Study Guide

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame Book II

By Victor Hugo

Book II

Chapter 1: From Charybdis into Scylla

  • Gringoire leaves the Palace of Justice and wanders the streets of Paris. He's unable to escape the festivities, he decides to head for the center of it all at the Place de Grève.

Chapter 2: The Place de Grève

  • The narrator compares the Place de Grève of the present with the Place de Grève as it looked in the 15th century. It used to be the site of a permanent gallows and pillory, but now it houses a guillotine discreetly in one corner.

Chapter 3: Besos Para Golpes

  • Gringoire sees a crowd watching a woman dance, and he's totally into it until he realizes that the woman is a gypsy.
  • A man in the crowd who looks prematurely old is also obsessively watching the woman dance.
  • The woman shows off how well her pet goat can do impressions. (We're not making this up.) The old-looking man starts yelling things about sacrilege, but the rest of the crowd loves it.
  • The girl goes up to Gringoire and holds out her tambourine for money when a woman's voice starts yelling things and calling the girl names. The voice apparently belongs to a crazy woman.
  • Gringoire takes advantage of the incident to sneak off.
  • Gringoire is thinking about how he's got no bed and no supper when he hears the girl singing. (We also hear some more abuse from the crazy woman.) But then Gringoire runs into the procession of the Pope of Fools.
  • This is the first time Quasimodo has ever experienced any kind of attention, let alone acclaim. Even though it's all about making fun of him, he rolls with it.
  • Suddenly, Gringoire sees that old-looking man dart from the crowd and scold Quasimodo, who jumps down and kneels before him as if the man were his master.
  • Gringoire recognizes the man as Dom Claude Frollo, the Archdeacon. Quasimodo and the Archdeacon leave together.

Chapter 4: The Unfortunate Consequences of Following a Pretty Girl in the Street at Night

  • Meanwhile, with nowhere to go, Gringoire decides to follow the gypsy girl and her goat. She notices him following her and rounds a corner to try to lose him.
  • All of a sudden, Gringoire hears a shriek. He turns the corner to see Quasimodo and another man grasping the girl. Gringoire tries to intervene but doesn't do very well. Quasimodo knocks him half-unconscious.
  • Just that moment, a valiant man on horseback comes to the rescue. He's the leader of a group of soldiers, and he literally sweeps Esmeralda off her feet. The soldiers tie up Quasimodo.
  • Esmeralda is mesmerized by the soldier's super-hot looks. He introduces himself as Captain Phœbus de Châteaupers.
  • Esmeralda thanks him and then slips away.

Chapter 5: A Chapter of Accidents

  • Gringoire, who was unconscious for this last episode with Phœbus, comes to. He's cold and in the gutter.
  • Gringoire briefly recalls that the second man he saw must have been Claude Frollo, but this thought is quickly replaced by his feeling of being cold and in the gutter.
  • Some street urchins throw a straw mattress on Gringoire, not realizing that he is there. The mattress belonged to an ironmonger who has just died, and they are going to burn it for warmth.
  • Gringoire, not a big fan of this plan, bursts out of the mattress. The children all scatter, thinking that he is the ironmonger's ghost.

Chapter 6: The Broken Jug

  • After chasing the urchins, Gringoire thinks it best to return to the mattress. But the streets are so windy and confusing that he can't find his way back.
  • Gringoire is accosted by a slew of lame beggars, all speaking different languages. He tries to get away, but suddenly all of the beggars around him stand up and run, the diseased lose their ailments, and the blind suddenly are able to see. Wait, what?
  • The apparently-not-lame beggars seize Gringoire, who realizes that he is in the Cour des Miracles (the Court of Miracles), a haven for thieves and con artists.
  • The "beggars" take Gringoire to a den of haphazard tables piled high with pots of booze and bring him to their king, who ends up being none other than Clopin Trouillefou.
  • Clopin tells Gringoire that he is going to be hanged and goes through a series of ridiculous rationalizations as to why. Gringoire, in an attempt to save his life, tries to go along with everything, but it's not really possible.
  • As a test for his becoming a thief, Gringoire is made to stand on a rickety stool. From there, he's suppose to try to pickpocket a hanging dummy decorated with little bells; he's supposed to do this without making any of the bells sound.
  • Naturally, he fails.
  • Just when it seems like Gringoire is done for, Clopin remembers that if one of the gypsy women offers to marry Gringoire, then he will be spared.
  • A few women look him up and down but aren't impressed with what they see.
  • Esmeralda appears at the last second and offers to marry Gringoire.
  • Gringoire is given a jug and told to throw it on the ground. It breaks into four pieces, which means that he and Esmeralda are to be married for four years.

Chapter 7: A Wedding Night

  • Gringoire is understandably confused about what just happened and wonders if all of the events of the day were a dream. He suddenly finds himself in a warm room with Esmeralda, who doesn't seem to take notice of him.
  • At first, Gringoire tries to get into her pants, but she shoots that idea right down by producing a hidden dagger. Gringoire, thinking that Esmeralda must like him at least a little bit, asks why Esmeralda married him, and she replies that she did it so he wouldn't be hanged.
  • So Gringoire just asks for some supper instead. While he eats, he notices that Esmeralda is looking at the ceiling distracted by some thought and not eating.
  • Gringoire breaks through Esmeralda's thought, and she makes it clear that she has no intention of letting him leave the Friend Zone.
  • Gringoire asks Esmeralda a bit about her life. She doesn't seem to know much about her parents or where she came from, but that's okay, because Gringoire has plenty to say about himself.
  • Esmeralda asks Gringoire what Phœbus means, and Gringoire, confused, answers that it is the name of the sun and of a handsome archer god.
  • At this point, Esmeralda disappears into her room and bolts the door, leaving Gringoire to sleep on a trunk. Hey, at least he's alive, right?