Elias

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Elias is a stranger who arrived in the town of San Diego in Jose Rizal’s novel, Noli Me Tangere. He is Ibarra's friend and is said to represent the more radical side of Rizal.

Appearance

Elias is depicted as a man who wears a salakot which hides mostly his facial features. If he's not wearing the salakot, his long hair frames his manly face. He wears crude clothing over his muscular body that is filled with bumps and bruises. He is tall with a deep voice and tanned muscular body.

Character description

Elias is a former boatman who became one of the most wanted criminals in San Diego. He distrusts human judgment and prefers God's justice instead. He is acquainted with the tulisanes and other crooks, which he uses to his advantage in discerning the troubles of the town.

Elias used to have an affluent life with his twin sister. He was educated in a Jesuit College with servants that wait upon him. He prefers a revolution over the reforms that Ibarra has been inclined to believe in. In the English translation of the novel, he is referred to as the Pilot.

Role in the novel

Elias was first mentioned in Chapter 24 as the rogue who managed to inflict physical harm on Padre Damaso and the alferez, according to Padre Salvi. During the very long sermon, he managed to warn Ibarra about the attempt to murder him during the school's inauguration. When Ibarra could not avoid the situation Elias had warned him about, the latter managed to save him from the collapsed scaffolding.

In Chapter 49, Ibarra's conversation with Elias focused on the reforms in their society. Ibarra's sheltered life had made him blind to the needs of the country while Elias' misfortunes had him hankering for revolution.

Elias' history began to unfold with his lineage, as to how his grandfather had been shamed by this Spanish merchant and his grandmother had resorted to prostitution to make ends meet up to the time when he learned of his horrible lineage after insulting a distant relative. His friendship with Ibarra grows awry when the former discovered that the merchant who had been the root of his family's miseries had been Ibarra's great grandfather, Pedro Eibarramendia. However, he helps burn Ibarra's papers which may be used against the latter.

Despite the misery Ibarra's family had done to him, Elias helps him escape and visit Maria Clara one last time. He managed to let Ibarra live when he hid the latter in the boat while he swam for the shore to escape. Since he was injured severely, he instructs Basilio to burn his corpse and Sisa's and to take the gold which he had buried.

Symbolism

Elias represents the common Filipino who is not only aware of the injustices done to their countrymen but would also like to deliver them from their oppressors. He is said to be the personification of Andres Bonifacio.

References