Noli Me Tangere

Noli Me Tangere Irony

God multiplying parasites in his infinite goodness (verbal irony)

One type of irony is verbal irony, which occurs when a speaker takes advantage of the contrast between their literal words and what they actually mean in order to emphasize a point. An example of verbal irony occurs at the very beginning of the novel, when the narrator describes people attending Captain Tiago's party like "parasites, spongers, and freeloaders that God, in his infinite goodness, has so lovingly multiplied in Manila." Words like "parasite" or "freeloader" have very negative connotations, so the idea that God would create them because of his goodness is ironic.

Captain Tiago being at peace with God (situational irony)

Situational irony occurs when something in the plot happens in contrast to what the reader expects to happen. When Captain Tiago is initially described at being at peace with God, the reader may reasonably expect him to be revealed to be a pious, churchgoing man. Yet in reality, Captain Tiago uses his enormous wealth to pay others to pray for him, which soothes his conscience. His accumulation of wealth and lack of personal piety are in sharp contrast to traditional Christian values, making this statement ironic.

Ibarra attending the church service (dramatic irony)

Dramatic irony occurs when a character’s understanding of their situation in the plot differs from the audience’s understanding of their situation. An example occurs when the townspeople credit Ibarra attending the church service for his survival of the accident that kills the yellow man. In reality, the very church they credit with protecting Ibarra is plotting against him, and in fact orchestrated the accident, putting him in danger.

Father Salví being credited to for stopping the riot (dramatic irony)

Another example of dramatic irony is the newspaper excerpt that gives Father Salví credit for stopping the riot and casts him as a brave, Christ-like figure. The reader knows that Salví only runs into the chaos because he is afraid Ibarra and his beloved María Clara will be intimate, and also knows that he is far from the ideal of Christ, making the excerpt deeply ironic.