The Hunchback

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade April 2001

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"The Hunchback of Notre Dame" By Victor Hugo Set during 15th Century Paris "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" gives you a descriptive tour of Paris while following the tragic life of Quasimodo. "Hunchbacked, one-eyed, lame, and deaf." Quasimodo falls in love with the beautifal Esmeralda. But "married" to Gringoire and pursued mercilessly by the evil Claude Frollo, Esmeralda falls innocently in love with the dashing Captain Phoebus de Chateaupers. This is the setting for a most tragic love story. The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a very powerful book. It shows us the inner conflicts of a priest as he falls from grace and into madness. It tells us about the loyalty a brutally deformed being feels toward its savior.

In this book you can see how hard it is to live looking like a monster while everyone around you is either afraid of you or they think that you are some evil creature from hell that should be destroyed.

And, while you are reading this book, you begin to respect Quasimodo for his loyalty to the priest and his bravery for living in a very cruel world.

The first part of the book is a little difficult to get through while the author, Victor Hugo, is describing medieval Paris and introducing you to the characters. But in the way Hugo talks about the city he makes you feel that you are actually walking through the narrow and overcrowded streets of downtown Paris. He talks about the buildings as though they were alive and telling their own stories. He described how cruel the people were and how they enjoyed to see one who was not like them in pain. You may not understand everything the characters say but after a while you start to get the meaning of it all. But even with a difficult beginning the last hundred pages makes it all worth it.

If you like to hear about tortures and people going insane you will enjoy this macabre novel. Or, if you want to know more about how people lived in those times, this book shows you the "entertainment" people watched, like someone being publicly tortured and sometimes hung. You will also see how people will go to extreme lengths to get what they want.