Gabriel García Márquez was born on 6 March 1927 in the town of Aracataca, Colombia. García Márquez is a major novelist and short-story writer of considerable international significance. He is perhaps most well known for his masterpiece, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), a family saga set in the fictional town of Macondo, a place much like García Márquez's native Aracataca.
García Márquez studied law and journalism at the National University in Bogóta and at the University of Cartagena. He was a founder of Prensa Latina, a Cuban press agency, and worked in the Prensa Latina office in Havana and New York. In 1958 he married Mercedes Barcha Pardo; they had two children.
In 1982 García Márquez was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. García Márquez’s enthusiasm for Fidel Castro is well known, as is his allegiance with Cuba and sympathy for Latin American revolutionary groups.
In this, García Marquez’s only play, themes we have seen before in his fiction surface in the dramatic form. Love and marriage in the context of a rigid social hierarchy are scrutinised. Graciela is a poor girl who becomes besotted with a seemingly progressive hippy from a rich family but his radicalism soon reverts to the behaviours of the Colombian upper class he was born into. For the elite at the top of Colombian society is a life of excessive materialism and privilege, removed from the meaningful human realities beyond their small sphere.
In Diatriba de amor contra un hombre sentado García Márquez also returns to his enduring theme of love as a kind of sickness and a tremendous source of pain. Graciela endures a life of undying love for a man who does not reciprocate her devotion. Love which causes suffering goes hand in hand with another of García Márquez’s abiding themes: solitude. Graciela is painfully alone in her marriage, denied any real intimacy by her husband, Flavio. Rather, he embodies his class, obsessed by material wealth and social status and oblivious to any other human experience which surrounds him, even though it comes as close to him as it can, in the form of his wife who demands his emotional engagement.
Gabriel García Márquez is inevitably associated with magic realism in his fiction, although this is not a prominent feature of his drama. The monologue does have a literary quality, however, in the character of Graciela’s evocative descriptions and storytelling.
Diatribe of Love Against a Seated Man can be seen as a naturalistic play, although Graciela does break the ‘fourth wall’ by addressing the audience directly and asking for their participation in her performance. At one point in the play, for example, she loses the thread of what she was talking about and asks the audience to remind her.
Hart, Stephen M. 2010. Gabriel García Márquez. London, Reaktion
Martin, Gerald. 2008. Gabriel García Márquez. A Life. London, Bloomsbury
Williams, Raymond L. 1984. Gabriel García Márquez. New York, Twayne
Entry written by Gwendolen Mackeith. Last updated on 4 March 2011.