other people in the village, however this cannot be done as people have different perceptions of things therefore unsure of what is reliable. 



A term of communication, however in this case is different

p.113 “Putting in order the chestful of letters that Santiago Nasar had sent her from school …. She put the chest in his hands.” This could symbolize a loss of wealth and a comfortable life after marriage from Flora as after Santiago’s death she ended up running away and became a prostitute.



Symbolize violence and tragedy.

p.98whose only participation was having seen two bloody knives that weren’t bloody yet, felt so affected by the hallucination that she fell into a penitential crisis and one day, unable to take it any longer, she ran out naked into the street.”


The Brief

The colour red is mentioned a number of times, most notably concerning the ink that the brief (concerning the murder investigation) was written in. The colour has a number of connotations, all of which are concerned with the content of the chapter – of particular interest, passion, blood, anger, family. There are two quotes from the brief itself (as follows): ‘Give me prejudice and I will move the world’ and ‘Fatality makes us invisible’


These poetic (and thus seemingly out-of-place) quotes both relate to the community’s reactions to the murder. The “prejudice” can be seen as both racial and moral. Santiago, descended from an Arab bloodline, would naturally be met with some prejudice in a predominantly Christian society (although note that the discrimination against Arabs in the time that the text is set hardly compares to the animosity seen in modern-day societies). The moral issues that arise would be the common belief that Santiago Nasar and Angela Vicario had an affair, an act that would be most condemned in such a society. The quote essentially states that, under the influence of such prejudices, any deed can – and will – be committed. The latter refers to the people’s inertia due to the inevitability of Santiago’s death, that is, despite his most unfortunate state; he would not be treated in any exceptional manner.



Doors also serve a large purpose in the chapter. They are perceived of as “exits”, and thus are ways for one to escape one’s fate. On page 99, Placida claims that she locked the door to Santiago’s house, understanding – on erroneous claims by Divina Flor – that Santiago had already entered. This deed would prove fatal to her son. Furthermore, the fact that Santiago should quite simply allow the Vicario twins to murder him against this barred “exit” is a powerful statement. It alludes to Santiago’s certain condemnation – and perhaps the inevitability of death in general. Even more curious is the fact that the backdoor was open, and Santiago could have entered the house this way. To that end, it is a statement of Santiago’s acceptance of death, as well as a declaration that even the most dire circumstances can be defied.



One final note, the weather – which is recalled in entirely different manners by different characters – is stated as “golden” (see page 106). This suggests the inaccuracy of the various accounts as a result of the inconsistencies between them.




Santiago Nasar

was killed accused of taking Angela’s virginity and was revenge by her twin brothers in order to gain back their family’s honor.

p.102 “He died without understanding his death.”


Cristo Bedoya Santiago’s friend

p.110Clotilde … shouted to Cristo Bedoya to hurry up, because in that fagot town only a man like him could prevent the tragedy.”

After death

p.109 “If I’d known how to shoot a revolver, Santiago Nasar would be alive today”

p.98 “Who went to become a surgeon of renown, never managed to explain to himself why he gave in to the impulse to spend two hours at his grandparent’s house.. Instead of going to rest at his parents” appeared in p.102, 104-5-6-7-8.


Flora Miguel – Santiago Nasar’s fiancée

An arranged marriage between her and Santiago by their parents.

p.112 “The parents of Santiago Nasar and Flora Miguel had agreed that they should get married”

After she found out about Angela Vacario situation.

p.114-5She went through a crisis of humiliation… she was in her bedroom weeping with rage, and putting in order the chestnut of letters that Santiago Nasar had sent her from school …. She put the chest in his hands.”

This could symbolize a loss of wealth and a comfortable life after marriage from Flora as after Santiago’s death she ended up running away and became a prostitute.

After death

p.98 “ran away out of spite with a lieutenant of the border patrol, who prostituted her among the rubber workers on the Vichada.”


Placida Linero – Santiago’s mother

She seems to be living in her own world, an unreal world, even after her son’s death.

p.107A beam of dusty light was coming in through the skylight, and the beautiful woman asleep on her side in the hammock, her bride’s hand on her cheek, had an unreal look.”

p.109In any case.. she was always imagining that she was being robbed”

After death

p.99 “With passage of time she freed herself from blame “I locked it because Divina Flor had sworn to me that she’d seen my son come in”” however, “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”


Angela Vacario

It is uncertain who she has lost her virginity to as she does not make it clear and tends to avoid answering questions straight out.

p.101She told us about the miracle but not the saintClaimed her friends

p.101He was my perpetrator

She answered when questioned about Santiago during the investigation which illustrates uncertainty of whom she really lost her virginity to. (She could actually be protecting the real person and needed someone to take responsibility for her crime.)


Bayardo San Roman

p.102 No one knew Bayardo San Roman very well, but Santiago Nasar knew him well enough to know that underneath his worldly airs he was as subject as anyone else to his native prejudices.”

Demonstrates the explanation for his behavior of returning his bride the night of the wedding after finding out she was not a virgin and left town.


Pedro Vicario - Soldier – Stronger, tougher than his twin.

Very determine to gain back family’s honor, no matter what it takes. Killing Santiago was a way to gain it back, therefore he announces his purpose to the whole town, also it could be that he did not really want o kill Santiago therefore gave great warnings as he only wanted people to know they want revenge. The same with his twin.

p.103Don’t bother.. No matter what, he’s as good as dead already.”

p.109Cristobal .. tell Santiago Nasar that we’re waiting for him here to kill him”


Pablo Vicario – Butcher

Also wants to gain back family’s honor however not as determine or aggressive as Pedro; mostly following his twin brother.

p.110He was wearing his wedding jacket and carrying his knife wrapped in the newspaper.”


Victoria Guzman

She is the mother of Divina Flor therefore is not much fond of Santiago as he harasses her daughter, knowing that Santiago will be killed, she did not inform him as she saw him out.

p.106She answered.. with feigned innocence that he (Santiago) still hadn’t come in to go to sleep.” 




The forgotten village – death of Santiago shows how isolated the village is as the death is foretold – everyone in the village knew it was to happen, yet failed to prevent it from happening due to various reasons.



Narrative style/structure:

The narrative style of the text is kept constant throughout, and chapter 5 is no exception. The placid and objective tone of the narrator is sustained more or less fully throughout the chapter. In fact, the objectivity of the narrator is particularly crucial here as he is simply summarising a number of details crucial to the inevitability of the murder. Although the very objectivity of its tone belies the fact that this is itself an account that has been reconstructed from the various different subjectivities that the narrator would have interviewed whilst trying to piece together the truth.


The narrator’s inability to write a complete chronicle is due to various uncertainties and the many different perceptions he gets of the event as such we are unsure which accounts are reliable and, in addition, there is missing important information that would be required to piece together the whole story. The death is foretold – since the first page and the narrator is trying to record fact and impose order on the events – an example of thwarted realism - 27 years later. The structure of the story emphasises the impossibility of his task as it narrator switches back and forth between different times and different versions of the event.



Unity of part to whole (Development):

Due to a foretold death incident, we knew Santiago was going to die since the first page, therefore as far as the plot is concerned there is no development however details and interpretations were observed to describe the actual events that happened that very day that Santiago was assassinated. Yet we have learnt what had happened to other characters in the village after Santiago’s death and the affect it had on them.