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THE STORY

Plot - Characters - Synopsis

 

Plot

This is the story of Quasimodo, the hunchbacked bell-ringer of Notre-Dame, and his tragic love for Esmeralda, the beautiful gypsy woman. It is a tale of love doomed by injustice and hypocrisy.
Quasimodo, watching the world from the spires of Notre-Dame, has fallen in love with Esmeralda, who sings and dances in the square in front of the great cathedral. But Esmeralda loves Phoebus, the handsome captain of the King's cavalry. Phoebus is engaged to Fleur-de-Lys, a young wealthy socialite, but is soon captivated by the exotic sensuality of the gypsy girl. Adding to this complicated emotional web is the lust Esmeralda inspires in the priest, Frollo. It is Frollo who enslaved Quasimodo and kept him in the cathedral. The priest's repressed carnal desires and jealousy lead him to stab Phoebus in order
to get rid of his rival.
Esmeralda herself is falsely accused of the attempted murder and flung in jail. Frollo takes advantage of Esmeralda's plight and offers her freedom in return for sexual favours. She refuses and, enraged, he plots his revenge. Quasimodo frees Esmeralda and hides her in his realm, the belfry of Notre-Dame. But Clopin, the leader of the refugees, and his people, misunderstand Quasimodo's intentions and storm the cathedral to save the gypsy dancer. In the chaos, Phoebus and his soldiers intervene to quell the riot and Clopin is killed.
Thinking that the captain will save Esmeralda, Quasimodo allows Frollo to hand his love over to Phoebus. But, in fact, Phoebus has every intention of seeing Esmeralda hang. In his rage, Quasimodo throws Frollo from the Belfry and sets out to save Esmeralda once again. He is too late. Consumed with grief, the hunchback takes Esmeralda to Paris' mass grave, where he dies at her side.

 

Characters

Esmeralda - Quasimodo - Frollo - Phoebus - Gringoire - Clopin - Fleur-de-Lys

Esmeralda
She is a young Andalusian Bohemian aged 16. Esmeralda carries an amulet around her neck with a little pouch,
which she uses to find her mother and is always accompanied by her little goat Djali.
Esmeralda is in love with Phoebus but is married to Gringoire to save his life. She is loved by Quasimodo, and the
archdeacon Claude Frollo, whom she hates.
Quasimodo
He is the young bell-ringer of Notre-Dame, aged 20. His physique is terrible: "a squared nose, a mouth like a horsehore, a left eye obscured by a bushy red eyebrow, while the right eye is completely covered by an enormous wart, chipped and higgledy-piggledy teeth, lips with sores, a jutting chin, long feet, a hump, and what is more, he is deaf and virtually dumb too"
He was adopted on the day of Saint Quasimodo by Frollo, whom he faithfully obeys.
Quasimodo is in love with Esméralda, and will do anything for her.
Frollo
He is the Archdeacon of Notre-Dame, 36 years old, bald, with a few grey hair at the temples.
Frollo was born to spend his life with the Church, he is erudite, cultivated and well-versed in the sciences and philosophy. He has a brother, Jehan, whom he cares for.
Gringoire makes the following observations whilst he is looking at Esméralda: "...in his deep and dark eyes shone an extraordinary youth, a life of dedication, a profound passion..."
Frollo is the guardian and adoptive father of Quasimodo, who he has made his slave.
He is madly in love with Esméralda, he is prepared to do anything to possess her...
Phoebus (de Chateaupers)
He is the captain of the archers. Phoebus meets Esméralda shortly after she is attacked. He desires Esmeralda, but only in a physical way and is engaged to Fleur-de-Lys.
Victor Hugo wrote: "Phoebus had a tragic end, he got married."
Gringoire
He is a poet, writer, philosopher, broke.
After having followed Esmeralda, he finds himself in the Court of the Miracles. Because of that, he is condemned to hang. He is saved by Esmeralda. She marries him for seven years. It is a marriage of convenience (to Gringoire's great despair).
Clopin
He is the king of the Court of the Miracles, and of the Thunes. Clopin's the leader of the refugees
Fleur-de-Lys
She is a young bourgeois lady, promised to Phoebus. Fleur-de-Lys is very jealous of his fascination for Esmeralda.

 

Synopsis

ACT 1

OVERTURE

THE AGE OF THE CATHEDRALS
Paris, 1482. Our narrator, the poet Gringoire, tells us about a time when man reached for heavens by building cathedrals

THE REFUGEES
Led by Clopin, a gang of refugees have gathered outside Notre-Dame cathedral to seek asylum. Frollo, the archdeacon of Notre-Dame, orders Phoebus, captain with the King's cavalry, to chase them away.

ESMERALDA YOU SEE
Clopin, who has been Esmeralda's guardian since she was a child, warns her against deceitful men.

SO LOOK NO MORE FOR LOVE
Phoebus asks Fleur-de-Lys, his fiancee from a well-to-do family, to marry him.

THE FEAST OF FOOLS
Gringoire presides over a wild celebration. The person with the most repulsive face will become King of Fools for the night.

THE KING OF FOOLS
Elected by throng, Quasimodo yearns for the love of Esmeralda

THE SORCERESS
Already obsessed with Esmeralda, Frollo asks Quasimodo to abduct the pagan girl in order to educate her into the church.

THE FOUNDLING
Quasimodo will do anything for Frollo who found him on the steps of Notre-Dame and raised him like a son.

THE DOORS OF PARIS
At midnight, the gates of the Cite are closed to protect its citizens from harm. But what goes on behins them?

KIDNAP ATTEMPT
Quasimodo tries to kidnap Esmeralda but Phoebus intervenes and arrests the hunchback. The captain arranges to meet the gypsy the following evening at the Cabart Val D'Amour.

THE COURT OF THE MIRACLES
Esmeralda seeks refuge at the Court of the Miracles. Gringoire, who followed her there, is caught by Clopin who pronounces a mock death sentence on him, unless a woman agrees to marry him. Esmeralda offers to become his bride but not his bedmate.

THE WORD PHOEBUS
Left alone with Gringoire, Esmeralda asks him to explain the meaning of the name Phoebus: he is the God of the sun.

SHINING LIKE THE SUN
The smitten Esmeralda and the naive Fleur-de-Lys both sing of their love for Phoebus.

TORN APART
Phoebus tells the solfiers he can't decide which of the two girls he likes best.

FATE
Gringoire shows Frollo a Greek word carved on a cathedral wall. It means fate, destiny.

WATER, PLEASE
Chained to the wheel for the attempted abduction of Esmeralda, Quasimodo asks for water. The gypsy brings him some and
the hunchback is touched by this gesture.

"BELLE" IS THE ONLY WORD
Quasimodo, Frollo and Phoebus all sing of their love for Esmeralda

HOME IN THE SKY
Released from the torture of the wheel, Quasimodo leads Esmeralda into the cathedral for the first time and tells her she can
claim sanctuary there.

THE PAGAN AVE MARIA
Moved by the spirit of the place, Esmeralda prays to the Virigin Mary.

YOUR LOVE WILL KILL ME
Happening upon her in the cathedral, Frollo realises he is truly obsessed with the gypsy girl.

THE SHADOW
The jealous prieast follows Phoebus who is about to meet Esmeralda and attempts to frighten him off.

AT THE VAL D'AMOUR
Gringoire sings about the good-time girls in this Paris bordello where Phoebus and Esmeralda have agreed to have their secret rendez-vous.

THE VOLUPTUARY
About to give herselft to the captain, Esmeralda drops a knife, which Frollo picks up to stab Phoebus in the dark.

DESTINY
Gringoire sings of Fate, mistress of all our destinies.

 

ACT 2

TALK TO ME OF FLORENCE
Frollo and Gringoire talk of the new ideas about to sweep their world.

THE BELLS
Driven to despair by Esmeralda's disppearance, Quasimodo refuses to ring the bells of Notre-Dame.

WHERE IS SHE?
Bith Frollo and Clopin question Gringoire about the whereabouts of the gypsy girl.

THE BIRDS THEY PUT IN CAGES
From her prison, Esmeralda calls for Quasimodo to free her. Meanwhile, the hunchback has been looking for her everywhere.

CAST AWAY
Clopin and his band of refugees are also arrested and thrown in jail.

THE TRIAL
Esmeralda is accused of having cast a spell over Phoebus before stabbing him. She will swear only that she loves him. Frollo condemns her to death.

I AM A PRIEST
Frollo curses himselft for being in love with the gypsy girl.

PHOEBUS IF YOU CAN HEAR
In her cell, Esmeralda rejoices on hearing that Phoebus is still alive and calls for him to come and save her.

TO GET BACK TO YOU
Phoebus claims he fell under Esmeralda's spell and asks Fleur-de-Lys to forgive him.

MY HEART IF YOU WILL SWEAR
Fleur-de-Lys tells Phoebus she will forgive him only if Esmeralda hangs for her crime.

FROLLO'S VISIT TO ESMERALDA
The priest visits Esmeralda to give her the last rites. He offers her freedom if she will give herself to him just once.

ONE BRIGHT MORNING YOU DANCED
Esmeralda tells Frollo she'd rather die and the priest tries to rape her.

FREE TODAY
Quasimodo frees Clopin, the refugees and Esmeralda who all seek sanctuary in the cathedral.

MOON
Gringoire articulates Quasimodo's hopes and dreams.

A SMALL WHISTLE I LEAVE YOU
The hunchback hides Esmeralda in the belltower and, as she falls asleep, gives her a whistle so she can call him.

GOD YOU MADE THE WORLD ALL WRONG
The bell-ringer curses God for making him so ugly and Phoebus so handsome.

LIVE FOR THE ONE I LOVE
Walking under the stars, Esmeralda realises her destiny is to live or die for love.

ATTACK ON NOTRE-DAME
Frollo orders Phoebus to violate the right to sanctuary and drive the refugees from the cathedral. As Clopin dies, he asks Esmeralda to continue the struggle.

BY ROYAL LAW
Phoebus expels the refugees and takes Esmeralda to the place of execution.

MY MASTER, MY SAVIOUR
From the top of the cathedral, Frollo watches Esmeralda's hanging. The priest confesses he engineered the whole thing after she rejected his attentions. The hunckback strangles the priest and throws him down the tower.

DANCE MY ESMERALDA
Quasimodo demands Esmeralda's body. Griefstricken, he collapses and pleads to join her in the next life.

FINALE