"Noli Me Tangere" is a 19th Century novel by Jose Rizal that dramatically showcases the persecution of a socialite in the Philippines by religious hypocrisy and corruption. Rizal’s main character, Juan Crisóstomo Ibarra y Magsalin, has returned to the Philippines from abroad. He is at first surrounded by good friends, a beautiful fiancée and a supportive upper class, but a priest with a vendetta against Ibarra’s late father torments him.
Ibarra learns the tragic circumstances of his father’s death and the history behind the animosity held against him by the Friar Dámaso Vardolagas. It is obvious that Ibarra’s father was treated unjustly and died because of it, explains Kabisig.com. Still, Ibarra chooses the higher road, avoiding revenge, only to be harassed by Damaso at every turn. Damaso sabotages Ibarra’s wedding and humiliates him constantly. Another religious figure by the name of Padre Salvi becomes Ibarra’s enemy. Salvi attempts to kill him, lusts after his former fiancée and stages an uprising in which Ibarra is implicated.
Ibarra is imprisoned, loses his friends and reputation and is nearly killed, all through the relentless hatred of two religious figures. At the end of the novel he is deflated, disillusioned and weak. The bright future he envisioned for his town was shattered and he finds himself surrounded by corruption and loss.