“NOLI ME TANGERE”
A. Noli Me Tángere is a novel written by José Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines was written in Spanish, during the colonization of the country by Spain to expose the inequities of the Spanish Catholic priests and the ruling government. The title, in Latin meaning Touch me not, refer John 20:17 in the Bible (King James Version) as Mary Magdalene tried to touch the newly risen Jesus, He said "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father. Early English translations of the novel used titles like An Eagle Flight (1900) and The Social Cancer (1912), disregarding the symbolism of the title, but the more recent translations were published using the original Latin title. It has also been noted by French writer D. Blumentritt that “Noli me tangere” was a name used by ophthalmologists for cancer of the eyelids. That as an ophthalmologist himself Rizal was influenced by this fact is suggested in his dedication, “To My Country”. In the patriotic novel Noli Me Tangere, Jose Rizal shaped the minds and opened the eyes of his fellow Filipinos to the abuse they suffered at the hands of tyrannical Spanish authorities. He proved that the pen is mightier than the sword. He symbolically painted a portrait quite similar to the conditions of the Philippines during that time. Rizal introduces the character of Juan Crisostomo Ibarra, the only son of Don Rafael Ibarra, friend of Maria Clara, supposed daughter of Capitan Tiago. Ibarra was like his father Don Rafael endeavours for reform primarily in the area of education in order to eliminate poverty and improve the lives of his countrymen. Upon his return in the Philippines after seven years study in Europe a celebration was held. On learning about his father’s demise and the denial of a Catholic burial for his father Ibarra was provoked to hit Padre Damaso which eventually lead to his excommunication and the engagement to Maria Clara was broken. The excommunication was later rescinded upon the intervention of the Governor General. The story of Elias was a tale of pathos and tragedy. Elias was educated in Jesuit College in Manila while his sister studied La Concordia College. They lived happily until one day an old male servant whom they used to abuse was their real father. Elias and his sister left Tayabas to hide their shame in another place. On day his sister disappeared. Elias roamed from place to place looking to her until he met Ibarra. Padre Salvi, Ibarra’s mortal enemy accused Ibarra of insurrection. Ibarra’s letter to his beloved Maria Clara was used against him. Later in the story, Maria Clara will tell Ibarra that she did not conspire to indict him. She was compelled to give Ibarra’s letter in exchange for the letters of her mother before she was born. Maria Clara found out that the letters of her mother were addressed to Padre Damaso about their unborn child which means that she is the biological daughter of the priest and not of her father, Capitan Tiago. Ibarra was able to escape the prison with Elias, who also experienced injustice with the authorities. Ibarra was able to speak with Maria Clara about the letters and thereafter forgave her. From his letter, she realized that her real father was Padre Damaso. Ibarra and Elias flee to the lake and were chased by the Guardia Civil. One was shot and the other survives. Upon hearing the news, Maria Clara believed that Ibarra was dead; she entered the nunnery instead of marrying Alfonso Linares.