Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Quasimodo (kah-zee-MOH-doh), a bellringer abandoned in infancy at Notre Dame Cathedral on Quasimodo Sunday, 1476, and now deaf from the din of the bells he rings. He is also unspeakably ugly, with tusk-like teeth and a wen over one eye, bristling red hair and eyebrows, and a snoutlike nose. Because of his horrible appearance, the Paris crowd selects him King of Fools for the Epiphany celebrations of 1482. During the carnival, he sees Esmeralda, the gypsy who dances before him. When he is later pilloried and beaten, she brings him a drink. From then on, he is her devoted slave and on several occasions saves her from Archdeacon Frollo, his benefactor. When she is hanged through Frollo’s scheming, he hurls the priest from the bell tower, then weeps at the death of the only two people he has ever loved. Years later, when the vault of Montfaucon, burial place of criminals, is opened, a skeleton of a woman in white is found in the arms of a misshapen man with a crooked spine. The bones disintegrate into dust when touched.
Esmeralda (ehz-meh-RAHL-dah), a lovely and kindhearted gypsy who possesses an amulet by which she hopes to find her family. She and her goat Djali dance to earn their living. Attracted to Captain Phoebus after he saves her from kidnapping, she agrees to a rendezvous in a house on the Pont St. Michel. There the officer is...
(The entire section is 711 words.)
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Coictier is the king’s physician who accompanies the king to visit Frollo to ask him about his medical knowledge.
Coppenole is a hosier who travels with the royal party from Brussels. Although he is a mere maker of hoses, he is announced as if he too were royalty. Coppenole has a way with the crowds in the opening of the novel, giving the reader a contrast between how the populace related to royalty and how royalty related to them, emphasizing the gap between them. Coppenole is the bridge. It is Coppenole who also suggests the election of the pope of fools, which introduces Quasimodo.
Robert d’Estouteville is the provost of Paris and presides over the trial of Quasimodo, finally sentencing him to a severe public beating.
Demoiselle Fleur de Lys
Demoiselle Fleur de Lys is the betrothed of Captain Phoebus. When she notices that Phoebus is interest in La Esmeralda’s dancing, she suggests that he invite La Esmeralda to the party they are going to. At the party, La Esmeralda becomes the center of attraction with all the men, making all the women jealous.
Florian, the king’s auditor, is deaf like Quasimodo. The crowd finds the shared deafness hilarious, which makes Florian indignant. When he demonstrates his annoyance, Provost d’Estouteville blames Quasimodo and sentences him to...
(The entire section is 1616 words.)