Noli Me Tangere

Noli Me Tangere

Noli Me Tangere Chapter 40 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
At the theater that night, Don Filipo tells Tasio that the mayor hasn’t accepted his resignation, instead suggesting that they postpone discussing the matter until after the festival. When the performance starts, Father Salví stares at María Clara with his sunken eyes. At a certain point, the priest approaches Don Filipo and implores him to eject Ibarra from the premises, but Filipo says there is no reason to do so—Ibarra isn’t disrupting the peace. As a result, all of the priests leave. Just as Filipo is turning his attention back to the entertainment, two members of the Civil Guard approach him and ask him to stop the performance because the ensign and his wife “have had a fistfight and can’t sleep.” Don Filipo refuses to do so, saying that this event has been approved by the mayor. He then turns his back on the soldiers, who leave.
During this scene, Don Filipo feels the strain of being pulled between two systems of power: the church and the government. It’s commendable, though, that he refuses to call off the performance, standing strong against both Father Salví and the Civil Guard members. This refusal to yield to the town’s most powerful institutions shows the extent to which Filipo is committed to advocating for the townspeople, whom this performance is intended to please. It becomes clear in this moment that he cares more about representing his constituents than bending to the will of the corrupt people above him.
Themes
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
Suddenly, in the middle of the performance, people start shouting, “Bandits! Bandits” and, “Fire! Fire! Thieves!” because two Civil Guards have attacked the musicians in the orchestra in order to stop the event. As Don Filipo and his men quell the soldiers, the crowd curses the Civil Guard, proposing to burn the military barracks. Don Filipo begs Ibarra to help him dissuade the masses from this violent idea. Seeing Elías in the crowd, Ibarra asks if there’s anything he can do, and Elías bounds into the mob to try.
The informal chain of command in this scene is worthy of attention. Filipo (a government official) asks Ibarra (an influential public figure) to do something to stop the chaos. In turn, Ibarra asks Elías (a wanted outlaw hiding from the authorities) to help. In the end, it is Elías who jumps at the task. This suggests that only somebody free of any governmental or public obligations is capable of affecting true change—a significant implication given Ibarra’s desire to reform San Diego from within the preexisting structures of power.
Themes
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
Revolution and Reform Theme Icon
Watching this chaotic scene, Father Salví thinks he sees Ibarra pick up María Clara and run away with her. Because he can’t stand the idea that this might lead to some sort of sexual act, he sets off in the same direction, running through the danger. When he reaches María Clara’s house, though, he sees her on the terrace with Aunt Isabel, who is tending to the young girl because she has—evidently—fallen ill. On his way back, he fantasizes about her sleeping body and many other salacious images. Rizal then includes a newspaper correspondent’s summary of the hectic night, which gives “a thousand thanks” to “the opportune and active intervention” of Father Salví, who the correspondent claims rushed into the crowd despite the danger and brought peace to the streets using only his words.
The correspondent’s mistake about Father Salví’s motives for rushing into the crowd is indicative of the way the public in San Diego view friars. Indeed, the mere image of a priest rushing through a riot seems to bring comfort to onlookers, and this is because the church has cultivated the notion that friars represent salvation. In reality, of course, Salví’s intentions are significantly less pure than the correspondent gives him credit for, a fact that Rizal uses to emphasize the discrepancy between what people think religious figures represent in Filipino society and what the role they actually play.
Themes
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon