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The Noli Me Tangere

was originally written in Spanish by Filipino polymath and national hero Jose Rizal and first published in Germany in 1887.

The Noli Me Tangere

exposed the corruption and abuse of the Spanish government and clergy towards the Philippine people and the ills of the Philippine society.

The early English translations of the novel used titles like An Eagle Fight in 1900 and Social Cancer in 1912

The Idea of Writing a Novel on the Philippines

RIZAL was inspired by his reading of Harriet Stowes Uncle Toms Cabin to write a novel that would depict the miseries of Filipinos under Spanish tyrants.

He proposed the writing of the NOLI ME TANGERE about the Philippines by a group of Filipinos in a reunion in the Paterno residence in Madrid on January 2, 1884.

Filipinos who approved Rizals proposal

The Paternos (Pedro, Maximo, and Antonio) Graciano Lopez Jaena Evaristo Aguirre Eduardo de Lete Julio Llorente Melecio Figueroa Valentin Ventura

RIZALs compatriots who were expected to collaborate on the novel did not write anything. They rather wasted their time gambling and flirting with Spanish seoritas. RIZAL was determined to write the novel ALONE.

The Writing of the Noli

Toward the end of 1884, Rizal began writing the novel in Madrid and finished about one-half of it. In Berlin, Rizal made final revisions on the manuscript of Noli. Sick and penniless, he saw no hope of having it published. He almost hurled it into flames. He wrote the last few chapters in Wilhelmsfeld in 1886.

Berlin, Germany

Viola, Savior of the Noli

Rizal received a telegram from Dr. Maximo Viola a scion of a rich family in San Miguel, Bulacan.

He arrived in Berlin in 1887 and was shocked to see Rizal living in poverty and deplorably sick due to lack of proper nourishment.

Seeing his friends predicament, Viola, loaded with ample funds, agreed to finance the printing cost of the novel.

On February 21, 1887, Noli was finshed and was ready for printing. Berliner Buchdruckrei-ActionGesselschaft was the printing shop which printed Rizals novel, charging with the lowest rate of 300 pesos for 2, 000 copies.

Rizal Suspected as French Spy

Printing of Noli Finished

March 21, 1887, Noli Me Tangere came off the press. Rizal immediately sent the first copies to his intimate friends: -Ferdinand Blumentritt -Dr. Antonio Ma. Regidor - Graciano Lopez Jaena - Mariano Ponce -Felix Hidalgo.

March 29, 1887, Rizal, in token of his appreciation and gratitude, gave Viola the galley proofs of Noli carefully rolled around the pen that he used to write it and a complimentary copy.

The Title of the Novel

The title Noli Me Tangere is a Latin phrase which means Touch Me Not. It is not originally conceived by Rizal, for he admitted taking it from the Bible.

Noli Me Tangere, words taken from the Gospel of St. Luke, signify do not touch me. in citing the Biblical source, Rizal made a mistake. It should be the Gospel of St. John (20:13-17)

The novel contains 63 chapters and an epilogue. It begins with the reception given by Capitan Tiago at his house in Calle Analogue on the last day of October.

The dinner was given in honor of Crisostomo Ibarra, a young and rich Filipino who had just returned after seven years of study in Europe.

Synopsis of the Novel

The Authors Dedication

Ibarra was the only son of Don Rafael Ibarra, friend of Capitan Tiago, and a beautiful fianc of Maria Clara.

Maria Clara, supposed daughter of Capt. Tiago, is the fiance of Crisostomo.

Among the guests during the reception were Padre Damaso, Padre Sybila, Seor Guevara, Don Tiburcio Espadaa and Doa Victorina and several ladies.

Ibarra, upon his arrival, produced a favorable impression among the guests, except Padre Damaso, who was rude to him.

Padre Damaso

During the dinner the conversation centered on Ibarras 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 Ibarras remarks.

After dinner, Ibarra left Capitan Tiagos house to return to his hotel. He met Lt. Guevara on the way and he was told about the sad story of his fathers death.

Ibarras father was a rich and a brave man. He defended a helpless boy from the brutality of an illiterate Spanish tax collector, pushing the latter and accidentally killing him.

Ibarras father was thrown into prison where he died unhappily. His enemies removed his body from the cemetery since Don Rafael was accused of being a heretic. Ibarra thanked the Spanish lieutenant and vowed to find out truth about his fathers death.

He then visited his childhood sweetheart Maria Clara. After the romantic reunion with his lover, he went to San Diego , to visit his fathers grave since it was All Saints Day that time.

He was told by the grave-digger that the corpse of Don Rafael was removed by order of the priest to be buried in the Chinese cemetery. But the corpse was simply threw into the lake for there was a heavy rain.

The Noli Based on Truth

The characters were drawn by Rizal from persons who actually existed during his times. Maria Clara was Leonor Rivera Ibarra and Elias- was represented Rizal himself. Tasio the Philosopher- Paciano Padre Salvi- Padre Antonio Piernavieja (the hated Augustinian friar in Cavite who was killed by the patriots during the revolution).

Capitan Tiago- was Capitan Hilario Sunico of San Nicolas. Doa Victorina- was Doa Agustina Medel Crispin and Basilio- were the Crisostomo brothers of Hagonoy. Padre Damaso- was a typical of a domineering friar during the days of Rizal, who was so arrogant, immoral and antiFilipino.

Missing Chapters of the Noli

Before Chapter XXIV- " In the Woods, there was a chapter entitled Elias and Salome in the original manuscript of the novel. The reason for deleting the chapter was definitely economic.

Rizals friends praise the Noli