Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) is a novel created by our national Hero, Jose Rizal. It is taught to Filipino students in highschool.
Characters of the Novel
- Juan Crisóstomo Ibarra y Magsalin- Major Character of the Novel
- María Clara de los Santos y Alba - Lover of the Main Character, The Prettiest Lady in San Diego
- Don Santiago de los Santos - Known as Kapitán Tiago, one of the richest persons in Binondo
- Dámaso Verdolagas - Known for Father Damaso. a former curate on San Diego, An enemy of Don Rafael Ibarra and The Real Father of Maria Clara.
- Elías - A friend of Juan Ibarra.
- Don Anastacio - known as Pilosopo Tasyo, One of the wise men of San Diego.
- Doña Victorina de los Reyes de Espadaña - Known for heavy makeup and twisted on speaking spanish
- Narcisa - or Sisa, mother of Basilio and Crispin
- Crispín - a 7-year-old Altar boy, youngest of the siblings, killed in his encounter of Father Salvi and His Minion
- Basilio - a 10-year old Altar boy, eldest of the Sibling, has a major role on El Filibustirismo
- El Alferez-a husband of Dona Consolacion
- Don Tribunco De Espandana- a spanish quack doctor. wife of Dona Victorina
- Tiyente Guevara- A close friend of Don Rafael Ibarra, Which tells to his friend's son about his father's death
- Alfonso Linares- A fraud, Father Damaso Chose him to marry Maria Clara
- Tia Isabel-Foster mother of Maria Clara, Cousin of Captain Tiyago
- Governor-General - The Powerful man in the Philippines
- Filipo Nino- Vice Mayor of San Diego.
- Maunel Martin- Linguist Curate of a nearby town
- Don Rafael Ibarra- the Deceased Father of Juan Cristosomo. and One of the Richest man in san Diego
- Pia- Alba- Mother of Maria Clara and the Wife of Captain Tiyago
- Pedro Eibarramendia- Great Grandfather of Juan Ibarra
(The novel is divided into chapters.)
Having completed his studies in Europe, young Juan Crisóstomo Ibarra y Magsalin came back to the Philippines after a seven-year absence. In his honor, Don Santiago de los Santos, also known as "Captain Tiago", a family friend, threw a welcome home party, attended by friars and other prominent figures. One of the guests, Fray Dámaso Vardolagas, the former curate of San Diego, belittled and slandered Ibarra.
The next day, Ibarra visits his betrothed María Clara, 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 in time for the town fiesta, 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. Fr. Dámaso's animosity towards Ibarra's father is aggravated by another incident when Don Rafael helped out in a fight between a tax collector and a child, with the former's death being blamed on him, although it was not deliberate. Suddenly, all 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. His remains, formerly interred at the local cemetery, were exhumed and thrown in the lake as per Fray Dámaso's orders a few years past.
Revenge was not in Ibarra's plans, instead he carried through his father's plan of putting up a school, since he believed education would pave the way to his country's progress (all throughout the novel, the author refers to both Spain and the Philippines as two different countries but part of the 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 warned him of the plot (which involved the derrick supporting the cornerstone to be laid on the foundation collapsing on him). Instead the hired killer met an unfortunate incident and died.
After the inauguration, Ibarra hosted a luncheon which Fr. Dámaso gate-crashed. The friar again insulted Ibarra, who 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. Consequently, Dámaso excommunicated Ibarra for assaulting a cleric, taking this opportunity to persuade the already-hesitant Tiago to forbid his daughter from marrying Ibarra. The friar instead wanted María Clara to marry Alfonso Linares de Espadaña, a Peninsular who just arrived from Spain.
With the help of the Governor-General, Ibarra's excommunication was lifted and the Archbishop of Manila decided to receive him into the Church once again.
A revolt happened soon after, and both Spanish colonial officials and friars implicated Ibarra as its mastermind. Thus, he was arrested and detained, later disdained by those who had become his friends.
Meanwhile, in Capitán Tiago's residence, a party was being held to announce the upcoming wedding of María Clara and Linares. Ibarra, with the help of Elías, took this opportunity to escape from prison. Before leaving, Ibarra spoke to María Clara and accused her of betraying him, thinking she gave the letter he wrote her to the jury. María Clara explained that she would never conspire against him, but that she was forced to surrender Ibarra's letter to Father Salví, in exchange for the letters written by her mother, Doña Pia, even before she, María Clara, was born.
María Clara, thinking Ibarra had been killed in the shooting incident, was greatly overcome with grief. Robbed of hope and severely disillusioned, she asked Dámaso to confine her to a nunnery. Dámaso reluctantly agreed when she threatened to take her own life, demanding, “the nunnery or death!” Unbeknownst to her, Ibarra was still alive and able to escape, as it was Elías who had taken the shots.
It was Christmas Eve when Elías woke up, fatally wounded, in the forest where he had instructed Ibarra to meet him. Instead, Elías found the altar boy Basilio cradling his already-dead mother, Sisa. The woman had lost her mind after learning that Basilio and her other son, Crispín, were chased out of the convento by the sacristan mayor on suspicions of stealing two gold pieces.Elías, convinced he would die soon, instructs Basilio to build a funeral pyre and cremate his and Sisa's corpses. He tells Basilio that, if nobody reaches the place, he was to return later and dig as he would find gold. Elías then tells the boy to take the gold and use it to get an education. In his dying breath, he instructed Basilio to continue dreaming about freedom for his motherland with the words:
“ I shall die without seeing the dawn break upon my homeland. You, who shall see it, salute it! Do not forget those who have fallen during the night. ”
Elías died thereafter.
In the epilogue, it was explained that Tiago became addicted to opium and was seen to frequent the public opium den in Binondo. María Clara became a nun and Salví, who had lusted after her from the beginning of the novel, regularly used her to sate his carnal desires. One stormy evening, a beautiful yet insane woman was seen on the roof of the nunnery, crying and cursing the heavens for the fate it had handed her. While the woman was never identified by name, the novel insinuates that it was María Clara.
The Novel is the El Filibustirismo.