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Analysis of the Theme of Predestination in the Novel Chronicles of a Death Foretold and the Film Slumdog Millionaire

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The themes of fate and destiny both play enormous roles in the novel Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the film “Slumdog Millionaire.” For one, the novel’s title itself gives readers a pretty good idea of how fate plays into the plot. The title literally means that the death was easily seen to happen, as if it was Santiago’s fate and destiny to be murdered. The same goes for “Slumdog Millionaire.” It basically depicts how Jamal Malik rose from the slums of India to become a Millionaire. In both pieces, the idea that one’s fate is written and there is not much one can do to change how their life will unfold is very much present. Which then causes the readers and viewers to question; whether our lives are truly mapped out already and whether there is anything that we can do to change it? Is it all written already?

Fate is obviously present in the novel Chronicle of a Death Foretold when the anonymous narrator states, “There had never been a death more foretold” (Marquez). That quote basically sums up how foreseen Santiago Nasar’s death truly was inevitable; it had to be his fate and destiny. The author of Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote this novel around the idea that fate just simply cannot be escaped by anyone. Everything truly does happen for a reason.

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The morning of the day that the Vicario twins killed Santiago Nasar, they completely paraded around town proudly spreading the word that they were going to murder Santiago in revenge for him apparently taking their sister’s virginity. Pedro even shouted out loud “Cristobal, tell Santiago Nasar that we’re waiting for him here to kill him” (Marquez 108). Even the mayor of the town, Colonel Lazaro Aponte was aware of the Vicario brothers’ intentions, yet nothing was said to Santiago and failed to alert him of the fact that two men were plotting to kill him later that day. Fate really appears to be governing Santiago’s life, and death for that matter, by providing such an easy and oddly unchallenged path for Pablo and Pedro Vicario to kill him. It is borderline comical with all the coincidences that occur throughout the town that prevent people from alerting Santiago of his future murderers coming after him. Perhaps it can be said that fate is the exact reason on why Santiago never received news about the Vicario brothers coming to kill him although literally everyone in the entire town was aware of the Vicario brothers. It is basically as if fate sentenced Santiago Nasar to death and there was absolutely nothing in which he could do about it.

“ ‘There’s no way out of this,’ he told him. ‘It’s as if it had already happened.’ “ (Marquez 61). Pablo Vicario said this quote to his brother Pedro. This meaning that no matter what, both Pablo and Pedro Vicario were committed to killing Santiago Nasar. Everybody in the entire town is completely aware of the murder and is treating it as if Pablo and Pedro had already killed Santiago. The main reason why Pablo Vicario said this to his brother Pedro was because it appeared as if Pedro was a bit hesitant about their plan to kill Santiago for taking their sister’s virginity and to bring honor back to their family name. Honor is very important to their culture, so the murder itself had to be done to regain the honor that the Vicario brothers’ sister, Angel lost the second that she supposedly had premarital sex. Then also to gain once again the honor their entire family lost with Angel’s losing of her virginity and failed marriage. Since the murder was in spite of the attempt to regain honor to the family name, even the jury finds that Pedro and Pablo Vicario were innocent in the murder of Santiago Nasar. Saying that, the quote mentioned earlier blatantly reveals on how it seems like Santiago’s death was predestined to happen, there was nothing that could be done. “…Because none of us could go on living without an exact knowledge of the place and the mission assigned to us by fate” (Marquez 96). Santiago’s fate was already written, it seems as if he was meant to die.

Just like Chronicle of a Death Foretold, the film “Slumdog Millionaire” themes are none other than fate and destiny. The main character of this film Jamal Malik, is put onto the Indian version on the television show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?.” Jamal is from the slums, or in other words the “ghetto” of India; nobody is expecting him to know any of the answers to the questions asked to him in the game because of his background. In the introduction of the movie, a question pops up on the screen stating, “Jamal Malik is one question away from winning 20 million rupees. How did he do it?” (Slumdog Millionaire). Then a few answers appear below the question, and the last one states, “It is written.” (Slumdog Millionaire). Surprisingly, Jamal does know the answer to every single question asked to him, leading to his victory on the show. The police then interrogate him because they all believe that he cheated, when he did not at all, whatsoever.

See, all of Jaml’s life experiences gave him knowledge needed to know the answers of every question asked to him on the show. That is why the answer “It is written” was the correct one. It was Jamal’s fate and destiny to win the show, rise up from the slums of India, become a millionaire, and most importantly win over the girl of his dreams that he has truly loved his entire life through unbelievable and rather shocking events. Jamal himself even admits that it is his fate to finally end up with Latika when he meets up with her after winning the show. “I knew I’d find you in the end. It’s our destiny.” (Slumdog Millionaire (1:02:45). All along, Jamal Malik believed it was his fate and destiny to finally end up with Latika; he knew that there was no other way that his life could end up. Just like in Chronicle of a Death Foretold, fate honestly controlled the outcome of Santiago Nasar’s life just as it did for Jamal Malik.

Overall the themes of fate and destiny are greatly present in the novel Chronicle of a Death Foretold. Towards the end of the novel, Gabriel Garcia Marquez basically sums up the entire by italicizing the words “Fatality makes us invisible” (Marquez 113). This shows ultimately the unfortunate fate of the main character, Santiago Nasar. For instance, there was nothing that Santiago could do to prevent his death. It was inevitable that Pablo and Pedro Vicario killed him that day; the entire town knew about the murder but for some reason Santiago never received the news. That itself just shows how it truly was Santiago’s fate to be killed that day by the Vicario brothers. Just like in Chronicle of a Death Foretold, in the film “Slumdog Millionaire” Jamal’s fate was already predestined for him. It was his destiny to have all of those bad experiences that happened to him in his life so that he would become educated on all the things that ended up being the answers to the show so he could become a millionaire. His fate was written already. In both these pieces of work, it was inevitable for each of these characters to change or avoid their fate. Their destiny was set, and there was absolutely nothing that they could do to change it.


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