Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Noli Me Tangere

For easy reading about this novel (

When Rizal read Uncle Tom’s Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel on the abuse of black slaves in America, he thought that a novel should be written about the abuses that Philippine natives were suffering at the hands of the Spanish friars. He proposed to his Filipino friends in Madrid in 1884 that they collaborate in writing a novel on the Philippines. This group of friends included his hosts, the Paternos (Pedro, Maximo, and Antonio), and Graciano Lopez Jaena. Although the others approved of the idea of writing on Philippine life, they all wanted to write about women rather than about national problems and in any case preferred to gamble and flirt than to write. Rizal then decided he would have write the entire book himself.

Rizal began work on the Noli while still in Madrid, Spain. Of the remainder, most was written in Paris, France. He finished the book in Berlin, Germany. Vicente BlascoIbañez, a well-known writer and political activist, volunteered to be the proofreader and consultant.

When he was finishing the book in December 1886, Rizal was penniless and despaired of ever publishing it. The novel might never have seen print had it not been for the support of his wealthy friend, Maximo Viola, who came to visit him in Berlin. Rizal gratefully presented him with the galley proofs of Noli on 29 March 1887.


A.      Main Characters with Representation

·         Juan Crisostomo Ibarra, the main character, is a young ilustrado who has been studying in Europe for 7 years according to the wishes of his father. Influenced by his father, his studies and his observations of other countries, he has developed patriotic and progressive ideas which he wishes to put into action in his country. (RIZAL)

·         Maria Clare delos Santos, is Ibarra’s faithful, pure and modest sweetheart. She is the portrait of an ideal woman. (LEONOR RIVERA)

·         Padre DamasoVerdolagas, was once a good friend of Ibarra’s father. He was, until the start of the novel, the domineering and condescending curate of San Diego, where the property of the Ibarra family is located, and continues to be a powerful figure in San Diego. Biological father of Maria Clara, as he takes advantage of DonyaPia, mother of Maria Clara and wife of Capitan Tiago. (DOMINEERING FRIARS DURING RIZAL DAYS)

·         Padre Salvi, is the new parish priest of San Diego, who lusts Maria Clara. (FR. ANTONIO PIERNAVIEJA)

·         Elias, a common laborer whose family has suffered much, dreams of revolution. (RIZAL)

·    PilosopongTasio, is an old man who received an excellent education in his youth but was persuaded into discontinuing hi studies, which he was told would lead hi away from his faith. (PACIANO)

·         Sisa, is the mother of Crispin and Basilio. (SUFFERING MOTHERLAND)

·         Crispin, brother of Basilio who dies at the hands of the sacristan mayor and Padre Salvi. (ONE OF THE CRISOSTOMO SIBLINGS OF HAGONOY)

·         Basilio, brother of Crispin and son of Sisa and Pedro. Last person to see Elias alive. (ONE OF THE CRISOSTOMO SIBLINGS OF HAGONOY)

·         Capitan Santiago delos Santos, also known as Capitan Tiago, he accepts Maria Clara as his own daughter. (CAPT. HILARIO SUNICO)

·         DonyaVictorina de Espandaña, is a native woman who had strong hallucinations of being a superior Castilian and looks down on her own people as inferior beings (DONYA AGUSTINA MEDEL)

B.      Other Characters

·         Don Tiburciois a former customs official who pretended to be a prestigious medical doctor in town as his bread and butter. He is the lame, stuttering husband of Dona Victorina.

·         DonyaConsolacionis the muse of the cuartel. She is the violent wife of alferez and has treated Sisa cruelly.

·         Alfonso Linares is the godson of Padre Damaso and a distant cousin of Don Tiburcio from Spain. He is hard pressed to be Maria Clara’s fiancé instead of Ibarra.

·         Padre Sibylais a Dominican friar who is the curate of Binondo. His character is a stark contrast to that of Padre Damaso.

·         DonyaPia Alba is a pious mother of Maria Clara who dies after she give birth to her.

·         Alferezis the chief of the Guardia Civil, mortal enemy of the priests for the power in San Diego.


                Crisostomo Ibarra is the heir of a wealthy clan. He returns to the Philippines after studying for seven years abroad. He hears news/gossip about the death of his father, Don Rafael Ibarra. Don Rafael was sent to prison in connection with the death of a tax collector. Since Don Rafael stopped receiving Holy Communion for a long time, he was refused a Christian burial by Padre Damaso, the parish priest of their town.

                Crisostomo sees the lack of progress in his town and decided to build a school to teach and prepare his townspeople. TandangTacio notes that there have been many attempts to build a school in the past, but all these had failed. Padre Salvi opposes the plan because he is secretly worried that the school project will threaten the power he wields over the town.

                Ibarra almost gets killed while he was laying the cornerstone off the school, but Elias saved him. Elias is the mysterious fellow who saved Ibarra previously.

                With so many powerful enemies, Ibarra eventually gets implicated in a staged revolution and is hunted down by the guardia civil. Maria Clara, Ibarra’s sweetheart, unwittingly adds to Ibarra’s woes when she switches Ibarra’s letter with another letter that reveals her true nature.

                The guardia civil catch up with Ibarra, and drizzled him and Elias with bullets near the lake. Elias staggered in the forest and met a boy, Basilio, who was weeping his mother’s dead body. This boy prepared the funeral pyre for his mother and Elias. The guardia civil think drowned and died in the lake and promptly leave the scene.

                Maria Clara thinks Ibarra really died, gets depressed and enters the nunnery. She does not follow the advice of Padre Damaso to marry Linares.

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