Absolute Power In Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years Of Solitude

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It is common for people to criticize American presidents, but history has shown that worse leaders and forms of government have existed. In Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, Arcadio, a school teacher, after being given the position of Macondo’s leader by his uncle Colonel Aureliano Buendia, demonstrated how cruel certain forms of governing can be. For example, he had a trumpeter shot for playing a disrespectful melody. Additionally, when Don Apolinar Moscote insulted Arcadio for being a bad leader, he was dragged away and his daughters were flogged. These practices show that Arcadio’s governing style is based more on a primal form of leadership than on a civilized one. History and literature have demonstrated that there…show more content…
Sandars and Common Sense by Thomas Paine provide examples which demonstrate that absolute power can result in a tragic state of affairs. In the early centuries, monarchies and hereditary succession were the norms; however, in Common Sense, Paine shows us that hereditary succession is a very poor model for a society to follow. Despite the fact that Arcadio is more or less a contemporary character, his practices do more to echo the behaviors of tyrannical kings and leaders of the crueler ages. The events that occur in the first few pages of chapter 6 of One Hundred Years of Solitude aptly portray some of the more brutal models of conquest in all their folly. History has proven that there is a tendency for people with unregulated power to become immoral. This is shown in One Hundred Years of Solitude by the way that Arcadio “imposed obligatory military service from men over eighteen, declared to be public property any animals walking the streets after six in the…show more content…
This is evident through his actions. Perhaps this came naturally to him, as his first action, when he was given the position, was to give “a very personal interpretation to the instructions” (Marquez 104) that had been given to him to watch over and govern Macondo. There were no mandates to rule with cruelty, but that was his inclination. This mirrors the behavior of many tyrants throughout history. While the circumstances involving the rise to power of other tyrannical leaders are not the same, the use of force to attain compliance was not dissimilar. Paine illustrates William the Conqueror’s tendency to rule with an iron fist. “When William the Conqueror subdued England he gave them law at the point of the sword; and until we consent that the seat of government in America, be legally and authoritatively occupied, we shall be in danger of having it filled by some fortunate ruffian, who may treat us in the same manner, and then, where will be our freedom? where our property?” (Paine 108). Whether it is moral or immoral, history is filled with people who have used force to govern others. In On the Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche lists a plethora of atrocities committed by the early Germans in order to establish their dominance: “… breaking on the wheel… , impalement on the stake, tearing apart or trampling by horses, boiling the criminal in oil or wine, the popular practice of

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