Juan Crisóstomo Ibarra y Magsalin, commonly referred to the novel as Ibarra or Crisóstomo, is the protagonist in the story. Son of a Filipino businessman, DonRafael Ibarra, he studied in Europe for seven years. Ibarra is also María Clara's fiancé. Several sources claim that Ibarra is also Rizal's reflection: both studied in Europe and both persons believe in the same ideas. Upon his return, Ibarra requested the local government of San Diego to construct a public school to promote education in the town. María Clara de los Santos y Alba, commonly referred to as María Clara, is Ibarra's fiancée. She was raised by Capitán Tiago, San Diego's cabeza de barangayand is the most beautiful and widely celebrated girl in San Diego. In the later parts of the novel, María Clara's identity was revealed as an illegitimate daughter of Father Dámaso, former parish curate of the town, and Doña Pía Alba, wife of Capitán Tiago. In the end she entered local convent for nuns Beaterio de Santa Clara. In the epilogue dealing with the fate of the characters, Rizal stated that it is unknown if María Clara is still living within the walls of the convent or she is already dead. The character of María Clara was patterned after Leonor Rivera, Rizal's first cousin and childhood sweetheart. Capitán Tiago
Don Santiago de los Santos, known by his nickname Tiago and political title Capitán Tiago is a Filipino businessman and the cabeza de barangay or head ofbarangay of the town of San Diego. He is also the known father of María Clara. In the novel, it is said that Capitán Tiago is the richest man in the region of Binondo and he possessed real properties in Pampanga and Laguna de Bay. He is also said to be a good Catholic, friend of the Spanish government and was considered as a Spanish by colonialists. Capitán Tiago never attended school, so he became a domestic helper of a Dominican friar who taught him informal education. He married Pía Alba from Santa Cruz. Padre Dámaso
Dámaso Verdolagas, or Padre Dámaso is a Franciscan friar and the former parish curate of San Diego. He is best known as a notorious character who speaks with harsh words and has been a cruel priest during his stay in the town. He is the real father of María Clara and an enemy of Crisóstomo's father, Rafael Ibarra. Later, he and María Clara had bitter arguments whether she would marry Alfonso Linares or go to a convent. At the end of the novel, he is again re-assigned to a distant town and is found dead one day. In popular culture, when a priest was said to be like Padre Dámaso, it means that he is a cruel but respectable individual. When one says a child is "anak ni Padre Damaso" (child of Padre Dámaso), it means that the child's father's identity is unknown. Elías
Elías is Ibarra's mysterious friend and ally. Elías made his first appearance as a pilot during a picnic of Ibarra and María Clara and her friends. He wants to revolutionize the country and to be freed from Spanish oppression. The 50th chapter of the novel explores the past of Elías and history of his family. In the past, Ibarra's great-grandfather condemned Elías' grandfather of burning a warehouse which led into misfortune for Elías' family. His father was refused to be married by her mother because his father's past and family lineage was discovered by his mother's family. In the long run, Elías and his twin sister was raised by their maternal grandfather. When they were teenagers, their distant relatives called them hijos de bastardo or illegitimate children. One day, his sister disappeared which led him to search for her. His search led him into different places, and finally, he became a fugitive and subversive. Pilosopong Tacio
Filosofo Tacio, known by his Filipinized name Pilosopo Tasyo is another major character in the story. Seeking for reforms from the government, he expresses his ideals in paper written in a cryptographic alphabet similar from hieroglyphs and Coptic...
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