Captain Tiago had arranged a grand dinner. Many guests come, most of them uninvited. Before the evening meal, people talk among themselves and discuss different issues of interest. In this chapter begins Friar Damaso’s frantic endeavors to prevent Maria Clara’s marriage to Crisostomo Ibarra. He tells Captain Tiago not to go through with the prearranged wedding. Here we find a more detailed and colorful description of Captain Tiago’s sycophancy to the church and its leaders. By means of the conversation between Friar Sibyla and the ill Dominican priest, Rizal further explains the enmity between Ibarra and Friar Damaso. This chapter does not explain the reason for the gathering. Only in the succeeding pages are we told that the dinner was in fact offered in honor of Juan Crisostomo Ibarra’s return from Europe. This chapter serves to introduce most of Rizal’s main characters, those that play consequential roles throughout the book: Captain Tiago, Friar Damaso, Lt. Guevarra, and Dona Victorina. The gathering was held at the close of October, a few days before All Souls’ Day. Rizal exposed the true character of Friar Damaso early on, how he was vile and cruel and had no regard for the rights and feelings of others whenever he opened his mouth. The comical character of Dona Victorina as portrayed in this chapter, was inspired by a close relative of Rizal, scholars say. Chapter 2
Captain Tiago introduces Juan Crisostomo Ibarra, whose clothes clearly depicted he was in grief. Ibarra is the main character in the story, who has just returned to the Philippines from Europe. Crisostomo warmly greets Friar Damaso who has a good friend of his father, Don Rafael, however the friar denies the existence of this close relationship. Lt. Guevarra approaches Ibarra and welcomes him, adding, “I hope your fate will be much better than your father’s.” When Juan Crisostomo Ibarra arrives at the dinner with Captain Tiago, everyone is shocked. This clearly shows that none of the guests knew the reason for the gathering. In this chapter, Rizal begins the long and consequential battle between Crisostomo Ibarra and Friar Damaso. Ibarra had clearly not expected the friar to greet him so coldly. Crisostomo Ibarra had spent seven years in Europe. He had no idea of the many events that had transpired in his country while he was away. Chapter 3
The guests gather at the dining table. Friar Damaso and Friar Sibyla both rush for the seat at the head of the table. The rest of the seats are occupied, and Crisostomo Ibarra notices Captain Tiago is not seated in any of them. Ibarra offers the Captain his seat, but the latter refuses. This is the time Ibarra realizes that the dinner was in fact arranged in his honor. Friar Damaso is enraged when Ibarra is served the meaty part of the chicken at dinner, while his was the skinny neck. Soon after, Ibarra leaves the scene without waiting for the arrival of his love interest, Maria Clara. Friar Damaso is no longer the parish priest of the town of San Diego, but is present at the dinner because he is the confessor of the Captain’s late wife. Chapter 4
Crisostomo Ibarra is out for a walk. He notices that there has been practically no change in his town since he left for Europe. Lt. Guevarra joins him shortly, and reminds him again to be careful. Only then does Ibarra find out about his father’s tragic death. In this chapter, Ibarra realizes the reason for Friar Damaso’s cold treatment of him back at the house of Captain Tiago. Then again, even Lt. Guevarra cannot find any reason why the friar would hold a grudge against Don Rafael. The first few paragraphs in this chapter vividly describe Ibarra’s disappointment on the town’s lack of progress while he was away in Europe. Chapter 5
Crisostomo Ibarra settles in Fonda de Lala and appreciates from a distance the lively singing and noise around Captain Tiago’s house, which could be seen from the hotel window. His ruminates about his poor...