Characters of NOLI ME TANGERE * Juan Crisostomo Ibarra y Magsalin, commonly referred to the novel as Ibarra or Crisostomo, is the protagonist in the story. Son of a Filipino businessman, Don Rafael Ibarra, he studied in Europe for seven years. Ibarra is also Maria Clara’s fiance. 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. * Maria Clara de los Santos y Alba, commonly referred to as Maria Clara, is Ibarra’s fiancee.
She was raised by Capitan Tiago, San Diego’s cabeza de barangay and is the most beautiful and widely celebrated girl in San Diego.  In the later parts of the novel, Maria Clara’s identity was revealed as an illegitimate daughter of Father Damaso, former parish curate of the town, and Dona Pia Alba, wife of Capitan Tiago.  In the end she entered local covenant for nuns Beaterio de Santa Clara. In the epilogue dealing with the fate of the characters, Rizal stated that it is unknown if Maria Clara is still living within the walls of the covenant or she is already dead. Don Santiago de los Santos, known by his nickname Tiago and political title Capitan Tiago is a Filipino businessman and the cabeza de barangay or head of barangay of the town of San Diego. He is also the known father of Maria Clara. It is said that Capitan 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. Capitan Tiago never attended school, so he became a domestic helper of a Dominican friar who taught him informal education.
He married Pia Alba from Santa Cruz. * Damaso Verdolagas, or Padre Damaso 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 Maria Clara and an enemy of Crisostomo’s father, Rafael Ibarra. Later, he and Maria 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 Damaso, it means that he is a cruel but respectable individual. When one says a child is “anak ni Padre Damaso” (child of Padre Damaso), it means that the child’s father’s identity is unknown. * Elias is Ibarra’s mysterious friend and ally. Elias made his first appearance as a pilot during a picnic of Ibarra and Maria 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 Elias and history of his family.
In the past, Ibarra’s great-grandfather condemned Elias’ grandfather of burning a warehouse which led into misfortune for Elias’ family. His father was refused to be married by his mother because his father’s past and family lineage was discovered by his mother’s family. In the long run, Elias 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. * 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 figures hoping “that the future generations may be able to decipher it” and realized the abuse and oppression done by the conquerors. His full name is only known as Don Anastacio.
The educated inhabitants of San Diego labeled him as Filosofo Tacio (Tacio the Sage) while others called him as Tacio el Loco (Insane Tacio) due to his exceptional talent for reasoning. * Dona Victorina de Espadana, commonly known as Dona Victorina, is an ambitious Filipina who classifies herself as a Spanish and mimics Spanish ladies by putting on heavy make-up. The novel narrates Dona Victorina’s younger days: she had lots of admirers, but she didn’t choose any of them because nobody was a Spaniard. Later on, she met and married Don Tiburcio de Espadana, an official of the customs bureau who is about ten years her junior.
However, their marriage is childless. Her husband assumes the title of medical doctor even though he never attended medical school; using fake documents and certificates, Tiburcio practices illegal medicine. Tiburcio’s usage of the title Dr. consequently makes Victorina assume the title Dra. (doctora, female doctor). Apparently, she uses the whole name Dona Victorina de los Reyes de de Espadana, with double de to emphasize her marriage surname. She seems to feel that this awkward titling makes her more “sophisticated. ” * Sisa, Crispin, and Basilio represent a Filipino family persecuted by the Spanish authorities.
Narcisa or Sisa is the deranged mother of Basilio and Crispin. Described as beautiful and young, although she loves her children very much, she can not protect them from the beatings of her husband, Pedro. * Crispin is Sisa’s 7-year-old son. An altar boy, he was unjustly accused of stealing money from the church. After failing to force Crispin to return the money he allegedly stole, Father Salvi and the head sacristan killed him. Although it was not directly written that he was killed, the way that Rizal carried the novel out, such as the dream of Basilio suggests that he died during his encounter with Padre Salvi and his minion. Meanwhile, Basilio is Sisa’s 10-year-old son. An acolyte tasked to ring the church bells for the Angelus, he faced the dread of losing his younger brother and falling of his mother into insanity. At the end of the novel, Elias wished Basilio to bury him by burning in exchange of chest of gold located on his death ground. He will later play a major role in El filibusterismo. Due to their tragic but endearing story, these characters are often parodied in modern Filipino popular culture. * Padre Hernando de la Sibyla – a Dominican friar. He is described as short and has fair skin.
He is instructed by an old priest in his order to watch Crisostomo Ibarra. * Padre Bernardo Salvi – the Franciscan curate of San Diego, secretly harboring lust for Maria Clara. He is described to be very thin and sickly. It is also hinted that his last name, “Salvi” is the shorter form of “Salvi” meaning Salvation, or “Salvi” is short for “Salvaje” meaning bad hinting to the fact that he is willing to kill an innocent child, Crispin, just to get his money back, though there was not enough evidence that it was Crispin who has stolen his 2 onzas. El Alferez or Alperes – chief of the Guardia Civil. Mortal enemy of the priests for power in San Diego and husband of Dona Consolacion. * Dona Consolacion – wife of the Alferez, nicknamed as la musa de los guardias civiles (The muse of the Civil Guards) or la Alfereza, was a former laundrywoman who passes herself as a Peninsular; best remembered for her abusive treatment of Sisa. * Don Tiburcio de Espadana – Spanish Quack Doctor who is limp and submissive to his wife, Dona Victorina. * Teniente Guevara – a close friend of Don Rafael Ibarra.
He reveals to Crisostomo how Don Rafael Ibarra’s death came about. * Alfonso Linares – A distant nephew of Tiburcio de Espanada, the would-be fiance of Maria Clara. Although he presented himself as a practitioner of law, it was later revealed that he, just like Don Tiburcio, is a fraud. He later died due to given medications of Don Tiburcio. * Tia Isabel – Capitan Tiago’s cousin, who raised Maria Clara. * Governor General (Gobernador Heneral) – Unnamed person in the novel, he is the most powerful official in the Philippines.
He has great disdains against the friars and corrupt officials, and sympathizes Ibarra. * Don Filipo Lino – vice mayor of the town of San Diego, leader of the liberals. * Padre Manuel Martin – he is the linguistic curate of a nearby town, who says the sermon during San Diego’s fiesta. * Don Rafael Ibarra – father of Crisostomo Ibarra. Though he is the richest man in San Diego, he is also the most virtuous and generous. * Dona Pia Alba – wife of Capitan Tiago and mother of Maria Clara. She died giving birth to her. In reality, she was raped by Damaso so she could bear a child.