The Victor Hugo novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame written in 1831 can be classified as either as a romantic love story or a beautiful tragedy. The novel is set in and around Paris France in the late fifteenth century, with it’s main attraction being the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. Hugo’s characters show great love and loyalty to each other but then at the same time, they judge each other and use each other for personal benefits.
Quasimodo- He gives the title of this novel it meaning. He was born a disfigured hunchback, with one useful eye and the other covered by a wart. His mother abandoned him as a baby, then adopted by Claude Frollo. He grew up in Notre-Dame and at fourteen; he received the title of bell ringer. He considers this a high honor and he took his position very seriously. Unfortunately, the bells are what have taken his hearing from him. He very rarely ventures out of the cathedral because the people are cruel and despise him. The rare occasion that his does live the cathedral; he is elected as the Pope of Fools. His undying loyalty to Frollo gets him into trouble with the law and this starts a series of events that lead to love and death.
Esmeralda- A young gypsy street dancer who is a caring, passionate person, is the center of the drama that is displayed throughout the novel. Her kindness towards Quasimodo in his time of need shows the reader how good of a person she can be. Quasimodo and Frollo share a love for her that she does not return. She is in love with another man that does not love her. Charged with a murder and then sentenced to death by hanging, she is rescue thanks to her admirer Quasimodo. In the end, her hate for Claude Frollo seals her fate and she dies on the gallows.
Claude Frollo- the Archdeacon of Notre Dame who projects to be a compassionate priest at the beginning; he raises his younger brother and adopts Quasimodo. He then begins a mad attraction towards Esmeralda and this is the beginning for his downward spiral. The chain of events that continue through the novel, display the hatred that truly possesses him. This attitude is the cause of so much pain and torment for Esmeralda and Quasimodo.
This novel addresses many different topics throughout its chapters but the most predominant theme for me is the beautiful love, loyalty, and kindness that is expressed by the characters. The main character Quasimodo; the author calls him “ideal of grotesqueness” (Hugo 127) has the purest of hearts. His innocence is connecting to the love and loyalty he has for the cathedral of Norte-Dame, to Claude Frollo, and to Esmeralda. The Cathedral where Quasimodo subsided was the only home that he knew and he found his comfort within the walls of the church. It is a resemblance of a shell for him, “as the snail takes on the form of its shell” (Hugo 402). The church bells and their music became an outlet for Quasimodo. His love for them allowed a sense of peace to come over him and this is when he...