Noli Me Tangere

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Noli Me Tangere

I.Summary

Having completed his studies in Europe, young Juan Crisóstomo Ibarra y Magsalin comes back to the Philippines after a 7-year absence. In his honor, Don Santiago delos Santos "Captain Tiago" a family friend, threw a get-together party, which was attended by friars and other prominent figures. One of the guests, former San Diego curate Fray Dámaso Vardolagas belittled and slandered Ibarra. Ibarra brushed off the insults and took no offense; he instead politely excused himself and left the party because of an allegedly important task. The next day, Ibarra visits María Clara, his betrothed, the beautiful daughter of Captain Tiago and affluent resident of Binondo. Their long-standing love was clearly manifested in this meeting, and María Clara cannot help but reread the letters her sweetheart had written her before he went to Europe. Before Ibarra left for San Diego, Lieutenant Guevara, a Civil Guard, reveals to him the incidents preceding the death of his father, Don Rafael Ibarra, a rich hacendero of the town. According to Guevara, Don Rafael was unjustly accused of being a heretic, in addition to being a subversive — an allegation brought forth by Dámaso because of Don Rafael's non-participation in the Sacraments, such as Confession and Mass. Dámaso's animosity against Ibarra's father is aggravated by another incident when Don Rafael helped out on a fight between a tax collector and a child fighting, and the former's death was blamed on him, although it was not deliberate. Suddenly, all of those who thought ill of him surfaced with additional complaints. He was imprisoned, and just when the matter was almost settled, he died of sickness in jail. Still not content with what he had done, Dámaso arranged for Don Rafael's corpse to be dug up from the Catholic Church and brought to a Chinese cemetery, because he thought it inappropriate to allow a heretic a Catholic burial ground. Unfortunately, it was raining and because of the bothersome weight of the body, the undertakers decide to throw the corpse into a nearby lake. Revenge was not in Ibarra's plans, instead he carried through his father's plan of putting up a school, since he believed that education would pave the way to his country's progress (all over the novel the author refers to both Spain and the Philippines as two different countries as part of a same nation or family, with Spain seen as the mother and the Philippines as the daughter). During the inauguration of the school, Ibarra would have been killed in a sabotage had Elías — a mysterious man who had warned Ibarra earlier of a plot to assassinate him — not saved him. Instead the hired killer met an unfortunate incident and died. The sequence of events proved to be too traumatic for María Clara who got seriously ill but was luckily cured by the medicine Ibarra sent. After the inauguration, Ibarra hosted a luncheon during which Dámaso, gate-crashing the luncheon, again insulted him. Ibarra ignored the priest's insolence, but when the latter slandered the memory of his dead father, he was no longer able to restrain himself and lunged at Dámaso, prepared to stab him for his impudence. As a consequence, Dámaso excommunicated Ibarra, taking this opportunity to persuade the already-hesitant Tiago to forbid his daughter from marrying Ibarra. The friar wished María Clara to marry Linares, a Peninsular who had just arrived from Spain. With the help of the Governor-General, Ibarra's excommunication was nullified and the Archbishop decided to accept him as a member of the Church once again. But, as fate would have it, some incident of which Ibarra had known nothing about was blamed on him, and he is wrongly arrested and imprisoned. The accusation against him was then overruled because during the litigation that followed, nobody could testify that he was indeed involved. Unfortunately, his letter to María Clara somehow got into the hands of the jury and is manipulated such that it then became...
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