This is a very broad topic – Rizal

This is a very broad topic.
These two novels are touted as the novels that sparked a revolution. They are the barometer of the prevalent climate at the latter half of the Spanish rule in the Philippines. The first novel, Noli Me Tangere is Latin for “Touch me not”. According to Jose Rizal, the prevailing culture of injustice and oppression during that time was a ‘cancer’ that was killing the Philippine society and culture. As we know, cancer growths should not be touched lest they metastasize to fatal (end-stage) proportions. Jose Rizal was a medical doctor after all. Noli Me Tangere laid the ground work for the two novels. There was actually a third one in the works but Rizal died before finishing it. In Noli, he gave the reader the prevailing climate of Philippine society.

In the chapter The Rulers, he explains that the true powers in Philippine society did not belong to the governor general or the King of Spain but to the military and the church, represented in the chapter by the alferez (sheriff or chief of military police) and the parish priest (cura). Since the beginning of Spanish rule in the Philippines, it has always been the sword (military might) and the cross (church) that kept the people oppressed and under control. The abuses of the military had been widely documented and so with the church. The church undermined the gov’t — saying that no matter how high the position of the official is, his boss is still human. A lowly priest however, answers only to God. The novel goes on detailing the abuses of the military and the church by curtailing the education of the masses so they would remain illiterate and not able to mount a revolution (ironic since the revolution that toppled the Spanish regime came from the masses led by Andres Bonifacio). The church kept the masses afraid by their evangelization of hell and damnation and selling of indulgences.

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The main character of Noli is Crisostomo Ibarra who represents the indio (pure Filipino) who was fortunate enough to be educated abroad. Although Noli was not autobiographical, Ibarra could be a personification of Rizal and his colleagues (del Pilar, Jaena, the Lunas, etc) who were Filipinos who studied in Spain. It is believed by this group of people that change in the Philippines would be brought about by them (people like them) as they were proponents of educating the masses, more specifically on the Spanish language. That’s why the character Ibarra was planning to build a school. Ibarra believed in changing society from the inside, working with the system. Rizal did not really believe in the idea of a revolution, emancipation from Spanish rule. He was actually a proponent of making the Philippines a province of Spain. He and his colleagues wanted Filipino representation in the parliament to make Filipinos at equal footing with Spanish citizens. The bureaucracy in Spain was amenable to this idea. Socialism was slowly taking a foothold in the parliament. The monarchy was facing mounting unpopularity. However, the powers that be in the Philippines had other ideas. Again this would be the military and the church. In the novel, as with any good idea to improve the welfare of native Filipinos, the planned school was shut down and labelled a vehicle for revolution. The other main character in the novel is Elias. He is the alter-ego of Ibarra. He was also after change but by using drastic measures — revolution. In the end, the two differing sides were brought together by circumstance.

Elias helps Ibarra escape when the latter was imprisoned for treason (building the school). They exchanged views on the boat. Before the novel ends however, they were once again parted when Elias discovers that it was Ibarra’s ancestors that had his ancestors killed. This is symbolic of Rizals desire to have the educated’s view (change through peaceful means) triumph over the masses’ view (revolution). And that the two will never mix. To further the nail on the coffin of revolutionary thoughts, he kills off Elias at the end of the novel. He did provide a spark to keep Elias’ hope alive — he meets Basilio in the cemetary. El Fili is also a social commentary on the times except here, Rizal further explores the avenue of revolution. First he explains Philippine society as a ship of haves and havenots. The lower deck is populated by the havenots, the upperdeck, the haves. The ship looks like a waterpail — not pointed on one side because this represents that the Philippines is going nowhere just floating aimlessly at sea. In Fili, he presents a group of idealistic students wanting again to build a school for younger students to learn the language. They meet socially in a Panciteria. This group is representative again of Rizal’s group in Madrid (a veritable who’s who of Philippine national heroes). Again the group is foiled as they were all accused of treason as set up by the so-called Brown Cardinal in the person of Simoun.

The students are arrested. They were released one by one according to their status in civil society (the one with more money or connection got out first). The last one to be released was Basilio (who lost his girlfriend Juli who attempted to secure his release through Padre Camorra — the priest attempted to rape her but she jumped off the church tower). In the end, we discover that Simoun himself was the leader of the foiled revolution. He smashed the young ‘uns school idea to push his revolution idea. He planned to explode a bomb in the well-attended wedding of Juanito Pelaez and Paulita. But he was foiled when Isagani (Paulita’s ex) took the lamp with the bomb and threw it in the water before it exploded. The bomb was supposed to kill the who’s who in society and government and signal the start of the revolution.

The bomb failed and the revolters were caught. So Rizal once again shots down the avenue of revolution. It turns out that Simoun was Ibarra — made bitter by his earlier failure (in Noli), he reinvents himself and embeds himself in Spain’s who’s who to be in a position of power when he returned to the islands. Both novels were misunderstood during their time. The powers that be were too afraid of their own ghost that they didn’t really comprehend the stories. Rizal was not a separatist or revolutionary. He was for making the Philippines a province of Spain. However, they were too afraid of an educated Filipino that they banned the novels.

The ban more than anything else, pushed the revolution into the consciousness of the Filipinos. Most Filipinos of the time did not even read the books. The speculation fueled by the controversy was enough to stir the people into a revolutionary frenzy. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the execution of Rizal. The proponents of the revolution had at one time or another visited him in exile in Dapitan so it is safe to assume that they respected him and his death affected them. Source:

I don’t have any references except the novels — I read it for leisure. Noli Me Tangere is more on emotion(love of Ibarra for maria Clara,Love of a mother to her sons) while El Filibusterismo is more on anger,vengeance and revolts. I don’t have a reference I could give to you, You should read the novels or the summary of these two. COMPARISON OF NOLI METANGERE AND EL FILIBUSTERISMO

Similarities and Differences
Noli metangere and El filibusterismo are the two marked novels of our
national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal which are similar and different in some ways. The two novels are similar primarily in their author, Rizal. Another, in a way that they both talk about how Spaniards abused the Filipinos, the abuse of the church of their power and the discrimination on Filipinos. Both Noli and El Fili shows strong anti-Clerical and even anti-Catholic color. They convey one story because the latter is published in sequel or continuation. However, they are different in many cases. Firstly Noli Metangere, Latin title meaning “touch me not” refers to the letter of John 20:17 in King James version of the Bible as Mary Magdalene tried to touch the newly risen Jesus, He said “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father”.

Meanwhile, El filibusterismo is Spanish title which is known in english as The Reign of Greed. Noli is a love story or a romantic novel, dedicated to our motherland while El fili is a political novel associated with revenge and anger and is dedicated to GOMBURZA. The first is more on action and motion, the latter is thoughtful, discursive and dialectal. Noli showed a sofspoken, patient, compassionate and idealistic Crisostomo Ibarra while El Fili featured a different Ibarra who portrayed the angry and vengeful side of him and disguised himself as the wealthy jeweller named Simoun.Noli is written in the idea that would expose the ills of Philippine society after Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. In general Noli is more on the reformist side of Rizal while El fili is on his revolutionist.

Personal Opinions
Noli Metangere is actually a tale of romance between Crisostomo Ibarra and Maria Clara. Between the side lines of Ibarra and Maria Clara’s love story is the historical narrative of the era of Dr. Jose Rizal. Ibarra’s journey in the world of Noli is the life of our… [continues] NOLI ME TANGERE AND EL FILIBUSTERISMO

Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo have similarities in terms of aim and purpose. Both aim to enlighten the Filipinos on what is happening in the country. They want the people to fight for their country and have the total freedom. One of the great books written by our national hero, Dr.

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This is a very broad topic – Rizal. (2016, May 20). Retrieved from