In Noli Me Tangere, there are many characters that appear in the novel but have at least one role. Listed here are the nine most important characters in the story:
Juan Crisóstomo Ibarra y Magsalin , commonly called Ibarra, is half Filipino-Spanish and the only descendant of the wealthy Spaniard Don Rafael Ibarra. He was born and grew up in the Philippines, but during his adolescence, spent seven years studying in Europe. Those years prevented him from knowing what was happening in his country. When he returned to the Philippines, he found his father had died and the corpse was (supposedly) moved to a Chinese cemetery (but the body ended up in a river). He heard tales of how helpful and kind his father had been and decided to honor the memory of his father by doing as his father did.
María Clara de los Santos y Alba, is the most dominant yet weakest representation of women in the setting. When thinking of Noli, the name of María Clara can be seen predominantly as the image of the ideal Filipino woman. María Clara is the primary female character in the novel. She is the daughter of Capitán Tiago and Doña Pía Alba. Doña Pía died while delivering Maria Clara. The poor child grew under the guidance and supervision of Tía Isabél, Capitán Tiago's cousin.
María Clara is known to be Ibarra's lover since childhood. When Ibarra was away in Europe, Capitán Tiago sent Maria Clara to the Beaterio de Santa Clara where she developed into a lovely woman under the strict guidance of the religious nuns.
Later in the novel, María Clara discovers that her biological father is not Capitán Tiago, but San Diego's former curate and her godfather Padre Dámaso.
Dámaso Verdolagas (commonly known as Padre Dámaso/Padre Damaso or Father Damaso), of Franciscan order, was the former curate of the parish church of San Diego. He was the curate for almost twenty years before he replaced by much younger Padre Salvi. Padre Damaso was known to be friendly with the Ibarra family, so much that Crisóstomo was surprised by what the former curate had done to Don Rafaél.
Padre Dámaso is described to be snobbish, ruthless and judgemental extrovert. He does not control his words when speaking and does not care if the person he is talking to feel embarassed or remorseful. He always berates or criticizes other people around him-- especially towards Ibarra. Enraged, Ibarra once assaulted and stabbed the priest after he embarassed him in front of the people in the sacristy. This made everyone think of him dead before Ibarra was being issued for arrest.
There are also issues that he and Donya Pia had a relationship and also revealed that he is the biological father of Maria Clara.
Don Santíago de los Santos, commonly known as Capitán Tiago, is the only son of a wealthy trader in Malabon. Due to his mother's cruelty, Capitán Tiago did not attain any formal education. He became a servant of a Dominican priest. When the priest and his father died, Capitán Tiago decided to assist in the family business of trading before he met his wife Doña Pía Alba, who came from another wealthy family. Because of their consistent devotion to Santa Clara in Obando, they were blessed with a daughter who shared the same features as Padre Dámaso, named Maria Clara.
Capitán Tiago owned numerous properties in Pampanga, Laguna and especially, in San Diego. He also managed boarding houses along Daang Anloague and Santo Cristo (in San Diego too) and had contracts for opening an opium business.
He is close to the priests because he had given numerous contributions of money during ecclesiastical donations and always invited the parish curate to every formal dinner. He was also entrenched with the government because he always supported tax increases whenever the local officials wished. That was the reason he obtained the title of gobernadorcillo, the highest government position that a non-Spaniard could have in the Philippines.
Later in the Noli sequel, El Filibusterismo, Capitán Tiago loses all his properties and becomes addicted to opium, which would eventually lead to his death.
Don Anastacio, commonly known as Filósofo Tacio (Philosopher Tasyo) is one of the most important characters in Noli. On the one hand, he is referred to as a philosopher/sage (hence, Pilosopo Tasyo) because his ideas were accurate with the minds of the townspeople. On the other hand, if his ideas were against the thinking of the majority, he was considered the Imbecile Tacio (or Tasyong Sintu-sinto) or Lunatic Tacio (Tasyong Baliw).
Filósofo Tacio was born into a wealthy Filipino family. His mother let him be formally educated, then abruptly ordered him to stop. She feared Tasyo would become "too educated" and lose his faith and devotion to religion. His mother gave him two choices: either go into the priesthood or stop his education. Tasyo chose the latter because he had a girlfriend that time. Soon enough, they married and after a year, Tasyo widowed while his mother also died. Most of his time was taken up in reading and buying books that all his properties were lost and he became poor.
Eliás came from the family which the Ibarra clan had oppressed for generations. He grew up in a wealthy family until he discovered something that changed his life forever. Despite that Ibarra's family subjugated his family, he is entirely indebted towards him. He is also the one who pushed Ibarra away from being crushed by a huge tombstone during his father funeral. Furthermore, Ibarra, who in turn, saved Elías' life when they tried to kill a crocodile. Elias helped him again before Ibarra gets arrested by burning his house. Elias and Ibarra continued supporting each other until Elias sacrificed himself to help him one last time. He was shot by the guards (mistakenly took as Ibarra trying to dive down the river and escape) and slowly died.
Doña Victorina de los Reyes de Espadaña is the one who pretended to be a meztisa (a Spaniard born in the Phillipines) and always dreamed of finding a Spanish husband, in which she married Don Tiburcio. She was feared by everyone in the town because of her odd appearance, her ruthless personality, and her fierce rivalry against Donya Consolacion.
It actually came to pass but she did not like Don Tiburcio. She merely forced herself to marry him despite having fallen in love with Kapitan Tiyago.
Narcisa is married to the man named Pedro and the mother of Basilio and Crispín. She depicts how Filipino mothers love their children unquestionably.
After days when Crispin was held captive by Mang Tasyo, the owner of the sacristy, she was arrested, locked up in the jail. Weeks later, she was pardoned by the town Alferez and was released. However, when she returned home, Basilio was also gone. When she found Crispin's clothes soaked with blood, she grew lunatic as she continues to find her children.
At the end of the novel, Basilio grievously mourns for his mother as he found her lying dead under the tree.
Doña Consolacíon, la musa de los guardias civiles y esposa del Alférez once a laundry woman who worked for the town Alferez. She became wealthy after marrying a Spanish husband. Despite that they are rivals with Donya Victorina, they are somewhat common.
Tiya Isabel Salome Sinang Crispin Basilio
Notes on Filipinization of namesEdit
As mentioned on the introduction page, Noli Me Tangere was originally written in Spanish. Specifically, when Noli was translated into the Tagalog language, many names were retained with their Spanish spelling. However, when later Tagalog editions came into print, apart from removing the diacritics, names were modified into Tagalog orthography. Although many names in the novel retained the Spanish spelling, a vast majority is in Tagalog.
- Crisóstomo Ibarra is spelled now Crisostomo Ibarra in Tagalog and English texts of Noli.
- María Clara is now spelled Maria Clara, while others spelled the name as Mariya Klara or Mariya Clara.
- Padre Dámaso is now spelled as Padre Damaso, other books use the conventional Pari Damaso (pari being the Filipino word for father-priest, even though padre is a Filipino word too). In English, Father Damaso is used.
- Capitán Tiago is now spelled Kapitang Tiyago or Kapitan Tiyago, although in English it is widely known as Captain Tiyago or Captain Tiago.
- Filósofo Tasyo is now spelled Pilosopong Tasyo or Pilosopo Tasyo. In English, it is either Pilosopo Tacio, Sage Tacio, Sage Tasyo, or any word that describes somebody with incredible intelligence. Tacio can also be an alternate for Tasyo.
- Elías is now spelled Elias. Elijah is not acceptable.
- Doña Consolación is now spelled Donya Consolacion. (see below)
- Alférez is now spelled Alperes. English texts employ the use of Alferez although some use the word's semi-equivalent, lieutenant-general.
- Gobernador General is now spelled Gobernador Heneral (or with the dash in between the words Gobernador and Heneral). In English, it is Governor-general.
- Teniente is now spelled tinyente or tenyente. In English, it is lieutenant.
- Guardia Civil is now spelled guardiya sibil, guwardiya sibil or guardia sibil. In English, it is civil guard.
- Gobernadorcillo is now spelled gobernadorsilyo. In English it is still spelled the same way as Spanish.
Being in hispanic society, Spanish honorific titles such as the following below is used. hereby accompanied some transformation of those titles when Noli was translated in Filipino and English:
|Original Spanish||In Filipino/Tagalog translation||In English translation|
|Don||don, ginoo||Don, sir, master, mister, Mr.|
|Doña||donya, ginang||Doña, madame, Mrs.|
|Señor||senyor, ginoo||Señor, mister, Mr.|
|Señorita||senyorita, binibini||Señorita, miss, Ms.|