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Noli Me Tangere: Summary and Analysis of Chapter 34 (The Dinner)

Ibarra returns to the schoolhouse.  He and the mayor are seated on either side of the long table at dinner.  Also in attendance are Captain Tiago, the alferez, and the town captain.  Captain Tiago receives a telegram, informing him that the captain general will be visiting his house.  Tiago excuses himself right away.

The guests observe that Friar Damaso is not in attendance.  Talk eventually centers on the priest's sermon during the mass.  Only Friar Salvi remains silent and motionless in his seat.  When Damaso finally arrives, the dinner is just about finished.  The priest starts declaring insults with the intention of enraging and provoking Ibarra, but the youth remains prudent the entire time.  However, when Damaso starts mocking the name of Don Rafael, Ibarra loses his composure and lunges at the priest, holding a knife to his throat.  Maria Clara stops Ibarra before he could do further harm to the friar, causing the youth to drop the knife and leave the room in haste.

Points of Note:
The captain general is liberal, and based on the way Rizal introduces him in this chapter, it can be said that he is an honorable man.

Frequently Asked Questions:
Question: Why does the captain general choose to stay in Captain Tiago's house?
Answer: This will be discussed in the next chapter.

Question: Did Ibarra intentionally neglect to invite Friar Damaso to dinner?
Answer: Yes, it was intentional. Ibarra was avoiding the priest.

Question: Although he is not invited, why does Friar Damaso show up at the dinner?
Answer: This is further proof of the disrespectful character of the priest.  He feels that there is nothing he cannot do, or that anyone can stop him from doing.

Question: What can be said about the fact that of the many people in attendance that night, it was only Maria Clara who succeeded to stop the vengeful hand of Ibarra from harming the priest?
Answer: This is proof that Maria Clara, contrary to others' perception of her as shy and timid, is strong-willed and possesses great strength of mind and heart.

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