Rizal explains that, since many of the book’s characters are still alive, “a true epilogue is impossible.” Nonetheless, he reports on the whereabouts of several characters, starting with Father Dámaso, who travels to Manila when María Clara enters the convent. Father Salví also goes to Manila, where he waits in vain to be made a bishop. Months later, Father Dámaso is ordered by Father Salví to travel to and live in a faraway province, a fate he’s so unhappy about that he dies that very night. Meanwhile, Captain Tiago is so distraught by María Clara’s decision to become a nun that he shuts himself off from the world and becomes an opium addict. The ensign, basking in his newfound glory, goes to Spain, leaving behind Doña Consolación, who succumbs to drinking and smoking. Father Salví, Rizal adds to this brief summary, is the head priest of the convent to which María Clara belongs.
Not all of the characters’ fates in this epilogue are fraught with symbolic or thematic meaning, though it’s worth considering that Captain Tiago’s life, for instance, follows in the sad footsteps of the book’s other characters who have resigned themselves to isolation. Indeed, he becomes a tragic figure when he cuts himself off from the world and becomes an opium addict, and this is yet another instance in which Rizal condemns acquiescing to solitude. Father Salví, for his part, continues as a vain man obsessed with wielding his power to spite others and get his own way, as evidenced by his decision to move Dámaso—a natural competitor of his— far away.
One night during a hurricane, two Civil Guard members see a woman atop the roof of María Clara’s convent in Santa Clara. As lightning strikes all around, the woman desperately moans in a tormented, sad voice. The next day, authorities visit the convent to investigate. One of the nuns steps forward in a wet habit, asking for the investigator’s “protection against the violence of hypocrisy” and making “accusations of many horrors.” According to legend, Rizal notes, this nun is very beautiful. Unfortunately, the investigator neglects to help her, and the nunnery’s leader—the abbess—puts an end to the matter. However, Rizal adds that a “General S. J.” hears of the incident and tries to protect the nun, but the abbess doesn’t allow him to enter the convent, and nobody speaks of the issue again, “nor of the unfortunate María Clara.”
Judging by Rizal’s description, this beautiful nun is María Clara. Since Father Salví often preaches in Santa Clara, it’s apparent that the “violence of hypocrisy” is a reference to him. That she makes “accusations of many horrors” seems to suggest that the disgustingly lustful priest rapes her when he visits the convent. It’s tragic, therefore, that nobody does anything to stop this, a fact that once again demonstrates the excessive and unchallenged power friars have in the Philippines.