Noli Me Tangere

Noli Me Tangere

Don Rafael Ibarra 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 heresy and subversion. These accusations surfaced because Don Rafael refused to attend confession, thinking it useless and instead trying to live according to his own moral compass, which was, Lieutenant Guevara says, incredibly strong and respectable. As such, Father Dámaso started making allusions to Ibarra’s father while preaching. Not long thereafter, Don Rafael came across a government tax collector beating a little boy. When he intervened, he accidentally killed the collector and was subsequently imprisoned. This is when Father Dámaso and a handful of Don Rafael’s other enemies came forward and slandered his name. Lieutenant Guevara hired a lawyer, but by the time he’d cleared the old man’s name, Don Rafael had died in his cell. He was buried in San Diego’s catholic cemetery, but Ibarra eventually learns that Father Dámaso ordered a gravedigger to exhume his body and transport him to the Chinese cemetery in order to separate him from non-heretical Catholics. Not wanting to haul his body all the way to the Chinese cemetery and thinking that the lake would be a more respectable resting place, the gravedigger threw Don Rafael’s body into the lake.

Don Rafael Ibarra Quotes in Noli Me Tangere

The Noli Me Tangere quotes below are all either spoken by Don Rafael Ibarra or refer to Don Rafael Ibarra. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of Noli Me Tangere published in 2006.
Chapter 4 Quotes

In addition, Don Rafael was an honest man, more just than many men who go to confession. He held himself up to a rigorous moral standard and when the unpleasantness began he often said to me: “Señor Guevara, do you think God pardons a crime, a murder, for example, solely because one tells it to a priest, who is, in the end, a man, and who has the duty to keep it to himself, and who is afraid of burning in hell, which is an act of attrition, who is a coward, and certainly without shame? I have another conception of God,” he would say, “to me one does not correct one wrong by committing another, nor is one pardoned by useless weeping or by giving alms to the church.” He gave this example: “If I kill the head of a family, if I make a woman into a destitute widow and happy children into helpless orphans, will I have satisfied eternal justice if I let them hang me, or confide my secret to someone who has to keep it to himself, or give alms to the priests, who need it the least, or buy myself a papal pardon, or weep night and day? And what about the widow and children? My conscience tells me I should replace as much as possible the person I have murdered and dedicate myself completely and for my whole life to the welfare of the family whose misfortune I have created. And even then, even then, who will replace the love of a husband and father?”

Related Characters: Señor Guevara (speaker), Juan Crisóstomo Ibarra y Magsalin (Ibarra), Father Dámaso, Don Rafael Ibarra
Page Number: 26
Explanation and Analysis:

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To be a heretic anywhere is a great disgrace, especially at that time, when the mayor made a great show of his religious devotion and prayed in the church with his servants and said the rosary in a great loud voice, perhaps so that everyone could hear him and pray with him. But to be a subversive is worse than being a heretic and killing three tax collectors who know how to read, write, and sign their names. Everyone deserted him. His papers and books were confiscated. They accused him of subscribing to the Overseas Mail, of reading the Madrid newspapers, of having sent you to German Switzerland, of having been in possession of letters and a portrait of a condemned priest, and who knows what else! They found accusations in everything, even of his wearing a peninsular-style shirt. If he had been anyone other than your father, he would have been set free almost immediately, especially since a doctor had attributed the death of the unfortunate tax collector to a blockage. But because of his wealth, his confidence in justice, and his hatred of anything that was not legal or just, they ruined him.

Related Characters: Señor Guevara (speaker), Juan Crisóstomo Ibarra y Magsalin (Ibarra), Father Dámaso, Don Rafael Ibarra, The Mayor
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:

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Don Rafael Ibarra Character Timeline in Noli Me Tangere

The timeline below shows where the character Don Rafael Ibarra appears in Noli Me Tangere. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: Crisóstomo Ibarra
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...the door, the dinner guests behold Captain Tiago and a young man named Don Crisóstomo Ibarra. When Tiago announces Ibarra to the crowd, the entire room is silent except for several... (full context)
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Puzzled, Ibarra turns around to find the lieutenant behind him. “Young man,” says the lieutenant, “are you... (full context)
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Moving throughout the party, Ibarra finds that the subsets of guests either awkwardly ignore him or warmly embrace him. Captain... (full context)
Chapter 3: Dinner
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The guests turn their attention to Ibarra, asking about his studies in Europe. He tells them that he has been away for... (full context)
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In response to Father Dámaso’s rude interjection, Ibarra maintains his composure, despite the fact that he wants to tell the man that he... (full context)
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Captain Tiago stops Ibarra and pleads with him to stay, saying that his daughter, María Clara, will soon arrive.... (full context)
Chapter 4: Heretic and Subversive
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As Ibarra walks home that night, the lieutenant catches up to him. His name is Señor Guevara,... (full context)
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Lieutenant Guevara explains that around the time Don Rafael refused to go to confession, there was a tax collector employed by the government who... (full context)
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...collector to the courthouse, but it was too late. The man died shortly thereafter, and Ibarra’s father was thrown into a jail cell. At this point, his enemies and detractors came... (full context)
Chapter 5: A Star in the Dark Night
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Ibarra returns to the room where he’s staying. In the distance, Captain Tiago’s house is visible;... (full context)
Chapter 6: Captain Tiago
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...this day, everybody loves and admires María Clara, who is engaged to be married to Ibarra. (full context)
Chapter 7: Idyll on a Terrace
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...At home, the family decides that she will move to San Diego. At this point, Ibarra arrives, discusses his engagement to María Clara with Captain Tiago, and then goes onto the... (full context)
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To further convince her of his fidelity, Ibarra implores María Clara to read a letter he sent her. The letter unexpectedly recounts the... (full context)
Chapter 8: Memories
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Riding in a coach on the way to San Diego, Ibarra notices change in streets that used to be unpaved and full of potholes, which prisoners... (full context)
Chapter 9: National Affairs
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...then informs the old man of the incident the previous night between Father Dámaso and Ibarra, and the two priests agree that having Ibarra in the church would greatly benefit their... (full context)
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...leaves, Captain Tiago rushes to his household shrine and extinguishes the candles he lit for Ibarra’s safe passage to San Diego. “There’s still time, and the road is very long,” he... (full context)
Chapter 10: The Village
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Ibarra’s family history is intertwined with the village of San Diego. Legends circulate throughout the town... (full context)
Chapter 13: The Storm Brews
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Ibarra arrives at the graveyard and interrogates the gravedigger, who tells him that he burned a... (full context)
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Enraged, Ibarra leaves the graveyard. About to come upon his house, he sees Father Salví walking in... (full context)
Chapter 14: Tasio, Madman or Philosopher
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...deputy mayor and “almost liberal” party chief. Inside, Tasio, Filipo, and Filipo’s wife talk about Ibarra’s appearance in the graveyard that afternoon. Tasio tells them that he complained to the Captain... (full context)
Chapter 17: Basilio
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...The next day, he explains, he’ll go get Crispín from the parish house and visit Ibarra, who he’s heard has returned from Spain and who he thinks is probably a good... (full context)
Chapter 19: Adventures of a Schoolmaster
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Looking over the lake, Ibarra speaks with the town’s schoolmaster, who says that the gravedigger showed him where Don Rafael’s... (full context)
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The schoolmaster assures Ibarra that his intentions are noble, but tells him that there are many obstacles standing in... (full context)
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The schoolmaster gives Ibarra more details regarding how the friars interfere with teaching in San Diego. Because the Spanish... (full context)
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Continuing his account of education in San Diego, the schoolmaster explains to Ibarra that his encounter with Father Dámaso redoubled his motivation to be a good teacher. As... (full context)
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The schoolmaster tells Ibarra that even the new priest, Father Salví, interferes in the classroom, often reminding the teacher... (full context)
Chapter 20: The Meeting at City Hall
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...As he pauses to cough, Captain Basilio—one of the conservatives and an old rival of Don Rafael ’s—rises and delivers a long-winded introduction that opens the floor to discussions regarding the fiesta.... (full context)
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At the end of the meeting, Ibarra approaches the schoolmaster and asks him if he has anything he wants to send to... (full context)
Chapter 22: Light and Shadow
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...more notably, he stays out late at night while visiting María Clara’s house. As for Ibarra, nobody knows why he’s absent, and some speculate that he has been imprisoned for having... (full context)
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In an intimate conversation, Ibarra and María Clara plan an outing with friends the next day. María Clara pleads with... (full context)
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As Ibarra leaves María Clara’s house that evening, a stranger comes upon him in the street and... (full context)
Chapter 23: A Fishing Expedition
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Ibarra and María Clara go on the planned outing the next morning, taking with them María... (full context)
Chapter 24: In The Forest
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...in a past lawsuit that has been left unsettled. When the priest emerges, he hears Ibarra saying to Captain Basilio, “We may disagree over rights, but disagreement does not mean enmity.” (full context)
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...a lake. At this moment, Sisa appears and wanders throughout the dinner party. Seeing her, Ibarra orders the servants to give her something to eat, but she disappears into the trees... (full context)
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Ibarra receives a telegram during the party that says his plan to build a school has... (full context)
Chapter 25: At the Philosopher’s House
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The next day, Ibarra pays a visit to Old Tasio and finds him writing in hieroglyphs, which the old... (full context)
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Tasio tells Ibarra that he heard about his encounter with Elías—the boatman—from “the Muse of the Civil Guard,”... (full context)
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Ibarra turns his attention to his plans to reform San Diego, telling Tasio that he intends... (full context)
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Tasio’s second piece of advice to Ibarra is that he consult the town’s influential leaders, including the priest and mayor. Tasio acknowledges... (full context)
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Tasio urges Ibarra to “kiss the hand” of the country’s reigning powers in order to bring about good... (full context)
Chapter 27: At Nightfall
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...town prepares for the fiesta, Captain Tiago also gears up for celebration. He speaks with Ibarra—his future son-in-law—about the school’s name, urging the young man to call it the Saint Francis... (full context)
Chapter 28: Correspondences
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...the theater spectacles, the feasts, and the sermons. In a letter from María Clara to Ibarra, she tells her lover that she misses seeing him—because he has apparently been sick for... (full context)
Chapter 31: The Sermon
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...importance of respecting the church, reiterating that “indios” must revere priests. He also underhandedly insults Ibarra, though nobody but Ibarra himself understands the sermon well enough to discern this. (full context)
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While the church sings religious incantations, Elías approaches Ibarra and whispers, “During the benediction ceremony, don’t get too far from the priest, don’t go... (full context)
Chapter 32: The Crane
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...he learned so much. The yellow man then reveals that he is the son of Ibarra’s grandfather, saying “In time you’ll see what my father taught me, you’ll see!” (full context)
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...is to buried by the suspended stone after this process. Avoiding going into the pit, Ibarra offers a trowel to Father Salví, who reluctantly accepts it and descends, all the while... (full context)
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Ibarra goes down into the trench, eyeing Elías and the yellow man. Meanwhile, Elías watches the... (full context)
Chapter 33: Freedom of Thought
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Later that day, Elías visits Ibarra and informs him that he has enemies. Elías emphasizes that it’s important that these enemies... (full context)
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Impressed by Elías’ diction and his ideas, Ibarra asks who he is, wondering if he’s a scholar. “I have had to believe a... (full context)
Chapter 34: The Banquet
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That night Ibarra hosts a large dinner. All of the town’s most important people are in attendance, except... (full context)
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...Dámaso arrives uninvited. He sits down just as the other guests raise a toast to Ibarra, celebrating the young man’s project and referencing the wonderful architecture. Father Dámaso interrupts, saying, “You... (full context)
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“Get back!” Ibarra yells to the crowd as he holds down Father Dámaso. He assures his audience that... (full context)
Chapter 35: Comments
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In the wake of Ibarra’s violent outburst, the town’s influential members discuss the situation amongst themselves, wondering how they can... (full context)
Chapter 36: The First Cloud
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Ibarra is excommunicated from the church. Captain Tiago’s first response is to forbid María Clara from... (full context)
Chapter 37: His Excellency
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The Captain General decides he’d like to speak to Ibarra. Nonetheless, he must first meet with the friars, whom he’s reluctant to see. He makes... (full context)
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Ibarra arrives to meet with the Captain General, who greets Ibarra very warmly, telling him that... (full context)
Chapter 38: The Procession
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Ibarra watches a long procession in the street, which culminates with the Virgin Mary, who is... (full context)
Chapter 40: Right and Might
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...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... (full context)
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...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,... (full context)
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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... (full context)
Chapter 41: Two Visitors
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Late that night, Elías visits Ibarra, who is unable to sleep and is therefore awake and doing experiments in his study.... (full context)
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After Elías departs, Ibarra goes out into the street. He comes upon a man named Lucas with a large... (full context)
Chapter 43: Plans
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...the town’s fiesta. Father Salví takes one step back, saying, “And?” before Lucas explains that Ibarra has insulted him by neglecting to pay for his brother’s death. He asks for the... (full context)
Chapter 44: An Examination of Conscience
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...one more pill, which they store in a glass tube secretly sent to them by Ibarra. Aunt Isabel enters the room and tells her to prepare to give another confession. As... (full context)
Chapter 45: The Persecuted
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Elías tries to dissuade Pablo from launching a rebellion by telling him about Ibarra, whom he thinks he can convince to represent the disaffected people that the current systems... (full context)
Chapter 46: The Cockpit
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...they organize an attack on the barracks. He tells them this money is coming from Ibarra, who will come the following night to deliver weapons. In two days, Lucas says, he... (full context)
Chapter 48: An Enigma
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Ibarra visits María Clara to tell her that his excommunication has been lifted. When he arrives,... (full context)
Chapter 49: Voice of the Persecuted
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Taking Ibarra out in his boat, Elías explains the plight of Captain Pablo and his followers. This... (full context)
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Ibarra and Elías’s political conversation continues. Elías succeeds somewhat in convincing Ibarra, but not completely. Rather,... (full context)
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Ibarra sees Elías’s frustration, acknowledging his friend’s “suffering” and utter discontent. Elías says that his misgivings... (full context)
Chapter 50: Elías’s Family
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Elías tells Ibarra that sixty years ago his (Elías’s) grandfather worked for a Spanish merchant in Manila. One... (full context)
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Having heard his friend’s story, Ibarra says he understands why Elías feels the way he does about corruption and criminality. But... (full context)
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After Ibarra gets off the boat, Elías rows to a different beach, where he meets one of... (full context)
Chapter 51: Changes
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...Father Salví arrives at the same time as Captain Tiago. The friar tells Tiago that Ibarra’s excommunication has been officially lifted, adding that the young man “grows” on him, though he... (full context)
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Ibarra arrives at Captain Tiago’s house and speaks in private with Sinang, who tells him that... (full context)
Chapter 52: The Card of the Dead and the Shadows
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...Civil Guard. The third person answers their questions about the impending attack, assuring them that Ibarra has organized twenty people to take part in the raid. The three figures go quiet... (full context)
Chapter 54: Quid Quid Latet
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Meanwhile, Elías runs to Ibarra’s house and warns him about the coming attack. He tells him that there is a... (full context)
Chapter 55: Catastrophe
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...wanting to leave. María Clara and Sinang whisper, acknowledging that he is clearly in love. Ibarra then arrives dressed in mourning, and shots begin to ring out in the street. “Bandits!... (full context)
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After leaving Ibarra’s house in a fit, Elías ran to the forests and mountains, delirious and enraged. He... (full context)
Chapter 56: What is Said and What is Believed
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Gossip and rumors fly throughout San Diego. Eventually the townspeople learn that Don Filipo and Ibarra have been imprisoned. Bruno—one of the brothers whom Lucas convinced to sack the barracks—has confessed... (full context)
Chapter 57: Vae Victis
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...includes the ensign, the mayor, and Father Salví—brings out Társilo for questioning. He says that Ibarra never contacted him or his peers, insisting that the only reason he attacked was to... (full context)
Chapter 58: The Accursed
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The ensign marches the prisoners, including Ibarra, into the streets. The townspeople insult Ibarra, calling him a heretic and hurling stones at... (full context)
Chapter 59: Homeland and Interests
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In parish houses around the Philippines, friars speak about the news of Ibarra’s supposed uprising, using it as an excuse to throw celebratory religious feasts. “Long live Salví!”... (full context)
Chapter 60: María Clara Weds
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...his home. While his acquaintances undergo close investigations, he is left alone. Rumors circulate that Ibarra will be hanged. The de Espadañas return to visit Tiago again, and Doña Victorina has... (full context)
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Overhearing a conversation about Ibarra’s fate, the lieutenant Señor Guevara angrily juts in, saying that it is only because Ibarra... (full context)
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...people speaking with Señor Guevara brings up the point that one of the bandits said Ibarra was the ringleader of the rebels. Guevara dismisses this, saying that the defense attorney later... (full context)
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...below. A man emerges and climbs up the patio, and she sees that it is Ibarra. Elías has freed him from prison and now he’s come to say goodbye. Before he... (full context)
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Proceeding with her explanation, María Clara informs Ibarra that the man who came to her during her illness threatened to tell the public... (full context)
Chapter 61: Pursuit on the Lake
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As Elías rows Ibarra to safety after stopping at María Clara’s house, he suggests a plan: he will hide... (full context)
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As they row on the lake, Elías points out that Ibarra’s newfound will to fight contrasts his earlier reluctance to support revolution. Ibarra argues that this... (full context)
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As Ibarra and Elías debate, a boat of Civil Guard members starts chasing them. Ibarra ducks beneath... (full context)
Chapter 62: Father Dámaso Explains Himself
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...María Clara is uninterested in anything other than the newspaper she holds, which reports that Ibarra has drowned in the lake. Father Dámaso comes up behind her and surprises her, but... (full context)
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María Clara tells Father Dámaso that, now that Ibarra has died, she has only two options: “the convent or the grave.” Seeing her intense... (full context)