Juan Crisostomo Ibarra

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Juan Crisostomo Ibarra is the main protagonist of the novel Noli me Tangere by Jose Rizal. His full name is Juan Crisostomo Ibarra y Magsalin, son of Don Rafael. In the novel, he is frequently referred to as Ibarra.

Contents

Appearance

Crisostomo Ibarra is a healthy young man who wore mourning clothes in the party at Capitan Tiago's residence. In ordinary occasions, he would wear a cravat, coat, and vest. His face was that of a typical Spanish mestizo but with brown complexion with ruddy cheeks.

Character description

Crisostomo Ibarra is depicted as one of the Filipinos who managed to finish their studies abroad. He had been living abroad for seven years. Unlike his countrymen, he has a liberal mind, outspoken and idealistic.

Crisostomo Ibarra was the son of Don Rafael, one the wealthiest businessmen in San Diego. As such, he was also a childhood friend of Maria Clara. He is a very patient and serious man but when provoked, becomes very violent and impulsive.

Crisostomo Ibarra's great-grandather was Don Pedro Eibarramendia, an old, sunken-eyed Basque, who spoke Tagalog well in his deep, hollow voice. His grandfather was Don Saturnino, a Spanish mestizo who settled in San Diego and devoted himself in planting and harvesting indigo. Despite his quiet but cruel disposition, he managed to secure his father's tomb in the old balite tree but rarely visited it. His son, Don Rafael, pursued agriculture and encouraged their neighbors to do so. This made the town of San Diego prosperous.

Role in the novel

It was for Crisostomo Ibarra that Capitan Tiago held a party, as the latter was one of the close friends of Don Rafael at San Diego. After being sighted by Padre Damaso, he left the party without awaiting Maria Clara's return. He learned how his father got into prison for defending a native through the old lieutenant he met in the party. In the confines of his room at Hotel Lala, he dreamt of how his father died. The next day, he bid goodbye to his sweetheart and off to visit his father's grave. When he learned of how his father's grave had been exhumed, he had managed to lay his hands on the present curate, Padre Salvi who informed him that it was Padre Damaso.

The man that Don Rafael had saved from the Spanish collector had become the schoolmaster of the town. The two had come to pay respects to Don Rafael's watery grave. When he informed Crisostomo Ibarra of how the latter's father prefers to educate the children of the town, he decided to build a schoolhouse for them. Ibarra had dedicated the building for his sweetheart. When he came back from his journey, he invited friends to come for a picnic. He was in a merry mood except when he helped Elias in killing the cayman in the lake. His humor returned when he settled his father's old lawsuit with Capitan Basilio through a game of chess. He also intervened in the brewing trouble between the Alferez and Padre Salvi. When the picnic ended, he realized that the pilot was the fugitive, Elias.

When Crisostomo Ibarra consulted the town sage, Tasio, he was confronted with pessimism but he pushed through with his plans of building the school. On the day of the fiesta, Padre Damaso lambasted him during the homily but he paid no heed as Elias warned him about the rigged laying cornerstone. When the accident came to pass, he managed to escape with the help of Elias. After he had changed his clothes, Elias warned him again of a plot to implicate him in an uprising. During dinner, he meets Padre Damaso who insults Don Rafael and incurring the wrath of the son. When he almost killed the priest, his hand was restrained by Maria Clara.

The incident with Padre Damaso had Crisostomo Ibarra excommunicated and barred from meeting Maria Clara. The excommunication was lifted by the Captain-General but was continued to be isolated from his fiancee. Padre Damaso had talked to Capitan Tiago about marrying off Maria Clara to another man. The Espadañas had suggested their nephew, a godson of Padre Damaso, Alfonso Linares. In succeeding chapters, he becomes jealous of Linares visiting Maria Clara and also forewarned by Elias about the plot for revolution. When the latter starts helping him, Elias discovers he is the descendant of the very man who had caused his family's misfortunes. He left Ibarra's house.

When the revolt happened, Crisostomo Ibarra had gone to Capitan Tiago's house. When shots were fired he returned to his house but was arrested by the Civil Guards. In a mock court, he was accused of rebellion and sentenced to be hanged. Elias helped him escape by boat and had managed to pass by Maria Clara's azotea to bid her goodbye. After being hidden in the zacate, a police boat pursued them and shots were fired. Elias jumped out of the boat with Ibarra still hidden in the zacate. News arrived next morning announcing his death by drowning in the lake but in reality, he is alive and well and plotting revenge. He returns in El Filbusterismo as the cunning and shrewd Simoun, an eccentric and mysterious mestizo jeweller.

Symbolism

Crisostomo Ibarra exemplified the vision that Jose Rizal had aimed for the youth of the Philippines during his time. Others attribute Ibarra as Rizal’s reflection of himself.

References

Citation

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