El Fili Chapter 23: The Corpse

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This chapter explains why Simoun did not watch the show at the theater, and also depicts a crucial development that changes Simoun's life forever…

He was out attending to business. At seven in the evening, Simoun had left and returned to his home twice, accompanied by various people. Macaraig had seen Simoun a few minutes before 8:00pm near the Sta. Clara convent. Camarroncocido had seen Simoun speaking with students near the theater just before 9:00pm.

Basilio did not watch the show either. He was at studying at home. Simoun visits Basilio and they talk about Kapitan Tiyago. They continue discussing when Simoun realizes it's almost 10:00pm. He berates Basilio for not reading the materials Simoun gave him, and accuses Basilio of not loving his country.

Simoun warns Basilio that within one hour's time (11pm?), the revolution will begin and there will no longer be any classes the following day. There will be no university, only killing in the streets. Simoun asks Basilio to choose: Death or a Future.

Basilio asks Simoun what he has to do, and when Simoun reveals the plan to rescue Maria Clara, Basilio reveals the unfortunate news that Maria Clara had already died.

Simoun freaks out. When he found out that Maria Clara was dead, it was as if he were also dead.

He runs out of the house. Simoun forgets to give the signal for the revolution to begin.

(What did the Green Goblin say when it comes to fighting Spiderman? First, attack his heart.)

Why did Basilio still take care of the terminally ill Kapitan Tiyago, a patient who was giving Basilio such a hard time? Believe it or not, Basilio is an upright person who believes in doing what is honorable.

Why did Simoun liken Kapitan Tiyago to the Philippine government? Just as the poisonous opium has already spread throughout the body of the dying Kapitan Tiyago, so has the poison of corruption spread through the “dying” Philippines.

Why does Simoun need Basilio? Aside from Simoun and Kapitan Tiyago, Basilio is the only one who can recognize Maria Clara, whom they have to rescue from the nunnery at Saint Claire. Simoun can't do it, because he has to command the groups during the revolution.

What can be said about Simoun's revolution? It's not really for the good of the Philippines; rather, it is for the benefit of Simoun. He is doing it out of revenge, and also as a way of allowing him to get Maria Clara out of the Sta. Clara convent.

Why did Kapitan Tiyago cry in front of and ask forgiveness from the portrait of Maria Clara after he found out that she had died? He was sorry for allowing her to be put into the convent. He was aware of the hardships that she would suffer, but he gave in to the orders of the frailes.

Why did the poison quickly spread through the body of Kapitan Tiyago? When Basilio was not around, Padre Irene would give Kapitan Tiyago a lot of opium. This is similar to Simoun harming the Philippines by engaging in evil deeds.

Padre Irene wanted Kapitan Tiyago to die quickly, so that he can inherit all of the old man's property. Simoun wanted the Philippines to “die” so that he can mount a revolution, backed by the Filipinos who have had enough of the government's corruption and oppression.

Who are the four groups of people involved in Simoun's revolution?

Group 1: The soldiers who were convinced by Simoun that the Kapitan Heneral ordered the attack on the convents of the frailes. This is to help the Kapitan Heneral hang on to power even if he was being sent back to Spain.

Group 2: The frailes' supporters whom Simoun convinced to defend themselves from the attack of the soldiers. These people believe that the frailes are here to stay, and that the government officials (e.g., Kapitan Heneral) just come and go.

Group 3: The bandits (under the leadership of Kabesang Tales). They wanted to attack both the soldiers and the fraile supporters because of various social injustices done to the people. Hmmm… NPA?

Group 4: The regular people, such as Basilio. Simoun will try to convince them to fight either the government or the revolutionaries.

As Camarroncocido had observed, the theater was surrounded by Simoun's men who were ready to kill everyone inside. Since the Heneral was in the theater, his death would leave the Spaniards leaderless, and Simoun would succeed.

Well, at least that's Simoun's dream…

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