Jose Rizal first and probably most known novel, Noli Me Tangere certainly illustrates Filipino nationalism. The novel was truly significant in the establishment of national identity amongst the Filipinos. This novel stirred a great amount of controversy as Rizal illustrated the affairs of the Spaniards in the Philippines. According to the Spaniards officials, the novel of Jose Rizal was full of rebellious ideas and schemes in opposition of the Spanish government.
But for Jose Rizal, this novel was his way of giving confidence and pushing his countrymen to struggle against the bad qualities and doings of the Spanish government. The novel presented how Filipinos were powerless and poor in their own country under the rule of the Spaniards (Rizal, 290). Rizal truthfully depicted the Filipino nationality through his emphasis of the Filipinos’ qualities like a deep sense of appreciation and gratitude, the commitment and dedication of a Filipina together with her influence to a Filipino’s life, and the total genuine common sense shared by the Filipino people under the Spanish system.
The intense messages brought by the novel and Rizal’s other work El Filibusterismo, made some Spanish officials really furious as these novels portrayed immense abuse and corruption by the Spanish regime in the Philippines. Subversive and heretical are the descriptions that the Catholic Church had for Noli Me Tangere and the Spanish authority had banned the novel in some parts of the country during that time. Maria Clara’s is one of the lead characters of Noli Me Tangere.
She is the heroine in the novel personifying the ideal Filipina, warm, loving and committed to her partner Crisostomo Ibarra who was the hero of the novel. Other characters had symbolisms in the real-life events in the Philippines during Jose Rizal’s time. Padre Damaso (Father Damaso) was another character with significance as he was a representation of the covert or secret fathering of illegitimate children by the Spanish clergy that time.
Throughout the novel, Rizal captured the attention of the Filipinos by illustrating the prejudices of the Indios and the brutality and fraud of the Spanish priests through his writings. The fictional revolution Rizal had visualized in his novel, with middle-class intellects leading never occurred. However, Noli Me Tangere still influenced a revolution against the Spaniards indirectly. With Emilio Aguinaldo as the leader, the revolution of 1896 took place; the Philippines finally got its independence in 1898 (Rizal, 290).
The novel that Rizal had written may not be the weapon used during the revolution, but it certainly played a huge role in stirring the emotions and rage that the Filipinos had against the Spanish rule. Noli Me Tangere served not only a novel that attacked the Spanish colonial rule, but also as a character of Filipino nationalism. It was an essential instrument in forming a unified consciousness and national identity amongst the Filipinos, as numerous Filipino people up to that time were identified with their own regions to the benefit and advantage of the Spaniards.
The novel openly criticized and exposed the many elements of the Spanish colonial society. The novel sent its message to the Filipinos, calling out for them to recover self-confidence and recognize the value of their own worth. Noli Me Tangere encouraged the Filipinos to go back to the heritage of their ancestors and asserts themselves of equal status to the Spaniards. Works Cited Rizal, Jose. Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not). Penguin Classics: Tra Edition, 2006. Print. Rizal, Jose. Noli Me Tangere article.