Character Analysis José Arcadio Buendía


In Macondo, religion is bizarre, if not altogether irrational madness. One of the parish priests ("The Pup") delivers sermons consisting of daily gleanings from the Bristol Almanac. In Macondo, weather reports have more relevance than sermons from the Scriptures. The predictable, in this mythical world, must be the unexpected; and when the unexpected is not sin, it is either satire or magic. The gypsy Melquíades, whose age is as immortal as the ancients of the Bible, wrote the history of the Buendías in anticipation of all the events narrated in the novel itself. He dies but returns to life "because he is unable to bear loneliness." Here the narrator becomes God-like, and we have to accept the author's sense of fantasy, for in the person of Melquíades, the boundary separating reality from unreality goes to pieces. Anything can happen, and, if necessary, one may die and be returned to life or "take portraits of God Himself."

In the literature of the world — the real Macondo — the essential definitions of life have to wear a country's cultural clothes, so to speak, those that have been tailored in the artistic imagination. Thus myth and science alike are hostages to the artistic transformations of human languages, and through language, human understanding of the world, as it is and as it is not yet. To paraphrase Melquíades, words have a life of their own. In time, our most revered religious institutions are captive to stylistic change and artistic fancy of meaning.