NMT Chapter 63: Padre Damaso Explains (See other Noli Me Tangere Chapter Summaries)
Maria Clara asked Padre Damaso to enter her into the nunnery (kumbento). Otherwise, she will commit suicide.
Padre Damaso did not want her to become a nun because life in the convent was going to be worse than life outside of it.
He cried and even told her that it's okay if she marries anyone.
But Maria Clara was adamant and insistent about entering the nunnery.
Padre Damaso cries out to God, begging that whatever punishments should be meted out to him, and that his child (Maria Clara) be spared.
People were talking about how Ibarra was killed in the lake.
Perhaps Padre Salvi advised Maria Clara to become a nun after the true character of Maria Clara (that she's the daughter of Padre Damaso) was revealed.
Question and Answer
1. Why did Maria Clara look pale, clammy, and shaken when she saw Padre Damaso?
Maria Clara was overwhelmed by so many emotions. She was overcome with grief by the news of Ibarra's death. She was depressed about her upcoming (forced) wedding. She was feeling pity for the fate that befell her mom who passed away. She was also resentful of her father Padre Damaso whom she knew was the cause of all their suffering.
2. Why was Maria Clara willing to marry Linares when Ibarra was alive, but when she heard the news of Ibarra's death, was no longer interested in marrying anyone?
She thought that marrying Linaras would protect Ibarra from being attacked by Padre Damaso and Padre Salvi. She was willing to sacrifice herself and her own happiness.
But with Ibarra (reportedly) dead, what was the point of marrying Linares? Or anyone else, for that matter?
3. Why did Maria Clara request Padre Damaso to break the agreed wedding with Linares?
She knew that Capitan Tiago will follow whatever Padre Damaso says.
4. Why did Padre Damaso fight Don Rafael and Crisostomo Ibarra?
It's all because of Maria Clara.
Padre Damaso knew that Don Rafael sent Crisostomo Ibarra to Europe for his studies. This would expand Ibarra's mind, and would harm his family (including his wife and children).
Ibarra's knowledge would make his children suffer in an environment that does not value open-mindedness.
Padre Damaso did not want Maria Clara to go through that kind of suffering, because he loves her so much.
5. Why was Padre Damaso so against Maria Clara becoming a nun, when he himself was a priest/friar?
Padre Damaso was aware of what truly happens inside the convent. He knew that friars would have their way with the nuns that they wanted inside the convent. And Maria Clara was quite attractive.
6. What new aspect of Maria Clara's character was revealed in this chapter?
Maria Clara is neither meek nor spineless. She can also display a strong resolve plus firmness in her decisions. Her mistake in choosing the convent stemmed from her lack of information. This is Rizal's way of showing how the lack of education can harm people.
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Manny M. Viloria