The Hunchback of Notre Dame


Victor Hugo


I. Setting: Paris


1482


II. Characters:


Quasimodo‑ protagonist. Hideously deformed with a hump on a back, protrusion from his chest, and a large wart covering one eye. Abandoned when he was a chile at Notre Dame. He was adopted by the archdeacon who attempted to make him a scholar even though he’s deaf.


Archdeacon Claude Frollo‑ priest at Notre Dame who adopted Quasimodo. Intelligent, compassionate and always destined for the church. He loves his brother Jehan and tries to take care of him as their parents are dead. He attempts to mold Quasimodo into a scholar. He also has an obsessive lust for La Esmerelda.


La Esmerelda‑ Lost daughter of Sister Gudule. She is a mesmerizing gypsy street dancer. She is incredibly beautiful and capable of magical tricks. She wears trinkets around her neck in hopes that it will help reunite her with her lost family.


Pierre Gringoire‑ playwright. Married to La Esmerelda to save his life. See’s most that goes on in the village.


Phoebus de Chateaupers‑ captain of the King’s archers. Saves La Esmerelda only to watch her die later. Tries to seduce La Esmerelda as well as many other women. He is stabbed by Frollo and assumed to be dead.


III. Plot: The novel opens in Paris on the sixth of January, 1482 with the Festival of Fools.


The feast is not so coincidentally at the same time as the marriage of Louis XI’s son to a Flemish princess. There are fireworks in the Place de Greve, a tree to be planted at the Chapel of Braque, and a play to be performed at the Palace of Justice. Though wanting to wait for the Cardinal, playwright Pierre Gringoire decides to appease the crowds riotous cries by instructing his actors to begin his original production of The Good Judgement of Madame the Virgin Mary. But the crowd is uninterested and begins focusing on a beggar named Clopin Trouillefou as he climbs onto the stage begging for charity. Gringoire tries desperately to interest people in the play, but all have lost interest...including the actors! Finally the Cardinal arrives with his Flemish entourage. No one seems to mind his tardiness. A person in the audience turns the attention of the crowd to the election of the Pope of Fools. It is decided that the winner shall be chosen by sticking their heads through holes in boards and the ugliest wins. Its not long before the misshapen Quasimodo is chosen as the winner. He is hoisted through the crowd like some sort of hero as all shout, "Cyclops". But Quasimodo cannot hear the chanting. Upon hearing that La Esmerelda is dancing outside the Palace of Justice, attention is once again turned to something new.


Just as Gringoire is wandering alone searching for food and a place to rest his weary head, he spots the Pope of Fools procession and follows it toward the Place de Greve. By the time he reaches the "sinister spot", there is nothing left for him. Gringoire then spots a bonfire surrounded by mesmerized spectators watching La Esmerelda. Suddenly a man screams out, "there is sorcery at the bottom of this!" La Esmerelda runs to her imitating goat Djali in somewhat of a panic. The rest of the crowd is so taken with her that they pay no mind to the stranger. Then, Quasimodo and his procession enter the square and the stranger grabs him and orders him to his knees. The stranger is recognized by Gringoire to be Frollo. Finding no place to lay his head, Gringoire resigns to following La Esmerelda. When she realizes she is being followed, Quasimodo attacks her. Gringoire sees Frollo lurking around and decides to try to save La Esmerelda. But before he can help her, Quasimodo knocks him out. Out of nowhere, the Kings archers appear and save La Esmerelda while capturing Quasimodo. Phoebus de Chateaupers introduces himself to La Esmerelda just before she disappears. Gringoire awakes with no clue of what has just occurred. He gets lost and ends up in the Cour des Miracles. A few beggars attempt to mug him, but upon discovering that he has no money, they took him before their king. Their king was none other than Trouillefou, the man who disrupted Gringoire’s