In Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Gabriel García Márquez uses the religious symbolism, allusions, and imagery to reveal the purpose of Santiago Nasar’s death; as the society’s sacrificial lamb.
Marquez places biblical allusions in the names of the characters to further illustrate the connection to religion. The Vicario brothers, Pablo and Pedro, are to be viewed as allusions to Peter and Paul. Peter indirectly killed Jesus by denying Christ three times before the cocks crowed. This is similar to Pablo’s actions because although he was not responsible for the murder of Santiago, he denied Nasar a chance of repenting before the morning, the crowing of the cocks. Poncio, the father of Angela, is a symbolic reference to Pontius Pilate. He permitted his sons to kill; similar to Pontius Pilate, who allowed the crucifixion of Christ. Santiago’s own name parallels to that of Jesus. His first name Santiago, is a derivative of Saint, which suggests divinity and holiness. His last Nasar is a reference to Nazareth, as in Jesus of Nazareth.
On the day of his death, “Santiago put on a shirt and pants of white linen” (Marquez 5). White is the color of innocence in many cultures, thus this choice is no coincidence. His decision of clothing represents the innocence of Santiago Nasar. While he was not a symbol of purity or of naivety due to his many vices, Santiago represented true guiltlessness. Nasar was unjustly accused of stealing Angela Vicario’s virginity. Throughout the novel it is kept a mystery who the real culprit was but the haphazardness of Angela’s choice was made clear. Marquez explained it “ she found it at first sight among the many, many easily confused names from this world and the other , and she nailed it to the wall with her well-aimed dart, like a butterfly with no will whose sentence was always written”(Marquez 47). Out of all the names floating in her mind, Santiago’s was incidentally chosen to serve as her scapegoat. The recurring theme of innocence and the imagery associated with it shape the reader’s judgment of Santiago Nasar, making he seem like a victim of a plot he was randomly thrust into. This parallels to the story of Jesus Christ, for he too wore a white linen tunic on the day of his death. This quote establishes the references to the “messiah” for the rest of the novel.
The next set of religious references appears in the autopsy of Santiago’s body. While Father Amador is performing a carelessly examination, he notices Santiago’s wounds, and even compares them to those of Jesus Christ. Father Amador reported that Santiago “looked like a stigma of the crucified Christ” (page 75). Santiago suffered many wounds and lacerations including “a deep stab in the right hand” and a perforation “in the second right rib space” (Marquez 75). The cut in his right hand is known in the Christian faith as a stigma. It is the term used to describe marks which correspond with the locations of Christ’s crucifixion, which...