The Hunchback of NotreDame Essay

This essay has a total of 1375 words and 9 pages.


The Hunchback of NotreDame





The Hunchback of Notre-Dame


“Love is a universal language.” This popular quote
from many movies and literary works describes the importance
of love, and how there are no limits or barriers when
dealing with love. Many people cannot even help whether or
not they fall in love. There are many types of love and
they need not be between members of opposite sexes. In
Victor Hugo's novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame,
Quasimodo's love for Esmerelda is not as strong as his
different sense of love for the Archdeacon, Claude Frollo.
Quasimodo loves each person in a different manner, but is
truer to the Archdeacon.

The hunchback feels, among other things, a love
described as Eros for the Mistress Esmerelda; whereas, for
the Archdeacon the love he feels is known as Philia. While
Quasimodo is drawn to Esmerelda by her inner beauty and
personal qualities, he admires the Archdeacon for his
powerful position in the social structure of the town.
Throughout the story, Quasimodo does his best to protect
Esmerelda. Contrarily, he is protected by the Archdeacon.
There are four types of love, only one of which involves a
man's physical love for a woman and vice versa. This type
of love is known as Eros. It is defined as a relationship
in which two parties are physically attracted to one
another. Esmerelda, the gypsy, is quite beautiful. She
dances in the midst of a crowd near a bonfire: “All eyes
were fixed on her, all mouths hung open. As she danced to
the rhythm of the tambourine which her round, delicate arms
held over her head, she seemed to be some sort of
supernatural creature(p.22). Quasimodo is taken by her
loveliness just like most other men. However, because he is
deformed and hideous, Quasimodo's physical attraction to the
Mistress is unrequited. Nevertheless, this attraction is
uncontrollable. Although he never acts upon his urges nor
openly displays his affection, the hunchback feels the type
of love called Eros for Esmerelda. Accordingly, he feels a
different kind of love for the Archdeacon: Philia. Just as
Eros as love stems from physical factors, Philia is a result
of external factors. The Archdeacon is a man of God. He is
considered the religious authority in Paris. Quasimodo
resides in the Notre Dame Cathedral. He takes a great
interest in God, and apparently shares this interest with
the Archdeacon. Quasimodo was taken in by Claude Frollo
when he was quite young. The two men grew quite close
together: “When the poor bellringer became deaf the two men
developed a mysterious language of signs and gestures which
was understood by them alone. Thus the Archdeacon was the
only person with whom Quasimodo maintained communication
(p.65). The hunchback feels a sense of love based on
comradery and years of relations. He deeply admires Claude
Frollo's religious faith and charity: that is, the charity
shown to Quasimodo when he was only a young, abandoned boy.
The two men have a complex system of hand gestures and sign
language which they use to communicate with each other. This
illustrates their mutual correspondence and understanding.
Through these experiences and this upbringing, Quasimodo
develops a Philial love for the Archdeacon.

In the timeframe of this story, the late 1400's and
early 1500's, the Catholic Church is a major factor and
authority in virtually all of a town's laws, transactions
and business. This being the case, holding the position as
Archdeacon, or head of the church, is a much coveted
occupation. Quasimodo admires the Archdeacon's powerful
position. The hunchback himself enjoys authority as he
possesses the power of rule over people. This is visible
when he is elected Pope of Fools: “Quasimodo let himself be
decked out in them with a kind of proud docility. He was
then made to sit down on a brightly colored litter. Twelve
officers of the Brotherhood of Fools lifted it to their
shoulders. A bitter and haughty joy spread over the gloomy
face of the Cyclops [Quasimodo] as he saw under his deformed
feet the heads of all those handsome, straight and well-made
men (p.17). It is evident that he is happy to be exalted
among normal men, even if only for one night and he is
chosen because he wins an ugliness contest. Since Claude
Frollo holds such a praiseworthy position, the hunchback
respects him. He is also honored that such a figure as the
Archdeacon even associates with he, a measly and horrid bell
Continues for 5 more pages >>




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