Noli Me Tangere

Noli Me Tangere

Old Tasio (Don Anastasio) 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 being kind, “Tasio the Philosopher”). Tasio respects Ibarra and hopes dearly that Ibarra will succeed in building a school that is independent of the church. When Ibarra comes to Tasio for advice, though, Tasio counsels the young man to avoid talking to him, fearing that it will hinder the project to build a school. He tells Ibarra that people call anybody who disagrees with their own beliefs a “madman,” which means that Ibarra should seek the approval of the friars and government officials before starting to build the school. This, he tells the young man, will make it seem as if he actually cares what these powerful and influential leaders think, though this attitude need only appear to be true. On the whole, Tasio is an extreme representation of what it is to live without caring what other people think: though he enjoys a certain freedom of thought, he also isolates himself from the rest of the community, ultimately dying alone with nobody to empathize with his lifelong struggle toward reason and intellectual liberation.

Old Tasio (Don Anastasio) Quotes in Noli Me Tangere

The Noli Me Tangere quotes below are all either spoken by Old Tasio (Don Anastasio) or refer to Old Tasio (Don Anastasio). 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:
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
). 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 14 Quotes

Pure, simple faith is as different from fanaticism as flames from smoke, as music from cacophony. Imbeciles, like deaf people, confuse the two. Between you and me, we can admit that the idea of purgatory is a good one, holy and rational. It maintains the connection between those who were and those who are, and obliges one to lead a purer form of life. The bad part is when people abuse it.

Related Characters: Old Tasio (Don Anastasio) (speaker), Don Filipo (Filipo Lino)
Page Number: 84
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 25 Quotes

“You write in hieroglyphics? But why?” the young man asked, finding it hard to believe his eyes and ears.

“So that no one will understand what I’m writing.”

Ibarra looked him up and down, wondering if indeed the old man was crazy. He gave the book a quick examination to see if he was lying and saw well-drawn animals, circles, semicircles, flowers, feet, hands, arms, and other things.

“But why are you writing if you don’t want anyone to read it?”

“Because I’m not writing for this generation, I’m writing for the ages. If they could read these, I would burn my books, my life’s work. On the other hand, the generation that can decipher these characters will be an educated generation. It will understand me and say, ‘In the nights of our grandparents, not everyone was asleep.’ Mystery and these curious characters will save my work from the ignorance of men, just as mystery and strange rites have saved many truths from the destructive priest class.”

Related Characters: Juan Crisóstomo Ibarra y Magsalin (Ibarra) (speaker), Old Tasio (Don Anastasio) (speaker)
Page Number: 162
Explanation and Analysis:

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“Because sane people,” he went on with a bitter irony, “will think you are crazy, too. People believe that madness is when you don’t think as they do, which is why they take me for a madman. And I’m grateful for that, because, well, the day on which they restore my reason is the day they deprive me of the small bit of freedom I’ve purchased at the price of a reputation as a sane person. And who knows if they are right? I neither think nor live according to their laws. My principles, my ideals, are different. Among them the mayor enjoys a reputation as a sane individual, since he has not learned anything more than how to serve chocolate and suffer Father Dámaso’s ill humor.”

Related Characters: Old Tasio (Don Anastasio) (speaker), Juan Crisóstomo Ibarra y Magsalin (Ibarra), Father Dámaso, The Mayor
Page Number: 162
Explanation and Analysis:

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“The government, the government,” muttered the philosopher, lifting his eyes to the ceiling, “for all its enthusiastic desire to increase the benefit of this and the mother country, for all the generous spirit of the Catholic Monarchs that some functionary or other remembers and repeats to himself, the government neither sees, nor hears, nor judges any more than the priest or the mayor wants it to see, or to hear or to judge. The government is convinced that it relies on them, that if it maintains itself it is because of them, that if it lives, it is because they allow it to live, and the day it falters, it will fall like a puppet without a stick. The government is terrified of raising its hand against the people and the people of the forces of government. […]

Related Characters: Old Tasio (Don Anastasio) (speaker), Juan Crisóstomo Ibarra y Magsalin (Ibarra)
Page Number: 162
Explanation and Analysis:

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Old Tasio (Don Anastasio) Character Timeline in Noli Me Tangere

The timeline below shows where the character Old Tasio (Don Anastasio) appears in Noli Me Tangere. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 14: Tasio, Madman or Philosopher
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
...man who asked the gravedigger about a skull now wanders the streets. His name is Tasio, and the townspeople either call him a madman or a philosopher depending on their opinion... (full context)
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
Leaving the mayor behind, Tasio passes two young boys who are studying to be sextons. He asks if they’re coming... (full context)
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
As Tasio walks the streets, a voice calls from a window and invites him inside. It’s Don... (full context)
Chapter 15: The Sextons
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
Crispín and Basilio, the two young apprentice sextons that Tasio spoke with earlier, stand at the top of the bell tower as the storm rages... (full context)
Chapter 17: Basilio
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
...ask Ibarra if he can work on his farmland, and Crispín can study with Old Tasio. “What more do we have to fear from the priest?” he asks. “Can he make... (full context)
Chapter 19: Adventures of a Schoolmaster
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
...redoubled his motivation to be a good teacher. As such, he read many of Old Tasio’s philosophy books and discovered that the best way to teach is to refrain from using... (full context)
Chapter 20: The Meeting at City Hall
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
...drain economic resources from the rest of the town. Don Filipo tells his comrades that Tasio advised him to propose the conservatives’ idea—that the town should spend large amounts of money... (full context)
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
...priest paying for the festival or are we? Has he donated even a quarter?” shouts Tasio. Ignoring this, the mayor informs his listeners that the priest has ordered a number of... (full context)
Revolution and Reform Theme Icon
...business there?” asks the schoolmaster. “We have some business there!” Ibarra says without explanation. Meanwhile, Tasio and Don Filipo make their way home together. On their way, Tasio bemoans the fact... (full context)
Chapter 25: At the Philosopher’s House
Education Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
The next day, Ibarra pays a visit to Old Tasio and finds him writing in hieroglyphs, which the old man says he does so that... (full context)
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
Tasio tells Ibarra that he heard about his encounter with Elías—the boatman—from “the Muse of the... (full context)
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
Ibarra turns his attention to his plans to reform San Diego, telling Tasio that he intends to build a new school and asking for his advice, since Tasio... (full context)
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
Revolution and Reform Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
Tasio’s second piece of advice to Ibarra is that he consult the town’s influential leaders, including... (full context)
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
Revolution and Reform Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Tasio urges Ibarra to “kiss the hand” of the country’s reigning powers in order to bring... (full context)
Chapter 29: Morning
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
On the last day of San Diego’s festival, Don Filipo and Old Tasio discuss how absurd it is that the town has spent so much money on celebrations.... (full context)
Chapter 40: Right and Might
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Chapter 53: Il Buon Dí Si Conosce Da Mattina
Colonialism, Religion, and Power Theme Icon
Revolution and Reform Theme Icon
...whispers about having seen shadows in the cemetery the night before, Don Filipo speaks with Tasio, who has fallen gravely ill. Tasio criticizes him for having tendered his resignation to the... (full context)
Chapter 58: The Accursed
Isolation Theme Icon
...smoldering house, he feels utterly hopeless, abandoned by his country, lover, and friends. Meanwhile, Old Tasio watches the procession from a hill. He observes the crowd until it disappears into the... (full context)