Victor Hugo, in “Notre Dame,” was animated by a quite other spirit. After the manner .. QUASIMODO, bell-ringer of Notre Dame, a hunchback. ESMERALDA . PDF version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo. The story of Quasimodo, the hunchback bellringer of Notre-Dame cathedral and his devotion to. Translation of Notre Dame de Paris The tale of the hunchback bellringer of medieval Notre Dame, Quasimodo, whose love for the gypsy dancer.
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NOTRE DAME by Victor Hugo CHAPTER V. END OF THE STORY OF. THE CAKE. about Notre-Dame, the author of this book found, in an obscure nook of . young Hugo, having returned to Paris, received his first in In 1 Victor Hugo again obtained the prize for his THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE- DAME. 1 7. By Victor Hugo. Set in medieval Paris, it tells the story of the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda, condemned as a witch by the tormented archdeacon Claude Frollo.
Need an account? HUGO, V. Alternatively, it could be read as self-flagellation for the sin of having condemned an innocent woman. Frollo cannot be said to embody the Romantic ideal as expressed by Hugo because he seeks to use his power to increase his own fortunes, and not to contribute to society. Click here to sign up.
Richards, , p. Quasimodo Frollo's sexual awakening is bound up with that of his adopted son. Quasimodo begins the novel as a stone-like figure, constantly compared with the architecture of the cathedral he inhabits, and even seen as an extension of it. His only personal contact is with the father figure of Frollo, and so he has developed a sexualised mother-son relationship with Notre- Dame. The tear he sheds at receiving this pity is an apt metaphor for the awakening of his human, and therefore sexual, nature.
Commonly, we would understand dryness and coldness to represent sexual aridity — thus Quasimodo and Frollo both begin the novel in the cold, dry darkness of Notre-Dame—Frollo spends a great deal of his time in his dank chamber, and when he does confess his love to La Esmeralda, it is in an underground cell; moisture and warmth, therefore, are signs of life.
While Quasimodo and Frollo are both moved to transformation by La Esmeralda, they both adapt to their new selves in very different ways. While Frollo, the great controller, cannot help but view La Esmeralda as an object, Quasimodo, ever the servant, finds in the gypsy a way to be free.
First, however, we must ask ourselves if the hunchback is sexually attracted to La Esmeralda.
After her rescue from execution, she and Quasimodo engage in laconic conversation, and the hunchback covers his eyes as the gypsy dresses. While Frollo invades La Esmeralda's privacy and forces her constantly to be on show see previous chapter , Quasimodo recognizes the gypsy's subjecthood. Another key difference between the the archdeacon and his servant are their goals: Aime moi!
When Frollo envisages himself as a sexual being, he takes desire too far, turning it into obsession and falling into darkness.
Quasimodo, on the other hand, breaks through the barriers separating himself from society and ends the novel as a Hero, who has defended the one he loves to the best of his abilities and dies faithfully by the gypsy's side. Both Quasimodo and Frollo have played these respective roles for so long that they have become a part of their identities.
Quasimodo is subservient to Frollo even during La Esmeralda's aslyum in the cathedral, when Frollo harasses her in the night and Quasimodo 27 See, for instance, N. Further supporting this is the fact that he gives the gypsy a whistle to call him if she finds herself in danger.
So while Quasimodo's transformation looks at first sight as if he has merely changed masters, the point is that he has chosen to serve another, and this indicates another difference between the hunchback and his master. Deaf, mute, half-blind and chronically ugly, he is almost automatically excluded from sexual society. However, he is better placed to assume subjecthood than his master: The turning point, as previously mentioned, is when La Esmeralda shows him compassion on the pillory.
This act of compassion, freely given and with no ulterior motive, gives Quasimodo another figure in his life, which has henceforth been largely solitary. The first act of compassion he received was his adoption, which Frollo effected as a dedication to his brother's soul. From the very beginning of their relationship, then, Quasimodo was an object to Frollo, and only by being treated as a subject by the gypsy could he actually grow into the role.
Now a subject, in control of his life, Quasimodo is able to answer a question which pervades Notre-Dame de Paris.
How should we love? It is obvious that the type of love expressed by Frollo, which is brooding, objectifying and obsessive, is an inadequate answer.
Given that the Divine Comedy is about Dante's salvation through the person of Beatrice, a development of the stilnovisto philosophy of love which resolves the question of love versus duty, it is not surprising that we should find it referenced in this novel. Jacoff, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, , p. However, while Frollo treats the gypsy as an instrument of his pleasure, Quasimodo treats her as a person, and through this solidarity validates his subjecthood.
He usually finds his own ugliness reflected in the eyes of the gypsy. He is beautiful in this moment because he is close to her and she does not shudder at the very sight of him. By not sexualizing his relationship with La Esmeralda, Quasimodo is able to relieve La Esmeralda of her need to perform, because her beauty has no need of exhibition.
This is the kind of love which Hugo advocates in Notre-Dame de Paris, the kind between two equal, and beautiful, subjects. While Quasimodo's asexuality is well established, however, the nature of the novel's female protagonist requires investigation. La Esmeralda While Frollo is barred from sexual society by his religious vows, and Quasimodo by his biological difformity, we find no such reason to exclude La Esmeralda.
And yet it is around her that the narrative's action revolves. Murdoch, Sartre: Romantic Rationalist, Vintage, London, , p.
She is no femme fatale, the ruin of men, like Matilda in The Monk and other female characters stretching back to Helen of Troy. She is the object of many men's desires, but there is no suggestion in the novel that she tries to elicit such feelings, or play upon her obvious attractiveness. Coupled with a timidity on the part of directors to present the churchman Frollo as such a predator, we can see that audiences in the 20th Century have been more prepared to accept a seductress than the truly innocent creature that Hugo has written.
To what extent can La Esmeralda be seen as a character fully aware of her sexuality? She behaves somewhat contradictorily throughout the novel: Her epiphany of realism was only a momentary descent to Earth for this dreamer. This streak of self-sacrifice, which is absent in the captain and in Gringoire, is the cause of her death, just as it is for Quasimodo. It is interesting, then, that whereas Quasimodo and Frollo die because they transform and are unable to reconcile their internal contradictions, it is in fact La Esmeralda's refusal to change, to compromise sexually, which damns her.
Two explanations of the gypsy's effect on Frollo need examination. Grossman, on the other hand, views the attraction as a father-daughter one. I think what Grossman is overstating here is Frollo's age. Although the archdeacon is bald, angular, and precociously responsible for Jehan and then for Quasimodo , he is a man in his thirties. The age that the modern reader associates with Frollo is socially constructed — it is a way of separating Frollo from the object of his obsession to justify the taboo of the situation.
In Hugo's time, the mere fact of Frollo's being a priest would be enough to establish this taboo. In viewing it as father-daughter relationship, Grossman is overthinking the situation — Frollo is simply a relatively young man who finds himself stirred both sexually and philosophically by the dual taboo of the gypsy dancer, a beautiful and forbidden woman.
In this sense, Baudouin's analysis, while it relies on a knowledge of the author not possible to every reader, is closer to the situation in the novel — the attraction of a man to a spectacle. La Esmeralda's sense of identity is tied up with her chastity—the shoe she keeps as an amulet could be read as a metaphor for the parental safeguarding of her virginity. Regarded as a virtue at the time in which the novel was set, it has since lost its significance in a sexualized society. At the time of the novel's publication, however, virginity was held in esteem and it is notable that Hugo, for all his bravery in tackling social norms, does not allow his virgin heroine to die deflowered.
Given the religious nature of the book, this may not be surprising — if La Esmeralda is a second 'Notre-Dame de Paris', then she must reflect the life of Mary. And yet, given Hugo's belief that one must be sexual to be fully human, and given his later heroines' sexual natures such as Fantine, who becomes a prostitute and dies an angel , the reader may be uncomfortable with La Esmeralda's fate. Hugo's ideal reader, writes Roche, is one who can understand the change in values that Europe was undergoing in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
They deserve consideration, however, because they paint a picture of the 15th-century France at odds with which the central characters find themselves.
The two mediocrities: This servant of philosophy is the truest example of sterility in the novel, not the fierce archdeacon. This sterility manifests itself in other ways: His punishment for this is not death but the stamp of mediocrity. In this we could read a criticism of those for whom poetry is a profession and not a way of life. In Gringoire, then, Hugo shows us the creative paucity of the non-Romantic, the writer who sees the world as it is and not as it could be.
His engagement to Fleur-de-Lys follows social convention. His nocturnal trysts with the girls of the town is likewise something entirely expected of a man in his position. La Esmeralda imagines him as something more, however, and it is his absolute failure to meet her expectations that earns him our disdain; especially when compared with the transformation of Quasimodo, who out of desire for her becomes her protector and her final companion. The French Revolution had gone some way to eroding the instruments of patriarchal power and attitudes to sex were becoming more liberal.
The central character, if there is only one, is a priest whose vows prevent him from expressing himself sexually, instead seeking other forbidden knowledge in the form of alchemy and astrology.
The reader is unsure whether to attribute his obsessive behaviour to his starvation from sex and, by extension, the quasi-castration imposed on him by the conventions of his day, or whether the blame lies entirely within Frollo. It is my opinion that, given that Hugo endows the archdeacon with great creative power and freedom, it is bad faith which keeps him in thrall to the Church and its rules.
In contrast, the hunchback Quasimodo, who is also denied the expression of his sexuality in his case by the cruelties of biology and a prejudiced society , instead turns his energy into a pure and self-sacrificing love.
In marking this contrast, Hugo shows the reader the true aim of the Romantic ideal and the best expression of freedom: La Esmeralda is the catalyst for these two very different developments of Romantic freedom, and she achieves this without the exploitation of her sexuality, suggesting the importance of something deeper.
Something which 46 Grossman, , p. Pasco, Sick Heroes: His is an objectifying view of the world, like that of Frollo — the pursuit of sex without thought of love — and though he is not moved to the villainy of the archdeacon, his indifference is still reproachable.
Gringoire remains stoically outside the main trajectory of the plot, refusing to engage both sexually and emotionally with La Esmeralda, unable to perceive her suffering. Notre-Dame de Paris.
HUGO, V. Preface to Odes et Ballades [online]. Available from: Preface to Cromwell [online]. La Peau de Chagrin. The Monk. Oxford University Press. Editions du Seuil. Dante and the Lyric Past. The Cambridge Companion to Dante.
Cambridge University Press, pp. Psychanalyse de Victor Hugo. Mont Blanc. New York: Peter Lang. Le Romantisme. Lettres Modernes.
FRYE, N. Anatomy of Criticism. The Early Novels of Victor Hugo. Roman, , p. From Cathedral to Book, from Stone to Press: Stanford French Review 3 Winter , pp. Notre-Dame de Paris as Cinema. The Dog and His Master 5. More About Claude Frollo 6. Abbas Beati Martini 2.
An Impartial Glance at the Ancient Magistracy 2. The Rat Hole 3. The Story of a Cake 4. A Tear for a Drop of Water 5. The Bells 4. The Two Men Dressed in Black 6. The Effect of Swearing in Public 7. The Phantom Priest 8. The Coin Changed into a Dry Leaf 2. Sequel to the Coin Changed into a Dry Leaf 3. End of the Coin Changed into a Dry Leaf 4. Lasciate Ogni Speranza 5. The Mother 6. Fever 2. Hunchbacked, One-eyed, Lame 3. Deaf 4. Earthenware and Crystal 5. The Key to the Porte-Rouge 6. Turn Truand 3.
Hurray for the Gay Life!
An Awkward Friend 5. The Password 7.
The Little Shoe 2. As a new century dawned, the novel became reinvigorated by the advent of cinema. This film camera enabled Hugo to make his mark on yet another creative medium from beyond the grave, having already been prolific in poetry, novel writing, theater, the graphic arts, and even interior design.
Conversely, that other literary classic has yet to translate as remarkably to the big screen as his Gothic drama. Through- out the twentieth century, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame was the subject of numerous film adaptations, and rumors persist of yet another incarnation in development. Not only does the story connect with international audiences through its adventure and emotion, but the writing lends itself perfectly to the camera lens through its underlying emphasis on the visual.
Similarly, the ways in which he empha- sizes visualization and motion in his writing were almost prophetic of the rise of the moving image over the written word. One of the principal reasons that his novel remains popular today is thanks to its anticipation of a modern, image-driven culture.
From the elaborate architecture of Notre-Dame to the frenzied activity of the final battle between the Parisian mob and Quasimodo, the novel is loaded with intensely visual descriptions. It is not simply that these pictures are well-drawn, as we find with the great swath of nineteenth-century novelists from Balzac to Dos- toevsky.
Throughout his novel, Hugo revealingly places great emphasis on the notion of perspective and observation. Both the instru- ment and the actual instance of looking are integral, with the eye ever-present through various ocular allusions and metaphors. Its sense of spectacle and exhibition sets the tone for the novel to come.
However, the narrator often highlights his own blind spots in describing this world.
At various stages, we get the impression that Hugo as a writer almost regrets that he cannot physically immerse us in his imagination, as in some futuristic virtual reality. Words, as Hugo would suggest throughout his career, are always something of an addition to an event or an emotion. They can only represent and reproduce rather than actu- ally embody their object of description. As Frollo manipu- lates Phoebus from the shadows of the street, for example, the narrator embarks on a typically twisting sentence: His attempts at description pile onto one another in an avalanche of ex- asperated prose that can only suggest the scene.
For all his mastery of the written word, Hugo con- sequently seems to yearn for a more visual medium in which to express himself: For our own generation, yet another famous name was added to this impressive list. In , Walt Disney Pictures released an animated version of the novel to critical and commercial success in perhaps the most adult of all the Disney movies.
Such was the fascination with the pitiful hunchback and the sense of nascent humanity he represented that other artists felt inclined to explore the character from a variety of different angles.
Hugo himself would have arguably en- couraged such diversity.
Moreover, he urged writers not to copy one an- other lazily, but to experiment and, if possible, use adapta- tion as a means to create something fresh and new. Rather, Hugo stays true to his personal and political belief in the necessity of individual independence. The narrator never adopts a moralizing approach to the events he describes, obligating readers to understand the text for themselves.
Such open-ended moments are empowering for the inquisitive reader. In the context of such free adaptation and independent reading, echoes of The Hunchback of Notre-Dame are widely acknowledged to resonate throughout popular cul- ture today. The menacing monster-hero, his maniacal adversary, and the woman they both crave all recall the formidable hunchback, the de- monic archdeacon, and the vulnerable gypsy.
As we move further into the twenty-first century, what can a nineteenth-century writer using a medieval setting tell us about ourselves at this particular moment in our history?
The answer, ironically enough, lies with the Batman mythology a term tellingly used to describe the comic book series. What perhaps ties the two most closely together is not so much the referential points of contact we may observe in the Burton film or the character of the Joker, but the profound thematic emphasis on heroism as an ambiguous concept. Since Ancient Greek times, heroes such as Heracles in his battles with the Hydra or Achilles in his courage during the Trojan War have served as moral ex- amples.
Their willingness to put the needs of others before themselves made them iconic role models of noble behav- ior who persisted in doing the supposedly right thing.
The traumatized vigilante who wages war on injustice by stepping outside of the law, but whose crusade against wickedness is both never-ending and ever-demanding, speaks directly to a world unsure of how to proceed in the face of deeply complex questions about its future.
What ultimately makes Batman heroic is not the strength he shares with Heracles or the savvy he has in common with Achilles. Rather, it is his willingness to walk the tightrope between right and wrong, knowing that the two cannot be easily separated into clear-cut con- cepts.
The ambiguous climax of the record-breaking Batman film, The Dark Knight, in which the model of a just society and the actuality of an unruly world remain in tension with each other, reaffirms our modern fascination with not only the prospects of heroism, but more important its pressures.