Victor Hugo

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - (French: Notre-Dame de Paris, lit._'Our Lady of Paris', originally titled Notre-Dame de Paris. 1482) is a French Gothic novel by Victor Hugo, published in 1831. The title refers to the Notre-Dame Cathedral, which features prominently throughout the novel. It focuses on the unfortunate story of Quasimodo, the Romani street dancer Esmeralda and Quasimodo's guardian the Archdeacon Claude Frollo in 15th-century Paris. All its elements-Renaissance setting, impossible love affairs, marginalized characters-make the work a model of the literary themes of Romanticism. The novel is considered a classic of French literature and has been adapted repeatedly for film, stage and television. Some prominent examples include a 1923 silent film with Lon Chaney, a 1939 sound film with Charles Laughton, and a 1996 Disney animated film with Tom Hulce. Plot The story is set in Paris in 1482 during the reign of Louis XI. Esmeralda, a beautiful, sixteen-year-old Romani dancer, is the romantic and sexual interest of many men; including Captain Phoebus de Chateaupers; poet Pierre Gringoire; the hunchbacked cathedral bell-ringer Quasimodo, and his guardian Archdeacon Claude Frollo. 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. After he saves her, Esmeralda becomes besotted with Phoebus. Gringoire, who attempted to help Esmeralda but was knocked out by Quasimodo, unwittingly wanders into the "Court of Miracles", populated by the Romani and the truands. They are about to hang him for being an outsider, but 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 two hours, 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, Frollo follows Phoebus to an inn where he plans to meet Esmeralda, and watches as Phoebus seduces her. Inflamed with jealousy, Frollo stabs Phoebus. Esmeralda is arrested and charged with the attempted murder of Phoebus and also with witchcraft, and is sentenced to death by hanging. While imprisoned, awaiting her execution, Esmeralda is visited by Frollo. The Archdeacon professes his love for her and promises to help her escape if she reciprocates. However, recognizing him as Phoebus' true attacker, she angrily rebuffs him. As Esmeralda is being led to the gallows, Quasimodo swings down from Notre-Dame and carries her off to the cathedral, temporarily protecting her - under the law of sanctuary - from arrest. Frollo delves deeper in his obsession and gets frustrated with his plan failing. Upon seeing Esmeralda and Quasimodo when going to meet the latter, he grows jealous. That night he breaks into Esmeralda's cell with his master-key and attempts to rape her. Quasimodo intervenes and beats him, almost throwing him off the cathedral before the moonlight reveals his identity. Frollo kicks Quasimodo and declares to Esmeralda that if he can't have her, no one shall.
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21 hours 32 minutes
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