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Fridge / The Hunchback of Notre Dame

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As a Fridge subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

Disney film

Fridge Brilliance

  • Quasimodo's mother didn't just try to save him- she did. Think about it- why was the Archdeacon there so fast and so conveniently in the middle of the night? Simple. Because he was woken up by Quasi's mother pounding on the door outside, begging for sanctuary. He just didn't get to the door in time to save her.
    • Likewise when Frollo thinks the baby is stolen goods, why doesn't she just show them it's a baby? Because he's deformed and she rightfully assumes Frollo will have him killed.
  • If you are one who believes that the gargoyles are figments of Quasimodo's imagination, then the way Frollo is killed is even more ironic. Frollo has finally lost it, so now he is hallucinating.
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  • In Quasimodo's "I Want" Song "Out There," he specifically mentions watching people "shout and scold and go about their lives". Of course he'd pay attention to people shouting and scolding—few sounds carry well enough to be heard from the top of the cathedral, so it's the loudest people who could most easily catch his attention.
  • The opening musical number "The Bells Of Notre Dame" starts with a line saying it is the story of a monster. While it seems to be referring to the mysterious bell ringer, it quickly becomes obvious that Frollo is the real monster in the story.
    • Also, Frollo kills Quasimodo's mother on the steps of the cathedral - the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the Virgin Mother of Jesus. While Frollo feels the eyes of all the saints, we see a longer moment of her statue gazing down at him. This is a big chunk of what makes him so afraid.
    • The ending subtly makes this clear. When Clopin sings the reprise of the opening song, he pulls up his Frollo puppet when he sings "What makes a monster?", and the scene cuts away to a happy Quasimodo being carried by the townspeople when he sings "And what makes a man?"
  • As different as the Disney movie is from the original book, you could justify it by saying that the Disney version is the version that Clopin is telling to the kids he's performing for, while the book's version is closer to what really happened.
    • In that case, Clopin would be telling a highly sanitized version of a story (that may or may not keep a small part of the original message intact) to children and their parents. Kind of like Disney themselves.
      • For example omitting that part where he dies.
      • This theory doesn't quite work if you remember that Clopin dies in the book.
      • Whoever says the performer is the original? He could be a son named after his father from the book.
  • Related to the above, Frollo being a total villain with no sympathetic qualities whatsoever in the story is because Clopin and Frollo were enemies, therefore Clopin ignores or doesn't know about Frollo's redeeming aspects and plays up or even outright makes up Frollo's evil actions and behavior when telling the story.
  • During the song "Heaven's Light", which is about Esmeralda, the gargoyles draw their impressions of Esmeralda. Hugo, however, draws Esmeralda's goat. The book had a character who was married to Esmeralda but found himself liking her goat much better. Maybe the Shout-Out wasn't intentional, but it's still pretty amusing.
    • Earlier, upon meeting the goat, Hugo un-freezes himself and makes a kissy face at the goat. Also, in the sequel, Hugo and Djali (the goat) evidently get together during the Festival of Love.
  • Why were gargoyles placed in cathedrals? To protect them from evil. That's exactly what they do during the siege of Notre Dame and Frollo's death scene.
    • Not only that but, sometimes you've got to wonder. Are Quasi's gargoyle friends just figments of his imagination? Or... were they his "Guardian Angels"? Kinda makes you wonder, don't it?
    • Isn't it strange how, despite growing up raised by someone as cruel and abusive as Frollo, Quasi himself is kind and gentle, instead of becoming just as cruel and abusive as Frollo? Well, perhaps those gargoyles, if they really are guardian angels, were there to protect Quasi from Frollo, and prevent him from becoming too horribly traumatised from Frollo's mistreatment. God really does work in mysterious ways.....
      • in the original christian faith the Gargolies are angels, powerfull angels which will take control of the stone body of the being to punish the wicked, in fact, this thing we see in the movie!: who helps Quasi to not only became the pasionate man he is? and beside who gives [[Jerkass "Frollo"]] his rightfull punishment? "the gargolies"
  • In the song Hellfire, Frollo seems to beg forgiveness from God in the beginning but reveals his true feelings about Esmeralda by the end of the song. The structure of the song is exactly parallel to Quasimodo's song "Out There". In the song, Quasimodo is begging for forgiveness for thinking of the festival in the first half but reveals his true feelings about the festival by the end of the song. Both songs follow the structure of false loyalty followed by their true desires. Either this was used to contrast the two or show that Quasimodo really did inherit some traits from his adoptive father.
  • During Hellfire, Frollo is praying for divine assistance to commit rape from the most prominent female note  in the Catholic cosmology at the time, who also, as Esmeralda's song reminds us, was also an outcast once and went through great sufferings. Considering that, the fact that the endeavor would end in his downfall isn't that surprising.
    • Also interesting to note is how Esmeralda and Frollo's use of prayer. A common misconception about Catholics is that they pray to Saints and that said Saints take place of God. Which is what Frollo inadvertently does in Hellfire, (Then tell me, Maria, why I see her dancing there...protect me, Maria, don't let this siren cast her spell). In reality the correct analogy is like asking for a character reference or speaking to someone, which is why many prayers directed to Saints include the line "Pray for Us". Contrast this to God Help The Outcasts where Esmeralda starts out talking to the Virgin Mary (I don't know if you can hear me or if you're even there...still I see your face and wonder were you once an outcast too?) but then transitions into her asking God to look out for her fellow outcasts.
  • Many people blame Disney for making Esmeralda fall for Phoebus and not for Quasimodo, arguing that it conveys the idea ugly people can never be loved. Except the point of the story is not love: it's how monstrous-looking Quasimodo is really human while human-looking Frollo is really a monster. Having both characters experience an unrequited love / desire and react very differently to it enable to clearly see this divide.
    • Esmeralda loved Phoebus because he saw her as her true self and loved her, rather than seeing her as a beautifully perfect angel, like Quasimodo, or an infuriatingly attractive witch, like Frollo.
    • This decision also highlights yet another contrast between Frollo and Quasimodo. Neither one can "get the girl", but while the former decides to (attempt to) kill her for it, the latter maturely lets her go.
  • When the Archdeacon tells Frollo that he can't run or hide from the eyes of Notre Dame, there's a double meaning. It doesn't just refer to the cathedral, "Notre Dame" is French for "Our Lady". This states that Frollo has incurred the wrath of the Virgin Mary.
    • Also, he incurred the wrath of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, by killing a mother who was protecting her baby, and then trying to kill said baby.
    • In Catholic teaching, the Virgin Mary has a direct connection with Jesus and that's why many Catholics ask her to intercede on their behalf to Jesus and God and why she's the patroness of many cities, organizations and even countries (Frollo himself beseeches her aid in Hellfire). By invoking the wrath of the Virgin Mary, the Archdeacon is implying that Frollo has also invoked the wrath of God Himself.
  • When Frollo is up in the bell tower and destroys Quasi's tabletop Paris while interrogating him for helping Esmeralda escape, he grabs the model of Esmeralda and, as he flings it across the table, it topples over the model version of himself. It's almost as if the tabletop itself knows that Esmeralda will lead Frollo to his downfall.
  • The color red is actually considered unlucky according to Romani culture. And at the Feast of Fools, Frollo actually saw Esmeralda pole dance in a skimpy red dress...
    • a red and PURPLE dress, much like the Whore of Babylon.
    • It could be because it's a day they do the things that they deplore on the other 364.
  • Esmeralda is actually Spanish for "emerald", and she has Color-Coded Eyes — green eyes.
    • Green eyes also symbolize magic or "witchcraft," which fits with Frollo's view of her.
    • In the Original Book, the name was La Esmeralda (The Emerald), given to a young girl named Agnes because of the Emerald she wore on her necklace. For both the eyes and the necklace it's somewhat fitting of the theme of being judged on your looks as opposed to who you actually are, which is something Esmeralda faces as much as Frollo and Quasimodo do.
  • It's Dramatic Irony when Esmeralda reads Quasimodo's palms, and then he 'reads' her palms as well. Because he himself is (unknowingly at the time) the son of a gypsy. So technically, he really is reading her palms.
  • Why is it in The Court of Miracles, you can be hanged for being 'found totally innocent'? Because it's meant to be a mockery of the Holier Than Thou mindset Frollo has (and/or probably instills in his soldiers).
    • An alternative explanation is that, if you're totally innocent, you've never once run afoul of the law... which in turn, means you've never run afoul of Frollo, presumably because you either work with him or ran the hell away when he came through. In either case, the "innocent" described would be no friend of the Gypsies.
  • The climax gets Fridge-heartwarming when you realize it mirrors the prologue. In the beginning, Frollo tries to drown baby Quasimodo and justifies this by saying "This is an unholy demon." In the climax, he also declares Esmeralda an "unholy demon". Both he and Esmeralda were condemned by Frollo to die, but were rescued.
    • What truly seals it is how Quasimodo is unknowingly following in his late mother's footsteps. She took her baby to Notre Dame and called "Sanctuary" on both their behalf. And here? Quasimodo takes Esmeralda up Notre Dame and (in awesome fashion) claims "Sanctuary" on her behalf.
  • Adhering to the movie's moral about looking beneath the surface, Quasimodo and Phoebus' rocky friendship does bring it home. Instead of treating Quasimodo with pity just because he looks pitiful, he and Phoebus have a Vitriolic Best Buds dynamic going on, as though they were equals. That's because they are equals, despite their different appearances.
    • The way Phoebus relates to Quasimodo also parallels the way he relates to Esmeralda. Just like he treats Esmeralda as a real woman, neither as a madonna nor a whore, he treats Quasimodo as a real man, neither as a monster nor as the object of pity that, at least at first, he is to Esmeralda. (He would never call him "this poor creature" or "that poor boy.") This reinforces that for reasons on both sides, Quasimodo and Esmeralda are Better as Friends than they would be as a couple, and shows what a valuable presence Phoebus is in both of their lives, since he instinctively treats everyone as an equal.
  • Assuming the gargoyles are figments of Quasimodo's imagination, Laverne may be Leaning on the Fourth Wall by pointing out that if 20 years of talking with Victor and Hugo hasn't made him sick by now nothing will. Anyone else in Quasimodo's position would've lost their sanity between the isolation, and Frollo's condescension and strict rules. But as Laverne points out, he's still a pretty sound mind despite his loneliness.
  • Quasimodo, despite actually being Romani himself, has pale skin and red hair (Gypsies normally have dark skin and black hair). This is actually because of a genetic disorder, similar to what contributed to his deformed appearance.
    • If you're familiar with medieval history, Quasimodo's red hair adds another level to why Frollo detests him and why he's shunned by most of Paris society at the start of the story. There was a deep suspicion of people who had red hair, believing them to be untrustworthy. Several portraits of Judas Iscariot (the one who betrayed Jesus) depict him as having red hair. Quasimodo is also the only person in the film who has red hair, further isolating him.
    • Unwittingly, this makes for an In-Universe Red Herring for Quasimodo: he wouldn't suspect being related to gypsies, given he doesn't have their dark skin and deep black hair.
    • Also, if you never went outside for the first twenty years of your life, you too would have pale skin.
  • "A Guy Like You" is full of unintentional Stealth Insults, as the Gargoyles are considered by some to be part of Quasimodo's imagination, it could be that he's reaching for nice things for them to say about himself, but his self-esteem is so low that they just come back as insults.
    • Another way to look at it is that they (or he, depending on which theory you buy into) are genuinely trying to comfort him(self) about what he hates most about himself, his appearance. Essentially saying his features make him special instead of monstrous as Frollo would claim. After all, he knows he's a nice guy, he's under no illusions that he's beautiful, and if they're alive, they're not the type who'd lie to him like that.
  • If one looks at how Quasimodo and Frollo view Esmeralda, they picture her as one of the two sides of the Madonna–Whore Complex. Quasimodo, while well-meaning, sees her as an incredibly pure, angelic being. Frollo sees her as a temptress and a harlot. Esmeralda proves that neither view is accurate. While she shows many pure qualities (a good heart, unconditionally loving Quasimodo, etc), she also is comfortable performing provocative dances to titillate her audience. In other words, Disney made her into a heroine who defies attempts to categorize her as either an angel or a whore, also reinforcing the idea that both images are demeaning and damaging to women. It also makes sense that Esmeralda chooses Phoebus. Of the three men who shows an interest in her, he's the only one who recognizes all the sides of her personality and treats her like an actual woman.
    • While the Disney Movie deviates heavily from the book, this refutation of the mutual-exclusivity of the Madonna–Whore Complex is a topic that is touched on heavily by Victor Hugo.
    • ^^ although the provocative dances are also an interesting part to the character because in the first scene where we see her dancing and when she dances on stage (doing a lot of cliche Romani acts and her acrobatic dance) are also a "persona" she puts on to earn money in an oppressed environment. - Who she really is, is someone smart enough to put on that persona (like the first scene) but also, very cleverly disguise herself as an old man two seconds later to continue earning money... which to Phoebus' credit... he sees right through it and returns the money she earned to her. That's the first clue we got that Phoebus saw the true Esmeralda and it's literally in the first scene that they meet.
  • Think about how far into evil Frollo goes: He is a racist, genocidal hypocrite who claims to be holy and good and righteous. Plus, he violates the church's sanctity numerous times: He commits murder on its step and almost drowns an innocent baby, he almost violates Sanctuary before the Archdeacon stops him, and then when Quasimodo saves Esmeralda, he actually violates Sanctuary, ordering a full on attack on a cathedral, and assaults the archdeacon when he stops him. How does he die? He falls to his death when the gargoyle he damaged cracks and breaks when he is standing on it, after the gargoyle comes to life briefly and roars right after he reads a pseudo-biblical passage about how God shall smite the wicked!. Right before he falls, the lyrics "Kyrie Eleison" are heard. God must have been really really angry at this point!
    • Also, Frollo's demonic expression before the gargoyle cracks
  • The way that Frollo and Quasimodo each see the same woman, as shown in their two back-to-back songs, is similar to the way each views the cathedral itself. Frollo is afraid of what it represents (as he is reminded by the archdeacon that he can be judged for his sins) and so seeks to assert power over it and everyone who lives in and around it. Quasimodo sees Notre Dame as his sanctuary but what he soon realizes he needs is to get out in the world and experience it for what it really is even though Notre Dame will still be his home and he's still bellringer.
  • Why does Frollo think of Quasimodo as a monster? Well, he's a religious fanatic in a time when people believed in a microinterventionist God. His line of thinking was probably something along the lines of "if God had wanted this boy to be treated like a person, He would not have made him deformed".
  • When Quasimodo gives up Esmeralda, he shows what many churches call "Agape", or unconditional love. This truly underscores his Character Development, from a childlike worship of her, to privately sulking when she falls for Phoebus instead of him, to selflessly helping both her and Phoebus anyway, to truly respecting and understanding her in the end.
  • The climactic scene with Quasimodo claiming sanctuary for an unconscious Esmeralda. He's holding her in a way that is a subverted Touch of the Monster tableau, but also—coupled with her limply outstretched arms and the rose window behind them—calls the Pieta to mind. That puts him squarely in the role of the Virgin Mary, Notre Dame herself: a beautiful reinforcement of his link with the cathedral.
    • Both Esmeralda and Frollo had appealed to Mary in "God Help The Outcasts" and "Hellfire," respectively, as a kindred spirit. Notre Dame has made her choice.
    • To dig even deeper into the fridge (more like Freezer Brilliance), Quasimodo's symbolism, and that of his relationship with Esmeralda, actually changes over the course of the movie from Christ to Mother as his character develops—this may even be the turning point. First he is taken in, the son of an outcast mother with no visible father, and "mothered" by Notre Dame; is persecuted and reviled by the mob; worships Esmeralda as a sort of Madonna (while she identifies with the Virgin as a fellow outcast); and is hung in chains from the walls. By the end, however, he is the one watching her executed despite her innocence, and brings Notre Dame to life to stop it; he mourns over her apparently dead body, before she returns from the "dead"; and he finally relinquishes her to Phoebus, blessing their union like a parent, while remaining partnerless himself.
  • When Frollo is searching the city for Esmerelda, arresting gypsies right and left, he offers silver for the location of Esmerelda; first ten, then twenty pieces. The gypsies remain silent. Who else was offered silver for the life of an innocent friend?
  • Quasimodo's implied delusions, the gargoyles, are notably non-human, yet rather friendly. Frollo's delusions, the red-cloaked figures from the Hellfire sequence, are noticeably humanoid, but cold and menacing. These parallel the characters of Quasimodo and Frollo themselves, reinforcing how one's humanity is independent of their outward appearance.
  • When Quasimodo was breaking his chains the bells echoed loudly. The chains themselves never broke, but the pillars they were attached to crumbled. Both Quasi's own strength and the echo of the Bells helped free him, further emphasising the Cathedral's sentience.
    • What's shown in this is that Quasimodo is strong enough to shake the entire cathedral, making the bells ring.
  • Quasimodo is a million times stronger than Frollo. We even saw him lift Phoebus, a big man in a heavy suit of armor, into the air without a problem. IT would be INCREDIBLY easy for Quasi (who we also saw rip through building pillars) to just simply pick Frollo up and toss him off the Cathedral... but Quasimodo is a good person. But this is a lot to think about when you see how easily Frollo beats/hurts him in the movie and you just KNOW Quasi could take him down in a second if he actually wanted to... :(
    • While it somewhat undermines Quasimodos genuinely good-natured persona, he DOES kill Frollo in the stage version. He needs some encouraging by the gargoyles, but he is the one to deal the killing blow by throwing Frollo into the fiery pit personally.
    • The book itself described Quasimodo as being incredibly strong from ringing the bells for years.
  • There's a theological case in Frollo's Hellfire prayer even before he starts demanding the right to rape Esmerelda: He starts off exulting himself in his prayers, giving "thanks" for being "so much purer than the common, vulgar, weak, licentious crowd." One of Jesus' own parables features a Pharisee doing the exact same thing. Jesus then spells out that the Pharisee has no idea or actual connection with the God he's speaking to, and that his prayer is not about God, but ultimately himself and how great he viewed himself. It further illustrates just how errant and self-centered Frollo's morality is, and gives an exact parallel for his hypocrisy.
    • Likewise, one could interpret the way Frollo frames his choices, or rather, the alternative to having her burn physically and, in his eyes, in hell. "Be mine or you will burn". He's justifying his desire to rape her as what he believes is her means of salvation. Essentially saying "The only way you can be saved from eternal damnation is if you let me have your body to do as I please. Don't worry, I asked God for permission to rape you and He's a-ok with it."
    • The Ominous Latin Chanting during Hellfire is from the Confiteor, which is the Catholic confessional prayer. The lines sung by the priests at the beginning address God, Mary, the saints, and so forth. The counterpoint lines building to the main motif confess that one has sinned in thought, word, and deed. At this point, Frollo has sinned in thought, which he does admit, and is presently sinning in word. The "Mea Culpa" is where the song goes completely opposite from the prayer instead of diverging as it had been. Frollo blames Esmeralda for his past sins instead of his humanity, denies that he has actually sinned, blames God for making it that sin could taint him, declares that his lust is not sinful, and demands that, instead of admitting that he is impure, that Esmeralda should be punished, be it damnation or him having his way with her without penalty on his soul. When you add the fact that Frollo is "praying" to Mary directly, he is not only spitting in God's face, but he's essentially saying to Mary "Everything your son taught is bull, so the rules don't apply to me."
      • The kicker? From here on out, the choir has no lyrics proper until the "Kyrie Eleison" at the end, leaving part of the Confiteor unsung: the lines in which one asks for forgiveness and absolution.
      • Actually...the Confiteor has no lines in which the reciter of the prayer directly asks for absolution. Instead it asks for intercession on the speaker's behalf. A humbler request and one which Frollo would be disinclined to make.
      • Actually, Frollo does ask for intercession and *receives* it: At the very end of the song, he asks "God Have Mercy on Her (Counter: Kyrie Eleison)/God have mercy on me (Counter: Kyrie Eleison). "Kyrie Eleison" is Greek and literally means "Lord (or God) have mercy." In fact, these are the only two lines that the counter chanting agrees with Frollo. The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) holds that God is All Merciful and All Forgiving. Frollo is asking for God to show Mercy to Esmeralda and Himself for their sins. The counter chant responds back, affirming that God is merciful. However, in Catholic Tradition, the line repeated Thrice (or Kyrista (spelling) Eleison, lit. "Christ Have Mercy" as the middle line). Frollo screws up again by first submitting to God's Mercy and then reiterating that he's still gonna have his way with her or kill her trying.
    • This was actually paralleled by their musical numbers; the sanctimonious priest saying "thanks for making me better than everyone else; I want a licence to do whatever I please" and the young woman saying "I probably shouldn't even be here, but I know some people who need help."
    • The lyrical juxtaposition in Hellfire between Frollo and the Confiteor is just about perfect. Both begin with an appeal to various holy figures. Frollo sings about what he sees and thinks when Esmeralda enters his mind; the holy men at the same time are singing, "quia peccavi nimis cogitatione", meaning, "I have sinned in thought. Then Frollo's break with the spirit of the prayer becomes even more evident:
    Frollo: It's not my fault!
    Choir: Mea culpa! note 
    Frollo: I'm not to blame!
    Choir: Mea culpa!
    Frollo: It is the gypsy girl, the witch who set this flame!
    Choir: Mea maxima culpa! note 
    • The Confiteor also has a repition of Mea Culp (two times the line exactly, the third, Mea Maxima Culpa). Hellfire repeats the chant counter to each line delivered by Frollo during this segment. In the first two Mea Culpa chants, Frollo denies his own fault to sin. In the final line, Frollo has blamed someone else for his sin. This is repeated twice (Denials of Guilt: It's not my fault/I'm not to blame It's not my fault/ It is God's Plan (Catholic teaching is Humans are capable of free choice and thus are not held to God's plan as an automoton). Blame Lines: It is the gypsy girl [Esmerelda] and He [God] made the devil so much stronger than a man. The final line is outragous as at this point, Frollo is asking the Virgin Mary to help him rape or kill Esmerelda because God... who among other things is her SON... made him think that way.)
    • The whole song up until the conclusion of the Mea Culpa sequence is directly counter to the Confiteor. Officially, Hellfire opens with the opening lines of the Confiteor as song by the Archdeacon and the congregation. However, they don't appear counter to Frollo... unless you understand the meaning of the opening lines. The person praying the Confiteor is confessing to "Almighty God, the Virgin Mary, the Archangel Michael, The Holy Apostles of Jesus, and All the Saints in Heaven (Catholic Saints are people who are definitely in heaven, so a lot of people)" which is a lot of people... this is all said before Frollo picks up, opening by declaring his pride in his virtue. After this, the chanting finishes the invocation by "And to you, Father." It may seem like a declaration to God, but recall, that he's the very first person named in the declaration of having sinned. "Father" in this part isn't God the Father, but the title of a priest. In the sacrement of reconciliation, an important componant is declaring your sins, not just to those in heaven, but those on Earth with you. In fact, the modern prayer invokes only God and "you my brothers and sisters" instead of all the saints (It is only admitting you did sin, not which sin speciffically you committed). By not going to the church, or even bothering saying his thoughts out loud to a single priest, Frollo is failing confession by not humbling himself. The next line of the Confiteor is spoken after he claims he's pure than the crowd (best demonstrated in the chant in Notre Dame, who, who are pure specifically because of their public declaration of having sinned). He then questions why he thinks of Esmeralda and cannot stop met by the line (In Thought), signifying Frollo knows damn well why he has her on the brain: Lustful intent. The next line, which he mentions "the sun caught in her raven hair/ Is blazing through me out of all control" are call backs to Esmerelda's dancing at the Feast of Fools AND Frollo's creepy sniffing of her hair in Notre Dame which he justifies as imagining a noose around her neck. This is paired off with the chanting of "In Word and Deed" at which point Frollo admits he is falling into the sin of Lust. This is imporant as the Catholic Faith teaches that the componenants of being in a state of sin is both committing actions (deeds) while knowing that they are sinful (words) and intending to sin (thoughts). At this point Frollo is in Sin and denies it was his fault and his fault alone that lead him in this direction, blaming God and Esmeralda (Mea Culpas). At the very in, Frollo does seek God's Mercy for both Esmeralda and receives it on these two requests, the only time Frollo and the Chants are basically saying the same thing (Kyrie Eleison). However, the third recitation of Kyrie Eleison traditionally associated with the prayer is not said as Frollo restates his evil intentions... a critical component of the sacrament at issue here is that, in order to recieve forgiveness, one must make an effort to not sin again. If you are going to keep on doing the thing, you cannot be forgiven unless you seek to stop (whether or not you are successful, it's the effort that counts. Frollo isn't even bothering with the bare minimum.).
  • Despite Frollo claiming to be a righteous man, he displays some form of all Seven Deadly Sins in the lyrics of "Hellfire":
    • "Of my virtue I am justly proud and You know I'm so much purer than the common, vulgar, weak, licentious crowd", shows him displaying Pride, considered the most dangerous of the seven, as it is often used to justify the other 6 deadly sins, or even deny committing them in the first place. This is displayed frequently in the song, and the film as a whole, and could be considered the first he has committed.
    • Frollo's intense desire for Esmeralda to be his and his alone show Lust, Envy and Greed.
      • Lust as the intense sexual desire for Esmeralda, especially her body alone.
      • Envy towards anyone else who may gain her affections.
      • Greed for seeing her merely as an item to be gained, and wanting her intensely even though he doesn't actually need her.
    • His intent to destroy her if she does not comply is an example of Anger/Wrath.
    • Frollo claiming it is not his fault he is sinning, and blaming Esmeralda for tempting him can be seen as an act of Sloth, as he is not taking the initiative to better himself, nor taking responsibility for his own sins.
    • Gluttony is sometimes interpreted as Selfishness, displayed when Frollo says he will burn down all of Paris (despite what it would do to the innocents of the city) to get to Esmeralda.

  • If you cross compare the map Esmeralda gives to Quasi to a modern day map of Paris, then the graveyard where the Court of Miracles can still be found: Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, located in the 20th district.
  • In medieval times, January 6th was the Feast of the Kings. It was customary to have gâteau des Rois and whoever had the king toy in their slice was crowned King. The Feast of Fools does it similarly, but only with the contestant with the ugliest face.
    • Likewise, the colors Clopin wears are standard Mardi Gras colors (purple and gold, Quasi wears the third standard color, green). In modern times, the Feast of Fools falls on the day before Mardi Gras, otherwise known as Shrove Monday. This also falls under Harsher in Hindsight considering how the Feast of Fools in 2015 was also the Je suis Charlie massacre.
  • A small one, but Clopin's motley seems like a standard fool's outfit with a Nice Hat instead of the typical belled cap. Nothing particularly noteworthy about that until you find out that harlequins often wore hat's just like Clopin's and belled caps were more closely associated with court jesters. He's also the one narrating the story and harlequins are the only ones supposed to address the audience and Clopin becomes a clear harlequin archetype. This can be seen as foreshadowing that Clopin is The Leader of Paris's disenfranchised and and will help the heroes out in the end just like how the classic harlequin character is The Leader of the Zanni and helps the lovers get together in the end.
  • If we buy the claim that the cathedral of Notre Dame is genuinely sentient, it's telling to look at both occasions where the building itself comes to life. First all the statues of Notre Dame's facade menacingly stare at Frollo when the judge is ready to throw a baby Quasimodo into a well after the mother asked for Sanctuary; secondly a gargoyle comes to life as Frollo tries to kill Quasimodo and Esmeralda on the cathedral's ground. Each time Frollo is about to cross the Moral Event Horizon: Frollo disobeys the Sanctuary rule which stipulates that all persons within the cathedral shall not be harmed. The cathedral itself decides to intervene when someone is about to break the Sanctuary rule! Sanctuary is Serious Business for Notre Dame!
  • Quasimodo passes out while hanging from Esmeralda's hand, in a universe where dangling by one's arms is apparently quite easy. So why didn't Quasi last as long as the standard Disney character in the same position? His kyphosis. The abnormal thoracic curve responsible for his hunch also reduces his chest cavity greatly (this is one of the primary health issues suffered by kyphosis patients). While Quasi does have a lot of strength and stamina after years of ringing the bells, he still cannot withstand as long periods suspended by his arms as other characters can, due to the fact that his smaller lungs cause him to asphyxiate faster.
  • During his big speech to rally the crowd during the final battle, Phoebus uses as a final argument that Frollo is declaring war "on Notre-Dame itself", therefore considering it more important than the "ransacked our City" and "persecuted our people" arguments. Outside of the fact that he probably used it last because that's the last crime Frollo did, there may be another reason. In that time period, declaring war on Notre-Dame would have been interpreted as declaring war on God Himself, which would be seen as an even worse crime than mass murder.
  • When Frollo smashes the insect nest as an euphemism for his solution to the "Gypsy problem", he uses the stone tablet upside down and leaves it that to attend the Festival. Not only is it indicative of Frollo's twisted sense of justice, but also disregard for the laws since its done in the Palace of Justice.
  • It may seem a bit out of character for Frollo to include "forgiveness" in Quasimodo's religious alphabet, but as Victor pointed out in the previous scene: It's better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission. It's likely Frollo didn't include it at all, and after accidentally saying "Festival", Quasimodo was both trying to divert Frollo from what he had said and ask forgiveness for saying it.
    • It would be entirely within Frollo's raging hubris that he taught him the importance of this word so that Quasimodo would ask him for forgiveness should he do something wrong.
  • "The Court Of Miracles" might seem unrealistic, but while it didn't become cemetery catacombs until the 17th century when a lot of human remains were removed from ageing cemeteries, the catacombs themselves are actually limestone mines left behind by the Romans. While they wouldn't have been full of bones yet, they would serve as a perfect hideaway for the gypsies of Paris because the tunnels were not fully mapped yet.
  • If you pay close attention, this film is actually pretty critical of Christianity; Frollo isn't just evil for his self-righteousness, he's evil because his dedication to upholding "the Law of the Church" also leads to him enforcing some very brutal and unpleasant laws — most notably, Frollo hates the gypsies and seeks their destruction because they were not members of the Roman Catholic Church, being regarded as at best heathens, and at worst heretics. And then there's the realization that Frollo's lust for Esmeralda twists his mind up so badly in no small part because the church doctrine (or at least how Frollo interprets it) makes him believe sexual feelings are evil, and doubly so because Esmeralda's a gypsy.
    • And yet, at the same time, the film does not condemn Christianity entirely or make it a one-dimensional force of evil. It shines a harsh light on its ugly side, brought about by sanctifying codes of behaviour from the savagery of the Bronze Age, and yet it also pays homage to its benevolent aspects and its striving to bring light and good into the world, most strongly through the intervention of the Archdeacon and the goodness of the devout layworshipper Quasimodo.
    • It's really not, though. It's critical of certain Christians - namely, hypocrites who use their status as Christians to assign themselves a moral superiority - but not Christianity. The actual Church in this movie is depicted as a force for genuine good, through the actions of the Archdeacon. And the filmmakers went out of their way to do this; in the book, Frollo was the Archdeacon, and was neither the pure villain that the movie's Judge Frollo was, nor the pure good guy that the movie's Archdeacon was. The moviemakers split his personality into two characters, specifically to avoid the appearance of being critical of the Church.
  • At first it might seem like Fridge Logic that Esmeralda brings the wounded Phoebus to the bell tower and asks Quasimodo to hide him, despite the fact that Frollo regularly comes there to visit Quasimodo. But how was Esmeralda herself protected from arrest earlier? The law of sanctuary! Even if Frollo were to discover Phoebus, he can't arrest him as long as he's in the cathedral.

Fridge Horror

  • Remember when Quasimodo dropped a large rock at a ladder during the soldiers’ attempted raid on the cathedral? When the ladder broke, two soldiers fell down. How likely is it that those two soldiers died from the fall?
  • More like What Could Have Been Fridge Horror. In the movie, Clopin seemed to have no problem killing Quasimodo along with Phoebus, labeling him as Frollo's henchmen. There are two deleted songs from this sequence that make this worrying. The first is called "A Place Of Miracles", in which Clopin is quite friendly with Quasimodo and seems to even accept him as one of their own, a gypsy. The next is called "As Long As There's A Moon", in which Clopin recognizes still Quasimodo as their King Of Fools.
  • Admit it, when you first saw this movie, you had no idea what Hellfire was really about.
    Gaston: When I was a lad I didn't know what Frollo was singing. But now that I'm grown, I'm like BAAAAAAAAAAAA!! Frollo is a perv!.
  • The Archdeacon seems to change appearance between movies, almost like it's a different guy entirely. Now, when Frollo throws the Archdeacon down the stairs, look how he lands. His legs look like they might have been broken by the fall. This is in the 1400s- broken bones are just about a surefire death sentence.
    • Don't worry, he's fine. At the very end of the movie when Phoebus and Esmeralda emerge from the church, you can see him standing in the large crowd. It's a Freeze-Frame Bonus, but he's there. He most likely retired or passed away peacefully (guy was at least in his late 70s during the film's events) between movies. I actually don't know if Archdeacons are allowed to retire, but he's definitely alive and well by the end.
  • The first time we see Frollo hunting for Esmeralda, he locks an innocent family inside a house and tries to burn it with them inside (including the children). Fortunately, Phoebus saves them, but later we see that a good portion of Paris has been burned down. With no one to help people escape, it is heavily implied that Frollo just carried out a campaign of mass murder.
  • Also, one wonders if Esmeralda is the first woman Frollo lusted after...
    • Given how horrified he is by both his "weakness" and his belief he's been bewitched, it's safe to say that she is. If he'd gone to such insane extremes before, he probably wouldn't have been around to see her in the first place.
  • It's implied that Frollo's level of abuse seen in the movie is his normal behavior.
    • As the most powerful person in Paris, he may have abused his power and used fear to make sure the soldiers (especially the captain of the guard) obey him without question. If they do, they get severely punished. We aren't told how long he was the judge, this may have been the norm for decades.
  • How many innocent people has Clopin executed thinking they were Frollo's spies?
    • Only as many as are willing to pull the lid off a casket. As that is the entrance, it's doubtful they had very many visitors.
      • Except when Quasimodo and Pheobus try to protest, Clopin remarks "That's what they all say"...
      • Although it's clear that he's playing to the crowd in that moment (and, come on, it was quite a funny quip). Also consider the fact that they don't know yet about Phoebus' Heel–Face Turn and that Quasimodo is going against Frollo's orders. As far as they're concerned, they've just caught two of Frollo's closest henchmen. Now, if this was the novel's version of Clopin...
      • Also, bear in mind how that scene is framed. Clopin has them in the nooses for a good thirty seconds, which is fortunately long enough for Esmerelda to get wind of the attempted hanging. If Clopin was any less the showman he was, and decided not to play around with Phoebus and Quasi for as long as he had, they'd likely both have had broken necks by the time Esmerelda got there.
  • A traditional way to scare children in many European countries is that if they disappoint their parents they'll sell them to the Gypsies. Now picture why Quasi does not look like his mother at all.
    • Though Quasimodo might also have a general genetic disorder that caused his skin and hair to have a abnormal color, which might not only explain his deformation, but could even count as Fridge Brilliance.
  • While it likely goes straight over the heads of most young viewers, older viewers may shudder when re-watching the scene in which Frollo sniffs Esmeralda's hair. Dark, dark subtext. Additionally: Boiling lead being poured on soldiers offscreen; and the gargoyle (no, not one of the nice ones) roaring at Frollo before he falls to his doom. Wait — if the gargoyles are sentient, then does that count as a bonus death?
  • Remember that the story is being told by Clopin to a group of children. Imagine how they're reacting when he's recounting how he almost murdered the heroes. While singing a jaunty tune for extra psycho points.
    • He probably skimmed over it or something. "Now, I won't go into any details, but let me just say that a very handsome man got into an honest misunderstanding with them..."
    • Actually, only the beginning seems to be what Clopin is telling the children. If you notice, the way he speaks to them ("[the bells] don't ring by themselves") indicates that at this point, Quasimodo is still forbidden from leaving the bell tower, as if he were allowed to leave, the children would have probably seen him before and known that he was the bell ringer.
    • It does seem that that's the case. Watch the beginning scene again. One of the children listening to the story is the girl that hugs Quasimodo at the end. So that explains a little why she's approaching him; she's heard his story from Clopin and knows he's not a bad guy.
  • At the end of the film, Esmeralda is forced to wear a long, white dress to her execution. This implies that all of her other dresses were presumably destroyed by Frollo so that he can have her executed properly. Now try and guess where Esmeralda hid that dress the whole time...
    • It wasn't even a dress. It looked like a chemise, which was basically underwear for the time period. People who were about to be executed would be stripped of their garments and they would be sold, usually by the executioner. However, Esmeralda didn't appear to be wearing anything of value, which makes it both stupid and unnecessary to take her clothes and leave her in a chemise, which just adds to the messed-up subtext there.
      • And she wasn't wearing that chemise before, because it covers the shoulders; it would be visible under her dress if she was wearing it. It also obviously doesn't fit her right and is only being held around the waist by a rope when normally they're tighter, indicating it wasn't her own. One of the common tests they used to determine if a woman was a witch during the time was to strip her naked and search for witch's marks or anything that might indicate connection to Satan - the fact that she seems to have lost all her original clothing and was forced to wear someone else's undergarments, as well as simply the fact that she was an attractive woman during this time period, makes it extremely likely Esmeralda went through this (and probably a whole battery of other useless, humiliating tests.) Regardless of whether it actually happened, though, the fact alone that they took her clothes and then tied her up publicly only wearing what was considered lingerie is beyond messed up anyway.
    • Underneath her purple one (the one she normally wears).
    • The garment was possibly supplied to her. After that trick with the smoke powder in her hanky, they're taking no chances.
  • When Frollo taunts Esmeralda by saying, "Gypsies don't do well behind stone walls," it sounds to younger audiences like him bullying her about how she's used to travelling around outside rather than being locked up in the cathedral. To adults, Frollo is actually thinking of all the Gypsies he's had imprisoned and tortured in the Palace of Justice.
    • That, and the fact that most Gypsies, especially at this time, were still nomads travelling from place to place, only resting in towns for a few days to get wealth, materials or foods. So he's mocking her for her people's culture.
      • This could even be made worse. Sanctuary is usually granted for 40 days. Let's say she somehow escapes Notre Dame around that time frame - her family might have left Paris and travelled to another place that is safer, leaving her alone, homeless and vulnerable.
    • He's saying she'll be raped... which is why that whole scene is horrifying as an adult (and because Esmeralda was almost raped and got murdered in the book.)
  • Quasimodo was brought up by Frollo. In fact, the only other human Quasimodo has ever known and interacted with is Frollo.
    • Not necessarily true. Regular visitors to the church seem to know of the Bell Ringer. It's likely that the Archdeacon spent time with Quasimodo, but ultimately had other duties - after all, he told Frollo that he must be the one to raise Quasimodo.
  • The Palace of Justice must be like Auschwitz. Frollo probably lets his soldiers torture and rape the Gypsies and other people imprisoned within the walls of the fortress before slaughtering them.
    • Torture and slaughter? (Or as Frollo would think of it, 'questioning' and 'execution'?) Probably. But not rape: Frollo doesn't think anybody should have sex outside marriage, not even himself.
  • At the end when Frollo, Quasimodo, and Esmeralda were on top of Notre Dame, at one point Quasimodo is standing on top of a gargoyle, and Frollo tries to knock him off with a cloth. Fortunately, he grabs onto the ledge, but if he did fall, there's no telling what Frollo would have done to Esmeralda, the two of them being up there alone...
    • Not to mention, she's completely defenseless and half-dead from CO poisoning from the fire.
  • Of course it's clear to viewers of any age that Frollo is evil. But when watching the film through adult eyes, it becomes apparent that Frollo is a textbook emotional abuser: isolating Quasimodo from outside influences, telling him he is worthless and that without Frollo he will be helpless, and blaming Quasimodo for his own destructive actions ("Now all Paris is burning because of you!")
  • Evil man or not, Frollo's title of Minister of Justice as well as the fact that he had bodyguards and some authority over Paris meant that he was a high-ranking official of the King of France. King Louis was fighting the war that Phoebus came back from at the beginning of the movie. Now, imagine how the King will react when he will learn that the population of the city rebelled against one of his officials. Odds are that, since he doesn't know the full extent of what happened, the King will think that the town rebelled against his authority (something which happened several times with towns that had walls in the Middle Ages). Let's hope Phoebus can explain everything. If not, the citizens of Paris will have a nasty surprise when the royal armies will show up to crush the supposed rebellion.
    • On the other hand, Frollo's assault on Notre Dame would have definitely angered the Church as a whole, which was more powerful and influential in the Middle Ages than it is now. If there was any one act that would justify an insurrection against the King's Minister of Justice in the Church's eyes, it would be just that. Odds are the representatives of the Church would explain things to the King in a way that would keep the citizens of Paris safe from royal retaliation. Most likely the King would just want everyone to "forget" the incident as quickly as possible.

Fridge Logic

  • Frollo burns a house down after locking the family inside. Why would you design a door so it could be barricaded shut from the outside?
    • If you look, it's a handle on the door which conveniently serves as the barricade support. That said, fridge logic might come into play if one questions exactly what that house is made out of given its ignition speed...
      • Grain is extremely combustible and can explode if ignited in an enclosed area. A windmill is a party-house of combustion with leather, tar and thatch, and in a dry summer would be a live-in bonfire.
  • Victor Hugo's full name was Victor-Marie Hugo. The two male gargoyles are called Victor and Hugo, after him. The third and female gargoyle is called... Laverne. Huh?
    • Quasimodo named a bunch of the bells "Marie." Doesn't explain specifically where Laverne's name comes from, but it does explain why she's not called Marie, at least.
      • No real explanation attached, but many web sources (imdb, etc) seem to think she was named after one of the "Andrews Sisters." Couldn't find anything confirmed by Disney, though.
      • The reason for the some of bells being named "Marie" is the names given by Quasimodo were the actual names of the bells in Notre Dame de Paris at that time.
    • Laverna was the Roman goddess of con artists and outcasts.
  • After Frollo falls into the molten lead, where did all of it go?
    • It should have cooled down relatively quickly with no outside source to heat it, though it does seem to disappear too quickly. Maybe the last scene took place a little while later than we're assuming it does, like maybe midday?
    • That's probably most likely. It looks as if it's just approaching dawn when Esmeralda and Phoebus reunite. It's visibly much brighter in the scene with the little girl. It'd take at least 3-4 hours for things to get that light. I'm assuming some of the citizens cleared some of the mess away in the meantime.
  • Frollo was actually right about the gypsies being a bunch of no-good thieves; the Court of Miracles does give shelter to non-thieves, apparently, but they even themselves say that all the criminals of Paris are there. Worse still, not only are they no better towards Quasimodo than anyone else, they did try to murder Quasimodo and Phoebus for finding them, all the while boasting about how they're a bunch of criminals.
    • He may have had a point but that doesn't excuse him wanting to commit genocide. In medieval times, a criminal could mean anything from a murderer to someone stealing a loaf of bread to feed themselves. And they were prepared to execute Quasimodo and Phoebus because they were known associates of Frollo. It's not like they just decided to execute two random people that wandered into their hideout. They thought it was an ambush or something. Granted they could have waited for an explanation but they have good reason to be cynical about the outside world. Esmeralda was too until her stay in the cathedral.
    • It's ALSO sort of a chicken or the egg situation because people have been prejudiced/trying to commit genocide on the Romani people for a long, long time. And that goes with the whole 'nomadic' thing too, because there's the stereotype of 'gypsies' moving around a lot but also the fact that people persecute them everywhere they go. Which, like duh, eventually leads to thievery and Esmeralda has to make money by playing into their 'exotified' image of what a 'gypsy' girl is. They're thieves because they have to survive. Esmeralda has to play into what the people like Frollo think of her (and her people) because it's a way to con them and earn enough just to keep eating. She really just feels like an outcast, like everyone else... we even see that Chopin is playing into their 'gypsy' stereotypes, his costume is the part of "fool", hers is the part of "flirtatious gypsy dancer"
  • At the beginning, Quasi's mom is trying to sneak into Frollo-controlled Paris. Where the hell are they running from that a city under the thumb of a psycho with a boner for gypsy genocide is the better option?
    • The Court of Miracles is there. That's probably where they wanted to get to.
    • At the beginning he was just a Judge, twenty years later he is Minister of Justice. He got promoted by the King of France for doing such a stand-up-job of Romani Murder and now he is basically Dictator of Paris.
  • Where was the Archdeacon in all this? Frollo works in the Palace of Justice, a fair distance away from Notre Dame, but the archdeacon - if he is anything like many Catholic ministers - likely also lives in the cathedral. He at least works there on a regular basis, and had a great deal more opportunity to see Quasimodo than Frollo did. In twenty years he never once talked to Quasimodo? Did he never come up to the bell tower to see this condemned youth and comfort him? In doing so he would have seen what horrible psychological damage Frollo was inflicting, and taken steps to prevent it. Was the archdeacon the true villain?
    • In the original book, Frollo and the Archdeacon were one character, so it's not inconceivable that the Archdeacon played some part in Quasi's upbringing. Quasimodo's chores consisted of helping maintain the cathedral as well as ringing the bells, knowing every minute of the clock, chiming to the prayers and hymns, and if Frollo was his cold and stern 'father', the Archdeacon would be an encouraging tutor who nonetheless had many other duties. Frollo secretly despised Quasimodo and revelled in his own hubris, but as a caretaker, he could be considered 'adequate'. The Archdeacon wanted Frollo to learn humility and kindness by taking care of Quasimodo; by playing too great a part he would stand in the way of his penitence. He could never have predicted the monster Frollo would become.

The Disney stage musical

Fridge Horror
  • The musical makes the talking gargoyles much more obviously hallucinations/wish fulfillments by Quasimodo's damaged mind. The equivalent of Jason Alexander's Hugo in the film is the same, but the Victor gargoyle is made into more of a loving father figure, and the female of the trio is changed into a beautiful angel gargoyle named Loni, who seems to be both his source of motherly affection and romantically approachable. This is weird enough, but then you get to the final scene, in which Quasimodo is hesitating throwing Frollo off of the cathedral. Frollo pleads "You don't want to do this!", and Charles (in the German version. It's the entire choir in the US version.) leans into Quasimodo's ear and whispers, "Yes, you do."
  • Frollo's last word here is "DAMNATION!!!" as he falls (well, technically hoisted up by the choir) in the shape of a crucifix. Is he referring to his own damnation, or is he cursing Quasimodo for committing an act of murder and kinslaying?
  • The ending mentions Quasimodo's skeleton embracing Esmerelda, implying that Quasimodo died holding her in his arms. While it carries large shades of Death by Despair, it was noted that Quasimodo had just climbed rapidly down the cathedral, and ran through smoke and fire to untie Esmerelda, before running back up. Then, when the soldiers attack the cathedral, the narrator exposits Quasimodo running around before eventually climbing to the lead vats. Molten lead emits noxious fumes, dangerous to anyone working with it without any protection from inhaling. Altogether, after breathing smoke, possibly getting burned while rescuing Esmerelda, then carrying her all the way up, Quasimodo further exerted himself climbing to the vats, and as he melted the lead, he must have been breathing hard that he was all the more susceptible to inhaling the deadly fumes. Factor in the kyphosis, with his lungs already being compromised by his condition, and it seems more likely that Quasimodo had exerted himself to death in his attempt to protect Esmerelda. The fact that she dies anyway doesn't help.


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