The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Annotated)

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Upon reading unabridged Hugo, I understand. The man had complete chapters devoted to discussing the history of Paris or the history of the cathedral, and while I admit that it was a clever way to show off his knowledge and spread his political ideals, it was not what I bargained for. They just tried to secularize him to an equivalent position.

Central themes

I argue that Frollo was the protagonist. The story spent most of its time with him: his internal struggle, his plotting. And his character was fantastic! He was underhanded, but I pitied him.

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He was pathetic, but I feared him. He did evil, but I loved him. Frollo was not simply a powerful villain; he was a dynamic, complex character that, at times, the reader could really sympathize with. The other characters in the novel were equally impressive. I especially enjoyed one episode where Quasimodo was being questioned in court. The irony is that the judge was doing the same thing. Hugo created a deaf judge. Anyway, a funny scene ensued, and Hugo made his point. I was afraid. I was scared that after stringing me along, Hugo was going to kill it at the end. And, to further please the happy reader, there were a million good quotes.

That is to be two, and yet one. A man and a woman joined, as into an ange; that is heaven! The small thing shall bring down the great things; a tooth triumphs over a whole carcass. The novel was difficult, but well worth the effort. View all 42 comments.

Okay, I'm glad I read this book, if only to find out just how badly Disney ruined the story for the sake of their embarassing excuse for a film. Victor Hugo has a gift for the most ungodly depressing stories, but he writes very well when he's not rambling pointlessly to stretch out his page count.


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But I can't bring myself to give this four stars, and for one simple reason: with the Okay, I'm glad I read this book, if only to find out just how badly Disney ruined the story for the sake of their embarassing excuse for a film. But I can't bring myself to give this four stars, and for one simple reason: with the exception of Quasimodo and Esmeralda, every single character in this book is an insufferable dickhead.

Frollo, obviously, deserves to be fed to sharks simply for the mind-boggling levels of creepiness he manages to achieve over the course of the story. Phoebus is even more of a fratboy asshole that I'd previously thought, and the way he decides to seduce Esmeralda despite the fact that she's the Gypsy equivalent of a vestal virgin made me want to teleport into the story so I could kick him in the nuts. Frollo's younger brother Jehan is a relatively minor character, but he gets mentioned because in every single scene he appears in, he's constantly yammering away and trying to be clever and witty, the result being that he makes Jar Jar Binks seem terribly endearing in comparison.

And Gringoire. I had such hope for him. He starts out promising, but then once Esmeralda gets arrested all he can worry about is the stupid goat, because I guess he thinks she's cuter than his fucking wife who saved his fucking life. When he joins Frollo to get Esmeralda out of the catherdral, he leaves the sixteen-year-old girl with Pastor Pedo McCreepy, and chooses to save the goat.

The fucking goat. I know what you're saying - "Thirty pages? Pfft, that's nothing, I can get through that, I read Ulysses.

The Hunchback Of Notre-Dame (Annotated) - Read book online

Second: no, you cannot get through these thirty pages. It is pointless. Don't say I didn't warn you. View all 57 comments. The story is set in Paris in during the reign of Louis XI.


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The gypsy Esmeralda born as Agnes captures the hearts of many men, including those of Captain Phoebus and Pierre Gringoire, but especially Quasimodo and his guardian Archdeacon Claude Frollo. Frollo is torn between his obsessive lust for Esmeralda Frollo is torn between his obsessive lust for Esmeralda and the rules of Notre Dame Cathedral. He orders Quasimodo to kidnap her, but Quasimodo is captured by Phoebus and his guards, who save Esmeralda. Gringoire, who attempted to help Esmeralda but was knocked out by Quasimodo, is about to be hanged by beggars when Esmeralda saves him by agreeing to marry him for four years.

The following day, Quasimodo is sentenced to be flogged and turned on the pillory for one hour, followed by another hour's public exposure. He calls for water. Esmeralda, seeing his thirst, approaches the public stocks and offers him a drink of water. It saves him, and she captures his heart. Later, Esmeralda is arrested and charged with the attempted murder of Phoebus, whom Frollo actually attempted to kill in jealousy after seeing him trying to seduce Esmeralda.

She is sentenced to death by hanging. As she is being led to the gallows, Quasimodo swings down by the bell rope of Notre-Dame and carries her off to the cathedral under the law of sanctuary, temporarily protecting her from arrest. Frollo later informs Gringoire that the Court of Parlement has voted to remove Esmeralda's right to the sanctuary so she can no longer seek shelter in the Cathedral and will be taken away to be killed.

Clopin, the leader of the Gypsies, hears the news from Gringoire and rallies the citizens of Paris to charge the cathedral and rescue Esmeralda. When Quasimodo sees the Gypsies, he assumes they are there to hurt Esmeralda, so he drives them off. Likewise, he thinks the King's men want to rescue her, and tries to help them find her. She is rescued by Frollo and Gringoire.

But after yet another failed attempt to win her love, Frollo betrays Esmeralda by handing her to the troops and watches while she is being hanged. When Frollo laughs during Esmeralda's hanging, Quasimodo pushes him from the height of Notre Dame to his death. Quasimodo goes to the cemetery, hugs Esmeralda's body, and dies of starvation with her. Years later they are discovered and, while trying to separate them, Quasimodo's bones turn to dust. View all 3 comments.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1997

The significance of this work is based on the psychological archetypes that Hugo portrays as tragic characters. The author characterized the underlying society with particular destinies and psychographics. Church, nobility, poets and criminality of the contemporary Paris, which are here represented by individual fates, are leading to genre picture of this time.

The hunchback of Notre Dame, or, Our Lady of Paris

I personally think that Hugo's excellent narrative style and ability to act are complex and intelligent. While reading this book I started to notice how little the Hunchback is in it. A Goodreads friend mentioned that this is why the title for it in France is actually "Our Lady of Paris".

For some reason, English translations chose the the Hunchback for the title.