A wealthy young man of mixed Spanish and Filipino ancestry who has recently returned to the Philippines from Europe after spending seven years studying abroad. Ibarra is cultured and well-respected, though the friars in his… (read full character analysis)
A woman well-regarded in San Diego for her high social station. Having grown up together as childhood friends, María Clara and Ibarra are engaged to be married, though Father Dámaso—her godfather—is displeased with this… (read full character analysis)
A Spanish friar living in the Philippines, Father Dámaso is an arrogant and pedantic priest who, despite having lived amongst Filipinos and hearing their confessions for over twenty years, is barely able to speak or… (read full character analysis)
An outlaw and vagabond revolutionary who resents the power the Catholic church and Spanish government have over the Philippines. After Ibarra saves his life from a vicious crocodile, Elías swears to protect the young man… (read full character analysis)
A Filipino socialite and well-respected member of the country’s wealthy elite. Close with high-ranking clergy members like Father Salví and Father Dámaso, Captain Tiago is one of the richest property owners in Manila and… (read full character analysis)
A Spaniard in charge of the Civil Guard in San Diego. The ensign has a bitter relationship with Father Salví, since he thinks Father Salví takes his position too seriously. To retaliate against Salví… (read full character analysis)
An old man who used to study philosophy and who prefers secular knowledge to Catholicism. This atheistic worldview attracts attention from the friars and pious townspeople, who call him a “madman” (or, if they are… (read full character analysis)
Ibarra’s father, who has died before the novel’s opening pages. Ibarra learns from a sympathetic friend of his father’s, Lieutenant Guevara, that Don Rafael perished in prison after Father Dámaso accused him of… (read full character analysis)
A very young boy studying to be a sexton, or a caretaker of the church. Crispín and his brother Basilio work tirelessly to send money home to their mother, Sisa, who is married to… (read full character analysis)
Crispín’s older brother, who is also training to be a sexton. When Crispín is dragged away, Basilio tries to find him unsuccessfully. Despite the town’s curfew, he runs home to his mother and spends… (read full character analysis)
A Spaniard who speaks with a stutter and looks significantly older than his thirty-five years. Don Tiburcio came to the Philippines as a customs officer, but was dismissed upon his arrival. Having very little money… (read full character analysis)
A Filipina woman married to Don Tiburcio. Above all else, Doña Victorina cares about her image as a beautiful and admired socialite, though she is actually—as Rizal goes out of his way to emphasize—past… (read full character analysis)
An older Filipina woman married to the ensign. Doña Consolación is a brutal, vulgar partner who berates the ensign, engaging him in intense physical fights heard across the town. It is well known that… (read full character analysis)
An elderly lieutenant of the Civil Guard who deeply respects both Ibarra and the late Don Rafael. Guevara tells Ibarra that he appreciated his father’s conviction and moral compass, which went against the church… (read full character analysis)
An unnamed representative of Spain, and the highest government official in the Philippines. Civil Guard members, townspeople, and friars alike deeply respect him and defer to his judgment, each set of people volleying for his… (read full character analysis)
Doctor de Espadaña’s nephew from Spain. Linares has a law degree and is the most intelligent member of the de Espadaña family, a fact that endears him to Doña Victorina. Eager to use… (read full character analysis)
A teacher whom Don Rafael supported, helping him find a house and enabling him to properly do his job. The schoolmaster tells Ibarra about the unfortunate circumstances in San Diego surrounding education, which greatly inhibit… (read full character analysis)
The deputy mayor of San Diego. Don Filipo is described as “almost liberal” and represents the informal party of the younger, more open-minded generation. Like his followers, he resents the idea that the town should… (read full character analysis)
The mayor of San Diego is a conservative man who is devoted to religion. The mayor allows himself to be manipulated by the church, thinking himself a pious man. As such, anybody accused of heresy… (read full character analysis)
A man hired to kill Ibarra. This man helps build the school, engineering a large stone that he intends to drop on Ibarra on the day of San Diego’s fiesta. When the time… (read full character analysis)
Crispín and Basilio’s mother, who goes crazy after losing her boys. Sisa wanders the town and forests in vain, hoping to find her children, though when she actually meets Basilio, she is apparently unable to recognize him at first. When she does, she dies of surprise and happiness.
A priest in Binondo, a district in Manila. Sibyla is a skillful and sly debater who agitates Father Dámaso at Ibarra’s welcome-home party. He is an even-tempered, rational religious figure that contrasts the absurd Dámaso and the corrupt Salví.
Sinang’s father, a pedantic man who is the speaker of San Diego’s conservative party. An enemy and rival of Don Rafael, Basilio fashions himself after famous Roman orators, advocating for a strict adherence to the church.
The Yellow Man’s brother. Wanting revenge on Ibarra, he teams up with Father Salví to frame the young man as the ringleader of the group of bandits that attacks the military barracks.
The leader of the band of “persecuted” men who want revenge on the Civil Guard. Elías meets with Pablo and asks him to delay his plan to attack civilization, convincing him that it would be best if Ibarra represented them so they can achieve their goals nonviolently.
Társilo’s brother, who dies the night of the barracks attack. Before his death, Bruno repeats what Lucas has told him—namely, that Ibarra is the leader of the rebellion.
Captain Tiago’s cousin, and the woman who raised María Clara after her mother’s death during childbirth.
A friend of Captain Tiago’s. Like Tiago, Tinong only cares about his own image. When it seems as though Tiago’s family has been disgraced because of its association with Ibarra, he quickly turns his back on his friend.
The Chief Sexton
The man in charge of taking care of the church. The sexton essentially does Father Salví’s dirty work, like beating Crispín or hanging Lucas after the attack on the barracks.
One of María Clara’s friends, and one of her cousins.
One of María Clara’s friends. Andeng has known María Clara for a very long time, having even shared the same wet-nurse as an infant.
One of María Clara’s friends and cousins.
One of María Clara’s friends.
A cemetery worker who, on Father Dámaso’s orders, exhumes Don Rafael’s body. Ibarra interrogates this man, desperate for information about his father.