The book mostly focuses on discussing the Spanish colonialism that took place in the Philippines as well as the brutal treatment of the native Filipino populace at the hands of the Spanish.
Noli Me Tangere was one of the factors that led to the 1896 Philippine Revolution after its release. Not only did the book reawaken a dormant Filipino consciousness, but it also paved the way for a yearning to become an independent nation.
When it comes to the well-known characters in the book, there is a significant amount of history that goes into their development. This section introduces each character.
Without further ado, let’s have a look at the characters from Noli Me Tangere and see how the author presented them in the book.
Table of Contents
- Noli Me Tangere Characters (Main Characters)
- Juan Crisostomo Ibarra y Magsalin (Ibarra)
- Maria Clara
- Captain Tiago (Don Santiago de los Santos)
- Father Damaso Verdolagas
- Father Salvi
- Don Rafael Ibarra
- Pilosopo Tasyo
- Doña Victorina de los Reyes de Espadaña
- Don Tiburcio de Espadaña
- Doña Consolacion
- The Ensign (The Alferez)
- Father Sibyla
- Noli Me Tangere Characters (Minor Characters)
- Aunt Isabel
- Doña Pia Alba
- Lt. Guevara
- The Schoolmaster
- Don Filipo
- The Mayor
- The Yellow Man
- Captain General
- Tarcilo Alasigan
- Bruno Alasigan
- Captain Pablo
- Nol Juan
- Don Pedro Eibarrimendia
- Don Saturnino
- Don Primitivo
- Captain Basilio, Captain Tinong, and Captain Valentin
- Captain Maria
- Hermana Rufa
- The Chief Sexton
- The Gravedigger
- Related lessons
Noli Me Tangere Characters (Main Characters)
Here’s a list of the most important characters in Noli Me Tangere. They are the characters who had significant contributions to the narrative of the novel.
Juan Crisostomo Ibarra y Magsalin (Ibarra)
Crisostomo Ibarra in Noli Me Tangere is generally considered to be one of the most memorable characters in the narrative.
This young man is shown as one of the Filipinos who are wealthy and successful in completing his education outside of the country.
In contrast to the people of his country, he is sophisticated, highly esteemed, possesses idealistic beliefs, has a liberal mind, and is quite outspoken.
Ibarra intends to construct a school in San Diego to fulfill his father’s aspirations and ideals, but he becomes caught in church issues and is forced to flee the city by the deceitful Father Salvi.
In contrast to his more radical friend Elias, Ibarra generally wants to work within systems to reform the Philippines, rather than overthrow them, but he shifts towards Elias’s beliefs as the novel progresses.
Crisostomo Ibarra was a shining example of the ideal that Jose Rizal wanted to see realized in the lives of young people in the Philippines during his lifetime.
Maria Clara in Noli Me Tangere is a well-respected woman who is believed to be the daughter of Captain Tiago and the goddaughter of Father Damaso. In reality, she is Father Damaso’s biological daughter. She was born as a result of a scandalous affair that took place between the elderly priest and the captain’s wife.
This beautiful young lady is the girlfriend of Crisostomo Ibarra. Leonor Rivera, who was Jose Rizal’s childhood sweetheart, served as an inspiration for her character. Maria Clara is portrayed as a trustworthy young woman, one who is both a loyal friend and a respectful daughter.
During that era in the Philippines, Maria Clara exemplified the qualities that should have been present in an ideal lady. Rizal wanted to make the point that the society of that time period valued obedience, therefore he chose to focus on her exemplary display of that quality.
Even though she was loved and cared for by everyone her whole life, Maria Clara never lost her childlike innocence. She also shows her love for Ibarra in the most unassuming way possible, preventing her thoughts from becoming tainted with anything unworthy. She exemplifies the virtue and innocence of a Filipina who has lived a sheltered life.
Elias in Noli Me Tangere is Ibarra’s mysterious friend and master boater. At one point in time, he was given the title of “the pilot”. He rose up the ranks to become one of the most sought criminals in San Diego. He intends to start a new revolution in his nation.
Ibarra’s grandfather found Elias’ grandfather guilty of setting fire to a warehouse, which led to Elias’ status as a wanted fugitive. He does not trust other people’s opinions and places his faith in the will of God above all else. Elias, in contrast to Ibarra, favors the idea of starting a war or a revolution over implementing reforms.
Elias is one of the characters in Noli Me Tangere who represents the average Filipino. He knows that his countrymen have been treated unfairly and wants to free them from their oppressors.
This is one of the reasons why Elias is such an important character in the novel. It has been suggested that he is comparable to the well-known Andres Bonifacio.
Captain Tiago (Don Santiago de los Santos)
Capitan Tiago in Noli Me Tangere is an uncommon individual in that he is a wealthy Filipino who is native-born and lives in Binondo.
He maintains tight relationships with high-ranking members of the Catholic Church, despite the fact that he has absolutely no respect for religion, and he blatantly participates in others’ racial remarks directed toward his own people.
His number one priority is to marry off his daughter, Maria Clara, to a wealthy guy who comes from a well-respected family.
When Ibarra is accused of being rebellious, he is ready to put off his loyalty to the young man. Because of his preference for socially favorable pairings, he is ready to agree that Linares could be a suitable new marriage for his daughter.
Father Damaso Verdolagas
Father Damaso in Noli Me Tangere is an elderly Franciscan priest who has lived among the Filipinos for nearly two decades. He wants power and is obviously corrupt, and he is known for having no shame.
In spite of the fact that he has spent all that time among them, the years have not done anything to endear him to them or build any sort of affection in him for his “flock”.
He is totally racist, as well as petty and hateful, and he has no reservations about using his immense authority to ruin the lives of those who have disrespected him, regardless of how insignificant the insult may have been. He is a tyrant.
Father Damaso was responsible for the murder of Don Rafael Ibarra. He openly mocked Don Rafael’s son, the younger Ibarra. Crisostomo Ibarra fights him when he publicly insults Ibarra’s father, and as a result, the priest excommunicates Ibarra from the church.
In addition to serving as Maria Clara’s godfather, he is also Maria’s biological father, therefore he is in a position to exercise some measure of influence over the relationship that Maria maintains with Ibarra.
Father Salvi in Noli Me Tangere is a younger, more cunning Spanish priest who assumes control over Father Damaso’s post as friar curate of San Diego.
He is in many ways more dangerous than his predecessor since he is a more brilliant strategist who exploits his religious function for political influence as well as personal vendettas.
He frequently fights with the town’s ensign for power. His most significant role in the novel comes through his plot to ruin Ibarra who is engaged to Maria Clara.
Father Salvi has a secret admiration for Maria Clara.
Don Rafael Ibarra
Don Rafael Ibarra is Crisostomo Ibarra’s father. The book makes reference to him after he has already passed away.
Father Damaso was jealous of Don Rafael Ibarra because he was so rich. In addition to this, the Don criticizes the bad things that the Spanish friars did.
As a result of his actions, the harsh Father Damaso becomes enraged with him and charges him with both heresy and sedition. He dies in prison before his name can be cleared.
Even though his body is already buried in the Catholic cemetery in San Diego, Father Damaso tells a gravedigger to dig it up so it can be moved to the Chinese cemetery because he thinks he was a heretic.
Pilosopo Tasyo, whose full name is only known as Don Anastasio, is a famed Noli Me Tangere character.
Even though he is an old man with a background in philosophy, most of the people in his town think he is crazy.
Ibarra is respectful of him, and the old man provides him with sound advice. He also assisted Ibarra’s father in the past.
Tasyo is a member of a wealthy family. He has a tendency to be pessimistic and has poor trust in the selflessness of other people. In addition, he is not a follower of the religious extremism that was commonplace during his time.
He communicates his beliefs to the government in a very obtuse way in the hope that they will adopt some of his ideas.
Tasyo used a secret alphabet that looked like hieroglyphs and Coptic symbols. He did this so that “future generations may be able to decipher it.”
He did this because he was aware of the brutality and oppression that the invaders had committed.
Pilosopo Tasyo is a symbol of the educated Filipinos who once loved the culture of the Spanish colonial authority.
They gradually lost their sense of wonder after returning to the Philippines and witnessing the striking contrast in terms of the treatment experienced by the Filipinos by their colonists. This led to their disillusionment.
Paciano Rizal, who was Jose Rizal’s older brother, was the model for Tasio, one of the characters in the book that Jose Rizal can relate to.
Doña Victorina de los Reyes de Espadaña
Doña Victorina is an ambitious Noli Me Tangere character.
She thinks she is of Spanish heritage and pretends to be a Spanish woman by putting on a lot of makeup and making her face look like that of a Spanish woman.
Doña Victorina’s younger days are recounted in the story.
She had a lot of suitors, but none of them were from Spain, so she didn’t marry any of them.
In later years, she met with and wed Don Tiburcio de Espadaña, a customs employee. On the other hand, they do not have any children together.
She is very keen to marry off her nephew, Linares, to Maria Clara, and the most likely reason for this is so that she can further increase her social rank.
Doña Victorina symbolizes those who have a distorted view of their identity. This way of thinking is often called “colonial mentality.”
Don Tiburcio de Espadaña
Don Tiburcio is the Spanish husband of Doña Victorina who is limp and submissive to his wife.
At the get-together thrown by Capitan Tiago to welcome Crisostomo Ibarra, he was introduced as one of the guests that had been invited by Tiago.
This individual, who calls himself Doctor Tiburcio de Espadaña, is a con artist and a fraud.
It turned out that he was a customs officer, but he was removed from his position not long after he arrived in the Philippines.
After receiving encouragement from his wife, he now travels about the countryside posing as a doctor and demanding exorbitant prices for his so-called services, despite the fact that he does not have any prior training in the medical field.
When his patients found out about his scams, he was compelled to move to a new location where he is virtually unknown there.
He eventually makes his way to San Diego, where he starts up his bogus medical practice once again.
The entirety of his character is a caricature of the ignorance of Filipinos during the time of the Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines when the Spaniards caused chaos in the regions.
Sisa in Noli Me Tangere is another Noli Me Tangere character in a real-life setting. Her character is portrayed as the typical Filipina wife.
She is a mistreated wife who puts up with her husband’s beatings and the fact that he is irresponsible, yet she continues to regard him as a “god” despite all of this.
She’s the mother of Crispin and Basilio, whom she regarded as her only treasure. She would eagerly anticipate their return from the church so that she could prepare the meals that were their favorites.
She is seen wandering the streets, her hair untidy and her clothing in tatters as she cries out for her sons. When she actually does meet Basilio, she cannot recognize him.
It is commonly believed that Sisa represented the motherland at the time when it was going through a difficult time, just as her character did when she lost her children.
The terrible occurrences that devastated her life were symbolic of the mistreatment that her country endured at the hands of her colonizers.
Basilio in Noli Me Tangere is one of Sisa’s sons and Crispin’s older brother. He and his younger brother work as a sexton. Basilio makes a hasty escape for their home the night Crispin is pulled away. The next day he tries to locate his younger brother, but his efforts to do so are useless.
The following day, members of the Civil Guard arrive at his home in search of both him and his brother. When he realizes that his life is in danger, he flees to the nearby forest and goes into hiding there. There, he is taken in by a friendly family and stays with them until Christmas Eve.
When he finally finds Sisa, he finds out that she has lost her mind and is unable to recognize him as her son because of her mental state.
He then follows her into the forest, where she has a momentary regaining of consciousness before succumbing to the shock and passing away.
In the last chapter of the book, Elias tells Basilio that he wants him to burn him to death in exchange for a treasure box that can be found where he was buried.
Basilio will later play a major role in El Filibusterismo.
Crispin in Noli Me Tangere is the younger brother of Basilio. They were introduced in Chapter 15 as one of the Noli Me Tangere characters. Just like his brother, Crispin is also a sexton.
The senior sexton had accused him of stealing two pieces of gold from their collection.
Even though he had pleaded with his older brother to pay for the specified amount, his older brother refused to do so on the grounds that their mother would be left without food.
He had not been eating and he had not been able to visit his mother in quite some time because he had not been able to return home. After he had rung the bells, his last known whereabouts were him being dragged away from his brother. It is said that he ran away when his mother came to visit him.
Crispin is a symbol of people who have been falsely accused of committing a crime when in reality they are innocent.
The injustice that they endured at the hands of the authorities during their time has been hushed up as a result of their deaths and the cover-ups that have followed them.
Doña Consolacion is the quarrelsome wife of The Ensign. She is an elderly Filipina woman who is ashamed of her origin and pretends that she is unable to speak Tagalog, which is her own mother tongue.
At one point in her life, she worked as a laundress in the town of The Ensign. She became very rich as a result of her marriage to a Spaniard. The elderly woman looks silly in her outfit and her husband is embarrassed to be seen with her in public.
Doña Consolacion thought of herself as more beautiful than Maria Clara. She is proud of herself and expects others to respect her, despite the fact that she has been called extremely unattractive, has a filthy mouth, and has a nasty attitude.
She is most famously recognized for the cruel treatment she handed out to Sisa.
The Ensign (The Alferez)
He is the Chief of the Guardia Civil in the town of San Diego, but no one knows his name. He has a drinking problem and is married to Doña Consolacion, with whom he has regular arguments.
The Ensign is a man of Spanish heritage who is a mortal enemy of the priests for the power in San Diego to control the city.
Because he enforces curfews, it will be very hard for residents of San Diego to attend mass at the appropriate time.
Hernando de la Sibyla, also known as Father Sibyla, is a Catholic priest who is the curate of the Binondo district in the city of Manila.
He acts as a counterpoint to the otherwise mostly corrupt Father Damaso and the perverse Father Salvi due to the fact that he is rational and peaceful.
At Ibarra’s return celebration, the skilled and clever orator Father Sibyla enjoys provoking the pompous Father Damaso, and it is clear that he derives great pleasure from doing so.
He is a representation of the liberal friar, but he prefers to remain in the background so as not to draw the ire of the other priests who are in control.
Even though he is aware of the injustices that have been committed against the Filipino people, he will not take any action to correct the situation because the only thing that concerns him is elevating his congregation to a position of authority.
Additionally, he is described as being small and having fair skin, and he is said to be secretly monitoring Ibarra’s activities.
Noli Me Tangere Characters (Minor Characters)
These are the other characters that appear in Noli Me Tangere. They might not be as important as the main characters, but they still play a significant role in the overall development of the story.
She is a cousin of Captain Tiago. After Maria Clara’s mother passed away from an untimely death, she took care of Maria Clara as if she were her own child.
Linares is a distant nephew of Don Tiburcio de Espadaña. He is a young respectable Spaniard. Along the same lines as his uncle, he has falsified his credentials with the aim of advancing his social standing. Linares is the would-be fiance of Maria Clara.
Doña Pia Alba
Doña Pia Alba is the religious mother of Maria Clara and the wife of Captain Tiago. She passed away shortly after giving birth to Maria Clara.
Maria Clara’s mother is a symbol of the women who, after suffering abuse at the hands of members of the priesthood, kept their experiences to themselves out of shame.
He is a morally upright man of Spanish origin who has a great deal of respect for both Crisostomo Ibarra and Don Rafael, who passed away some time ago. In addition to that, Guevara holds the position of lieutenant in the Civil Guard.
Lt. Guevara is one of the few people who support the Ibarra family and is loud about his distaste for Father Damaso’s control.
Crisostomo Ibarra receives an explanation from Lt. Guevara on the events that transpired with his father and the role that Father Damaso had in those events.
He is a teacher that Don Rafael helped out by finding him a place to live and providing him with the resources he needed to do his work properly.
Ibarra is informed by the Schoolmaster of the poor conditions surrounding education in San Diego, which pose a significant barrier to learning for the town’s pupils.
Because the current classroom is located in the parish home, the teaching is subject to close scrutiny by the minister in charge.
Ibarra hears from the schoolmaster about the difficulties he faced when attempting to teach during the time that Father Damaso served as the town’s friar.
During this time, Damaso prevented him from teaching students in Spanish, despite the fact that the government had issued written a decree mandating that all students must learn the language.
Ibarra initially discusses his intention to establish a new institution of higher learning that is separate from the friars in the course of their conversation with this individual.
Even while the schoolmaster is appreciative of Ibarra’s assistance, he is pessimistic about the likelihood that Ibarra will be more successful in building a powerful secular academy than either he or anybody else has been in the past.
Don Filipo Lino, also referred to simply as Don Filipo, currently holds the position of vice mayor in the city.
He is a leader of a younger generation of San Diego’s movers and shakers who are less constrained by religious doctrine than previous generations.
He despises the idea of lavishly spending large sums of money on the several feast days that mark the liturgical calendar because he sees it as both a waste of money and a hardship for the people who live there.
His remarks, on the other hand, are rendered meaningless due to the fact that he is only the deputy mayor, and the mayor, himself, is a fervent believer in the Catholic church and serves as the political puppet of the church.
As a result, no one pays attention to what the deputy mayor has to say.
This renders Don Filipo virtually incapable of actually bringing about change, which means that the power structures of the town continue to be strongly attached to the church.
The mayor of San Diego, who remains nameless, is a staunch traditionalist who shows an amount of respect to the religious authorities in charge in the town.
Due to the mayor’s self-delusion that he is a religious man, he allows himself to be manipulated by the church. Anyone who is accused of heresy is consequently held in contempt not only by the church but also by the government.
Don Filipo, the deputy mayor, feels resentment toward the mayor for blindly following the orders given by the friars.
The Yellow Man
He is a hired assassin who has been given the mission to kill Crisostomo Ibarra. His plot to murder the young man is thwarted by the cunning Elias.
The yellow man helps with the construction of the school by creating a large stone that he intends to drop at Ibarra on the day of San Diego’s fiesta. When the time comes, the large stone that was supposed to kill Ibarra ends up killing him instead.
He was named the yellow man because he has a skin tone that is always yellow and jaundiced.
He is the unnamed representative of Spain and holds the position of Captain General in the Philippine government, making him the highest official in the country. He has a strong disdain for corrupt public officials and secular priests, and he is Crisostomo Ibarra’s friend.
The members of the Civil Guard, the townspeople, and the friars all hold a profound respect for him and defer to his judgment. All three groups compete vigorously for his favor.
Ibarra is fortunate in that the Captain General is not a fervent supporter of the church and its bloated power. The Captain General believes that the friars have been given too much power in Filipino society.
Despite this, he is aware of the power that the church possesses and makes no attempt to undermine it; however, he does exert some influence in order to have Ibarra’s ex-communication lifted following the young man’s argument with Father Damaso at the dinner party.
In spite of the fact that he is on board with the plan to construct a school, he is powerless to lend a hand when Father Salvi frames Ibarra as a heretic and subversive.
An individual whose father was put to death by members of the Civil Guard.
Tarsilo and his brother Bruno, are persuaded by Lucas to launch an assault on the military barracks by telling them that Ibarra is the one organizing the rebellion.
After the attack, the ensign seizes Tarsilo and subjects him to torturous interrogation. However, Tarsilo refuses to provide any information and instead claims that he has never been in contact with Ibarra. He died when the ensign drowned him in a well.
Tarsilo Alasigan’s brother, Bruno Alasigan, was among those killed on the night of the barracks attack. Just before he passes away, Bruno reiterates what Lucas has conveyed to him, that Ibarra is the leader of the rebellion.
Lucas is the Yellow Man’s brother. Wanting revenge on Crisostomo Ibarra, he conspires with Father Salvi to make the young man look like the mastermind behind the attack on the military barracks.
He is the leader of the “persecuted” men’s rebel group that is out for vengeance against the Civil Guard. The Spaniards were responsible for the death of his family.
Elias has a meeting with Captain Pablo, during which he asks Pablo to delay his plan to attack civilization, and he also tries to persuade Pablo that it would be in their best interest to have Ibarra represent them so that they can achieve their objectives in a nonviolent manner.
He supervises the building of Crisostomo Ibarra’s school and was in charge of its construction.
Don Pedro Eibarrimendia
Crisostomo Ibarra’s grandfather. He was the cause of the great misfortune of Elias’ ancestors.
Ancestor of Crisostomo Ibarra.
Maria Clara’s beautiful and talented friend who plays the harp.
Sinang is Maria Clara’s joyful friend. She is the daughter of Captain Basilio.
She is Maria Clara’s godsister, and in addition to that, she is a good cook.
Maria Clara’s quiet friend who also happens to be Albino’s girlfriend.
One of Maria Clara’s friends. She is modest and deep in thought.
An old man who knows how to reason and likes to speak Latin. He is Tinchang’s cousin and Captain Tinong’s advisor.
A woman who is easily frightened and is Captain Tinong’s wife.
Captain Basilio, Captain Tinong, and Captain Valentin
Some of the captains in the town of San Diego.
The only female patriot who sided with Ibarra in his defense of his father’s memory.
He’s a former seminarian who went on a picnic at the lake. He is Victoria’s boyfriend.
Accused of being a filibuster.
The uncle of Elias who went on to become a bandit.
He is Father Damaso’s brother-in-law who lived in Spain.
Iday’s girlfriend who noticed a crocodile in the lake.
She sided with Father Damaso and her allegiance was with him.
The Chief Sexton
He’s an individual who is responsible for taking care of the church.
The sexton basically obeys Father Salvi’s orders by carrying out his dirty work, such as beating Crispin or hanging Lucas after the assault on the barracks.
A worker at the cemetery who, on the instructions of Father Damaso, exhumes Don Rafael’s body. Crisostomo Ibarra takes this man in for questioning because he is desperate for information about his father.
And that concludes our look into the characters of Noli Me Tangere and the traits they possess. If you found the information in this post to be helpful, please consider sharing it with others so that they can gain knowledge as well.
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