What are the most important symbols in The Hunchback of Notre Dame?

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jfwheeler | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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There are, of course, many symbols in Hugo's novels, but two of the most important are the Notre Dame Cathedral and Esmeralda's red baby shoes.

The cathedral serves as a symbol of France, specifically, it represents the possibility of a return to France's former glory. 

Esmeralda's red shoes are a symbol of innocence and purity.  Recall that Esmeralda was kidnapped by gypsies when she was a child.  Her mother managed to save one of her baby's red shoes.  Years later, young Esmeralda meets with a gypsy who has the mate to her baby shoe.  The gypsy tells Esmeralda that as long as she remains virtuous, that one day, she and her mother will be reunited.