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Noli Me Tangere: Summary and Analysis of Chapter 1 (A Social Gathering)

Captain Tiago had arranged a grand dinner.  Many guests come, most of them uninvited.  Before the evening meal, people talk among themselves and discuss different issues of interest.

Points of Note:
This chapter does not explain the reason for the gathering.  Only in the succeeding pages are we told that the dinner was in fact offered in honor of Juan Crisostomo Ibarra's return from Europe.

This chapter serves to introduce most of Rizal's main characters, those that play consequential roles throughout the book: Captain Tiago, Friar Damaso, Lt. Guevarra, and Dona Victorina.

The gathering was held at the close of October, a few days before All Souls' Day.

Rizal exposed the true character of Friar Damaso early on, how he was vile and cruel and had no regard for the rights and feelings of others whenever he opened his mouth.

The comical character of Dona Victorina as portrayed in this chapter, was inspired by a close relative of Rizal, scholars say.

Frequently Asked Questions:
Question: Name some unfavorable Filipino traits shown by the characters in the first chapter.
Answer: One common negative trait is gate crashing a party.  Doing so does not allow the host to have an idea of the number of guests who will be attending, consequently requiring him to spend an excess on food and drink all the time in order to accommodate those that might come.  This has been one of the prominent causes of bankruptcy of the common citizen. Another observable practice is that of the host not joining in the meal.  Instead of being at the table with his guests, Captain Tiago is busy accommodating everyone else.

Question: What can we derive from the argument between Friar Damaso and Lt. Guevarra?
Answer: This scenario is symbolic of how difficult it is to unite the State and the Church.

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