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     La Esméralda 

  • Break the Cutie: Goes from a happy, carefree teenage girl to a despondent shell of her former self by the end of the novel through an attempted kidnapping, attempted rape, stalking, assault, being falsely accused for the murder of the man she's in love with, the subsequent torture and imprisonment, and being sentenced to death... twice, just to name a few of her misfortunes.
  • Chastity Dagger: She keeps a knife under her skirt, which she uses to threaten Gringoire when he tries to come onto her.
  • Damsel in Distress: She is in need of rescuing several times in the story. However, eventually nobody can save her from execution.
  • Dude Magnet: Lots of guys in the story are interested in her and this causes her endless trouble.
  • Good Samaritan: Even though Quasimodo tried to kidnap her, she still takes pity on him when he gets whipped on the stocks, and gives him water.
  • Happily Adopted: Despite her Romani mother stealing her, she raised Esmeralda lovingly, and gave Esmeralda a charm to help her find her birth mother.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Esmeralda believes Phoebus is a Knight in Shining Armor when he saves her from the hideous Quasimodo but he's really a jerkass who only wants her for sex and whose selfishness is ultimately more responsible than even Frollo for ruining her life. She literally might have survived in the end had it not been for her misguided infatuation with Phoebus.
  • Hot Gypsy Woman: Not as you would expect or even definitively of Romani ancestry, but the story essentially treats her as so. She's French by birth.
  • The Ingenue: Innocent, virginal, pure... definitely an ingenue. How she remained pure and naive while hanging around with a bunch of thieves and prostitutes, and doing sexy dances in public is not clear.
  • Kill the Cutie: The cute and innocent teenage girl is hanged at the end of the story.
  • Love at First Sight: She falls for Phoebus the first time they meet; but she idealizes him and doesn't realize that he's a selfish jerk who only wants sex from her.
  • Meaningful Name: Her name Esmeralda coming from her necklace, her real name (Agnès) meaning "lamb" or "pure/chaste", and Phoebus' nickname for her (Similar) being comparable to Quasimodo's name meaning something along the lines of "almost".
  • Morality Pet:
    • To Quasimodo. He may be angry and violent with most people, but shows his softer side toward Esmeralda and would do anything for her.
    • To Clopin. Despite his murderous side, he does care for Esmeralda, viewing her as one of his subjects.
  • Nice Girl: She's a genuinely kind and innocent girl who is well-liked by most people, and one of the few characters to show Quasimodo a moment of human kindness.
  • Odd Friendship: With Quasimodo later on - mainly odd in that it's a very indirect friendship, since Esmeralda doesn't like looking upon Quasimodo, who accommodates her by making sure she sees as little of him as possible.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: As stated above, she is known as La Esmeralda (the Emerald). Her true name is only revealed at the end of the book - she was christened Agnes.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: Has her old shoe, which was turned into a charm that will apparently help her find her birthmother.
  • Rescue Romance: She falls in love with Phoebus after he rescues her from Quasimodo and Frollo who were trying to kidnap her. Averted when Quasimodo saves her from her execution. She doesn't fall in love with him, and is still very much in love with Phoebus.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: For the time that she can, she keeps a knife under her skirt despite it being explicitly illegal and will not hesitate to use it at the slightest provocation, all while being a demure and innocent teenage girl.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: If she wasn't so beautiful, none of the bad things in the novel would've happened, because those assholes in the story wouldn't have noticed her.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In Victor Hugo's adaptation "La Esmeralda", she gets exonerated of all charges.
  • Stalker with a Crush: A recipient of this from Frollo and Quasimodo. Esmeralda herself is this to Phoebus because she believes him to be her knight in shining armor.
  • Switched at Birth: Was switched with an infant Quasimodo, making her French by birth, and the latter Romani.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Esmeralda takes on severe shades of this when she's hiding in her mother's cell, trying to evade detection by the guards, and getting away with it...only to dash for the window and start crying for Phoebus the moment she hears his voice.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Esmeralda is a sympathetic, kind-hearted character in the cruel world of Medieval Paris: she dies in the end.
  • Virgin Power: She believes her charm to find her birth mother will only work if she's a virgin.


  • Ambiguous Disorder: Quasimodo has a combination of a mental disorder and social ineptness, which prevents him from properly functioning in society. Whether this is due to an organic condition or a lifetime of social isolation is unclear. This and his deformed appearance are the reason why he rarely goes outside. He's also deaf.
  • Anti-Hero: For a good part of the novel, Quasimodo is mischievous, mean, and socially inept. Despite this, he shows himself to be heroic by protecting Esmeralda, defending Notre Dame with his life, and giving Frollo his just desserts.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The reason for his attachment to Frollo and Esmeralda is because they are some of the only people who showed him kindness and accepted him despite his appearance - and in Esmeralda's case, despite the fact that Quasimodo tried to kidnap her.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: While Quasimodo is very friendly if you get to know him, he's incredibly fearsome, and brutal when his loved ones are threatened.
  • Charles Atlas Super Power: He's incredibly strong, and menacing in battle.
  • Creepy Good: His hideous appearance and social ineptness are off-putting to many of the characters. However, he's a genuinely heroic character who defends Esmeralda and Notre Dame.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: His appearance comes off as dark and deformed, but he is more heroic than the light themed and handsome Phoebus.
  • Demoted to Extra: Quasimodo has a much reduced role in Victor Hugo's Self-Adaptation the opera "La Esmeralda."
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Inverted with Esmeralda. She was already dead when he found her. He spent the rest of his life cradling her corpse. The Downer Ending ends with people trying to separate the skeletons, but the skeletons disintegrated instead.
  • Evil Redhead: While not evil, his red hair marks him as an outcast due to the prejudices in Medieval Paris.
  • Facial Horror: His face is so ugly and frightening that he never leaves the cathedral, because the people in the city always mock him for his apperence.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric in an ensemble of the four suitors (Quasimodo, Phoebus, Frollo, and Gringoire).
  • Gentle Giant: Downplayed. Except to the people he loves (all two of them), Quasimodo is unsociable, violent, and mean, although to be fair this is only because people tend to have those attitudes toward him first.
  • Go Through Me: Quasimodo's solution to his dual loyalties to Frollo and Esmeralda is to tell Frollo he'll have to go through him to get Esmeralda.
  • Greeneyed Redhead: Has green eyes, and red hair.
  • The Grotesque: Quasimodo is very physically deformed, yet is basically good hearted.
  • Handicapped Badass: Quasimodo is knock-kneed, hunchbacked, and deaf, but extremely physically formidable.
  • Happily Adopted: Quasimodo loves Frollo and is devoted to him, seeing how he was the first person to ever show him any kindness and accepted him despite his appearance.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Quasimodo does all he can to make Esmeralda happy, including acting as a messenger to Phoebus, whom he knows to be a jerk. This contrasts with Frollo, who is willing to leave Esmeralda die if he can't have her, Phoebus, who just wants to use her for fun, and Gringoire, who will save himself first.
  • Meaningful Name: While the Disney movie tells us it means "half-formed", The Other Wiki tells us it means "almost the standard measure" (of a human being), but can also mean "similar to". Also named for the day he was adopted, Quasimodo Sunday.
  • Misunder Stood Loner With A Heart Of Gold: He rejects and avoids society, but only because they reject him. Once you get to know him however, he's actually extremely kind and loyal.
  • Morality Pet: To Frollo. While known as a dour, reclusive loner, he was actually a loving Parental Substitute to Quasimodo.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Despite his reclusiveness, and social short comings, he's one of the most selfless characters in the novel, doing all he can for Esmeralda, and wanting nothing more than her happiness.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: He single-handedly holds off the Siege attacking the rescue Esmeralda from being hanged.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: At first he appears to be The Igor to Frollo, but we later find out he's one of the nicest characters in the novel.
  • One-Man Army: Is able to hold off the Siege of truands on his own.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Due to being deaf, he is unable to hear Clopin's yelling they're here to rescue Esmeralda, and thus assumes they're trying to harm her. This helps lead to Esmeralda's death in the end.
  • Secondary Character Title: Only in the English title (the original title is Notre Dame de Paris), since the protagonist of the novel is Esmeralda.
  • Together in Death: The ending scene has two diggers try to separate his skeleton from Esmeralda only for it to crumble apart, implying this.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: He's one of the kindest characters in the novel, and he dies due to the injustices of Medieval France.

     Claude Frollo 

  • Age Lift: Most adaptations portray him as an old man. A few portray him around his real age (mid-thirties). The book lampshades it by noting that his ascetic lifestyle aged him prematurely.
  • Affably Evil: For most of the novel, he's a startlingly decent guy, in contrast to his movie counterparts because the "arch deacon" is part of his character. He loses all affability, however, after his attempted rape of Esmeralda followed by his final descent into madness.
  • Anti-Villain: He's much more likable than his the majority of his film counterparts, to say the very least, because the benevolent "Arch Deacon" from the Disney version is part of his original characterization.
  • Break the Haughty: Begins as arrogant and pompous and ends pathetic and self-hating through the course of the novel, which is not particularly kind to him.
  • Byronic Hero: A compassionate, fatherly person for most of his life, by the time the novel begins, he, while still brilliant, is isolated by his alchemical studies and ultimately doomed by his lust for Esmeralda.
  • Composite Character: In Victor Hugo's Self-Adaptation the opera "La Esmeralda" Jehan is Adapted Out and Claude had some of his aspects incorporated into his character.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He wasn't always evil, but he did genuinely care about his younger brother, Jehan, whom he unsuccessfully attempts to reform towards a better life. Quasimodo is also an easy second.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The serious and studious Responsible to Jehan's Foolish troublemaker.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic in an ensemble of Quasimodo, Phoebus, Frollo, and Gringoire.
  • Good Parents: He started out as such, having adopted Quasimodo as an infant when nobody else would, raising him as his own, and even teaching him how to read and write. He does indeed care about his adopted son, but his obsession with Esmeralda is what ends their relationship in tragedy.
  • If I Can't Have You...: Decides to let Esmeralda hang when she refuses him. He even laughed at the sight of her execution in the end.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: While his attempted murder of Phoebus was more Murder the Hypotenuse, given how much of a Jerkass the latter is, you don't feel too bad about it.
  • Laughing Mad: He completely loses it at the end.
  • Love at First Sight: Falls for Esmeralda as soon as he sees her.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Frollo's unhealthy obsession with Esmeralda drives the plot.
  • Meaningful Name: His full name means something similar to "crippled and weak". Make of that what you will.
  • Morality Pet: Before meeting Esmeralda, he was this to Quasimodo, who was angry and violent with most people but absolutely loyal and devoted to his adoptive father Frollo.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: He attempted to kill Phoebus in a jealous rage. Depending on which film you watch, he either succeeds or fails.
  • Omniglot: Speaks Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and French.
  • Promotion to Parent: Frollo's parents died while he was a young man, leaving him to raise his baby brother, and then Quasimodo, whom he adopted later.
  • Sanity Slippage: Frollo is slowly losing his mind due to his unrequited and forbidden lust for Esmeralda.
  • Sinister Minister: Is self-centered, manipulative, and entitled despite being an archdeacon, though was originally a good man before his lust for Esmeralda sent him over the edge.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In Victor Hugo's Self-Adaptation, the opera "La Esmeralda", Frollo is still alive by the end, receiving no punishment for having stabbed Phoebus and the whole situation Esmeralda was in.
  • Tragic Villain: Frollo used to be a deeply compassionate and caring man. When baby Quasimodo was abandoned on the cathedral's foundlings bed, nobody would take him because of his ugliness, except Frollo, who raised him like a son. He also raised his younger brother, Jehan when their parents died, and supported him later, even though he disapproved of Jehan's lifestyle. He did evil things only because of his obsessive and unrequited love for Esmeralda, and it's described how much he's suffering (being aware that you're slowly going insane is NOT a pleasant process.)
  • Wicked Cultured: Although he wasn't evil before he met Esmeralda, he fits very much the "cultured villain" trope: Frollo is a respected scholar and studies several languages, law, medicine, science and theology.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: A man who tried so hard to be genuinely good that his perverse lust drives him tragically insane.
  • Yandere: For Esmeralda. He develops an unhealthy obsession for her the moment he sees her and tries to have her for himself. He spends part of his time following her around town, observing her from afar. At one point, he recruits Quasimodo to help abduct her, but Phoebus stops them before they get too far. When she expresses interest in Phoebus, Frollo attempts to kill him and tries to proclaim his love for Esmeralda in the dungeons. However, once she rejects his feelings, he decides that if he can't have her, then she's better off dead. The ending completes this trope by having him laugh madly during her execution.
  • Younger Than They Look: Only in his mid-thirties, but looks much older and is nearly bald.

     Jehan Frollo 

  • Big Brother Worship: He loved his older brother dearly.
  • Defiant to the End: When he knows that Quasimodo is about to kill him, he laughs in the hunchback's face and starts singing a song before getting killed.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The Foolish troublemaker to Claude's serious and studious Responsible Sibling.
  • The Hedonist: Jehan Frollo is the 15th century equivalent of a frat boy. Supposedly a student, he spends all of his freetime and (his brother's) money on hedonistic pursuits: expensive clothes, parties, and courting loose women.
  • Morality Pet: To his brother Claude, who genuinely tried to be a supportive older brother.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Assumes Quasimodo is holding Esmeralda captive, and shoots him with a crossbow during The Siege, only making their pointless conflict worse.
  • The Prankster: Claude mentions that he hears complaints from Jehan's university everyday of this. Two examples are mentioned 1) He got in a fistfight which bruised another student, 2) He tore a girl's gown to expose her sexually.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: After his death, things turn really dark for everyone.

     Phoebus de Châteaupers 

  • Adaptational Heroism: In Victor Hugo's Self-Adaptation the opera "La Esmeralda" Phoebus is genuinely in love with Esmeralda and appears at the end to testify her innocence. He dies not long after her exoneration.
  • The Alcoholic: Phoebus is described as a hardcore drinker and able to maintain his self-possession when he's tanked. This is directly compared to his drunkard friend, Jehan, who passes out from alcohol outside of a tavern, despite both of them drinking relatively the same amount.
  • Asshole Victim: Given how much of a Hate Sink Phoebus is, you won't feel too bad for him when Frollo murders him over Esmeralda. Averted when it’s revealed he made a full recovery from his injuries.
  • Beauty Is Bad: He is the most attractive man in the novel, and he's mostly interested in enjoying himself at the expense of others.
  • Brainless Beauty: Hugo doesn’t favor his intelligence.
  • The Casanova: Spends much of his time courting other women, despite being engaged to Fleur-De-Lys.
  • Death by Adaptation: In Victor Hugo's Self-Adaptation the opera "La Esmeralda" Phoebus dies after he testifies Esmeralda's innocence and she is exonerated.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Sanguine in a four suitors ensemble (compared to Quasimodo, Frollo, and Gringoire).
  • Hate Sink: While in-universe his actions are handwaved because Beauty = Goodness, to audiences he's unquestionably the only character in the novel with no redeeming qualities whatsoever and is ultimately just a petty, selfish, womanizing scumbag.
  • Informed Attractiveness: He’s described as very handsome multiple times, with a swaggering and arrogant mein that attracts many woman and a Burgundian trimmed mustache, but his exact appearance is not described.
  • Ironic Name: His name comes from Greek god of the sun, Phoebus. Esmeralda, who's head over heels for him, loves when she learns he is named after sun god and holds him to a level of nobility for it. However he is one of the antagonists of the novel, and co-signs her death warrant by staying silent during her false prosecution.
  • Jerkass: He didn't care one bit about Esmeralda being in danger or dead.
  • Jerk Jock: The medieval equivalent of one.
  • Karma Houdini: He has no problem taking advantage of Esmeralda's innocence, or letting her die on trumped up charges including charges of his own murder. However, he suffers a tragic fate at the end: he gets married.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Subverted. Phoebus is this in Esmeralda's eyes because he saved her from a hideous cripple, and also has the appearance. The subversion comes in when he does not fit the heroic aspect. Rather than being chivalrous and noble, he's actually a drunk, a womanizer, and a bully, with virtually no idealistic qualities, behaving more like... well, like a medieval soldier.
  • Light Is Not Good: He is a stereotypical knight and has a solar deity name. He's also a petty, selfish womanizer.
  • Pet the Dog: When Jehan passes out from intoxication, Phoebus arranges his friend's head on a plane of cabbage-stalks to act as a pillow, before leaving to meet up with Esmerelda.
  • Prince Charmless: He is of noble birth and looks charming on the outside, but his true nature is much more ugly and not as charming as he looks.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Beautiful!: His status as a handsome man is what lets him get away with his assholery.

     Pierre Gringoire 

  • Action Survivor: Despite being kind of a loser and a nobody, he's the only major character who leaves the story unscathed.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: He seems a little too smitten with Djali.note 
  • Butt-Monkey: He's a bad poet who repeatedly has bad things happen to him, although amazingly enough, he doesn't die at the end.
  • Deadpan Snarker: This is his usual reaction when things go badly for him (which means "always" in the first half of the story).
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Despite being the cast's Butt-Monkey, he and by extension Djali are the only ones who get an unambiguously happy ending.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic in a ensemble of the four suitors.
  • Historical Domain Character: Gringoire was a real person.
  • Lovable Coward: While he's not a bad person by any means, if it all begins to endanger his well-being he'd really rather not.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: He's a very nice guy especially compared to most of the others but is deemed a coward by the other characters and is known for being a horrible writer.
  • No Respect Guy: Few characters respect him, Clopin tried to hang him, Esmeralda views him in a patronizing light, and Frollo views him as a fool.
  • Sexless Marriage: Esmeralda only became his "wife" to save him from being hanged, but she doesn't let him get near her. Gringoire accepts this pretty easily.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: He has a very high opinion of himself and his plays, despite their bad quality.
  • Starting a New Life: He is forced to go into hiding from angry sponsors after his play bombs, and joins the Gypsies as a street performer.
  • Writers Suck: His morality plays are pretty crappy & boring, to say the least.


  • Alpha Bitch: She and her friends embodied this trope long before it was ever popularized.
  • Karma Houdini: Suffers no consequences for starting the witchcraft accusations against Esmeralda.
  • The Rival: Considers herself this to Esmeralda, which is why she brands her as a witch.
    • More to the pint, she considers Esmeralda her rival: Phoebus and her are engaged, and she can see his eyes roving iver that gipsy girl. She felt both outraged and threatened.

     Clopin Trouillefou 

  • Adaptational Villainy: In Victor Hugo's Self-Adaptation the opera "La Esmeralda", Clopin is in on Frollo's second abduction plot to get Esmeralda.
  • Anti-Hero: He's a violent thief who nevertheless fights to save Esmeralda.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Threatens to hang Gringoire because: he intruded in the Court of Miracles, someone hung one of his subjects for being from the Court of Miracles, and Gringoire's last play was bad.
  • Berserk Button: Hurting his subjects makes him angry.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: May be literally crazy, yet is a surprisingly competent and powerful leader.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Dies singing a song while cutting down many soldiers during The Siege until he is finally felled by Muskets.
  • A Father to His Men: He cares about his subjects, and creates a rescue mission to save Esmeralda. Several of his comrades though, are more interested in stealing from the cathedral however.
  • Foil: To King Louis. Clopin is a bad guy who embraces and even revels in it, yet when push comes to shove he cares about his subjects and will fight to the death to bring them justice. King Louis is seen as good and respectable, but is truly a Machiavellian jerk who doesn't really care about his subjects or believe in any kind of real justice.
  • King of the Homeless: He is a beggar, conman, and pickpocket, whose skill has earned him the leadership position among the Romani, and other lower class citizens of Paris.
  • Like Brother and Sister: One of the few characters close to Esmeralda to not be attracted to her, outright comparing her to a sister.
  • Obfuscating Disability: He pretends to be a fool with a crippled leg which alternates between right and left when begging. When leading his subjects, Clopin walks tall, and proud. He's even capable of acting as a One-Man Army in The Siege. This is Truth in Television as beggars would feign physical disabilities to earn more money and mental disabilities to appear harmless.
  • One-Man Army: Takes down many soldiers on horseback with a simple farming scythe, it takes multiple gunmen to bring him down.
  • Pet the Dog: Despite his murderous side, he does care for Esmeralda, viewing her as one of his subjects.
  • Poor Communication Kills: He's unable to communicate with Quasimodo due to the latter being deaf, leading to a pointless conflict between them.
  • Take That!: His games in the Court Of Miracles are an In-Universe one to the King of France's court.
  • Sinister Scythe: Uses a scythe to mow down many soldiers, and is a Anti-Hero.

     King Louis XI 



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