Synopsis of "Noli Me Tangere"
The novel Noli Me Tangere contains 63 chapters and epilogue. It begins with a reception given by Capitan Tiago (Santiago de los Santos) at his house in Calle Analogue (now Juan Luna Street) on the last day of October. The reception or dinner is given in honor of Crisostomo Ibarra, a young and rich Filipino who had just returned after seven years of study in Europe. Ibarra was the only son of Don Rafael Ibarra, friend of Capitan Tiago, and a fiancé of beautiful Maria Clara, supposed daughter of Capitan Tiago. Among the guests during the reception were Padre Damaso, a fat Franciscan friar who had been parish priest for 20 years of San Diego (Calamba), Ibarra’s native town; Padre Sybila, a young Dominican parish priest of Binondo; Señor Guevara, as elderly and kind lieutenant of the Guardia Civil; Don Tiburcio de Espadaña, a bogus Spanish physician, lame, and henpecked husband of Doña Victorina; and several ladies. Ibarra, upon his arrival, produced a favorable impression among the guests, except Padre Damaso, who has rude to him. In accordance with a German custom, he introduced himself to the ladies. During the dinner the conversation centered on Ibarra’s studies and travels abroad. Padre Damaso was in bad mood because he got a bony neck and a hard wing of the chicken tinola. He tried to discredit Ibarra’s remarks. After dinner, Ibarra left Capitan Tiago’s house to return to his hotel. On the way, the kind Lieutenant Guevara told him the sad story of his father’s death in San Diego. Don Rafael, his father, was a rich and brave man. He defended a helpless boy from the brutality of an illiterate Spanish tax collector, pushing the latter and accidentally killing him. Don Rafael was thrown in prison, where he died unhappily. He was buried in consecrated ground, but his enemies, accusing him being a heretic, had his body removed from the cemetery. On hearing about his father’s sad story, Ibarra thanked the kind Spanish lieutenant and vowed to find out the truth about his father’s death. The following morning, he visited Maria Clara, his childhood sweetheart. Maria Clara teasingly said that he had forgotten her because the girls in Germany were beautiful. Ibarra replied that he had never forgotten her. After the romantic reunion with Maria Clara, Ibarra went to San Diego to visit his father’s grave. It was All Saint’s Day. At the cemetery, the grave digger told Ibarra that the corpse of Don Rafael was removed by order of the parish priest to be, buried in the Chinese cemetery; but the corpse was heavy and it was a dark and rainy night so that he (the grave-digger) simply threw the corpse into the lake. Ibarra was angered by the grave-digger’s story. He left the cemetery. On the way, he met Padre Salvi, Franciscan parish priest of San Diego. In a flash, Ibarra pounced on the priest, demanding redress for desecrating his father’s mortal remains. Padre told him that he had nothing to do with it, for he was not the parish priest at the time of Don Rafael’s death. It was Padre Damaso, his predecessor, who was responsible for it. Convinced for Padre Salvi’s innocence, Ibarra went away. In his town Ibarra met several interesting people, such as the wise old man, Tasio the philosopher, whose ideas were too advanced for his times so that the people, who could not understand him, called him “Tasio the Lunatic;” the progressive school teacher, who complained to Ibarra that the children were losing interest to their studies because of the lack proper school house and the discouraging attitude of the parish friar towards both the teaching of Spanish and of the use of modern methods of pedagogy; the spineless gobernadorcillo, who catered to the wishes of the Spanish parish friars; Don Filipo Lino, the teniente-mayor and leader of the cuardrilleros (town police); and the former gobernadorcillos who were prominent citizens Don Basilio and Don Valentin. A most tragic story in the novel is the tale of Sisa, who was...
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