Study Guide

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame Book IX

By Victor Hugo

Book IX

Chapter 1: A High Fever

  • Frollo didn't stick around to see that last scene with Quasimodo. After his exchange with Esmeralda, he snuck out and ran away through the Université and out past the city.
  • Frollo thinks about his distorted love, about how Phœbus is alive and better than ever, and about how the one person he loved he has been condemned to death. He also thinks jealously of how the crowd had stared at Esmeralda's near-nakedness. Okay, Frollo.
  • Frollo continues to obsess over Esmeralda and what he has done to her as he runs through fields.
  • At nightfall he takes a boat back the city. On his way, he crosses the Pont St.-Michel, and looks through a window of one of the houses. Inside is a young man caressing a scantily clad prostitute and an old woman singing a terrible song. It's his brother Jehan and the old woman from the coin-turned-to-a-leaf incident.
  • Just as Jehan comes out of the house, Frollo throws himself on the ground and pretends to be a drunk so that he won't be recognized. Jehan pokes him with his foot for a little bit and then moves on.
  • Frollo heads back to Notre-Dame. In a frenzy, he reads a random passage from the breviary. It happens to be about Job: "Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up."
  • Frollo sinks down onto the ground for a while. When he gets up to climb to his tower, he suddenly feels a cold breeze, and the clock strikes midnight. He thinks about how Esmeralda must be dead and cold by now.
  • Then, on the floor below him, he sees the figure of Esmeralda dressed in white, accompanied by her goat. Thinking that it's her spirit, he freaks out.

Chapter 2: One-Eyed, Hunchback, and Lame

  • Sanctuary was apparently a totally common thing in the Middle Ages.
  • In Notre-Dame, Quasimodo has put Esmeralda up in a little room facing the cloisters. She doesn't remember much about how she got there.
  • Quasimodo brings Esmeralda white clothes that were donated by some nuns. He also brings her his own dinner and his mattress.
  • Esmeralda wants to thank him, but she can't even bear to look at him. Quasimodo understands and says that he will leave her, but he warns her not to leave the church—or else she will be killed.
  • Esmeralda sadly surveys the room (and the situation) she's in. Then she feels Djali rubbing against her legs, and she bursts into tears.

Chapter 3: Deaf

  • Esmeralda has her first good night's sleep in ages. But then she is greeted in the morning by the face of Quasimodo watching her through the window.
  • Quasimodo starts to leave, but Esmeralda bids him stay. Because he can't hear her, he just assumes that she is telling him to scram.
  • Esmeralda runs after Quasimodo, but he refuses to enter her room. He tells her that he is deaf, and that he never realized how hideous he was until he compared himself with her.
  • Esmeralda asks Quasimodo why he saved her. He reads her lips and answers that it was because of her kindness in giving him some water that day at the pillory.
  • Quasimodo says that when Esmeralda wishes to be rid of him, she need just say the word, and he will hurl himself from one of the towers. Kind of melodramatic, but we like his flair.
  • Quasimodo leaves Esmeralda so that she will not have to look at him. But first he lays on the floor a special whistle that he can hear.

Chapter 4: Earthenware and Crystal

  • In the days that follow, all the awful things Esmeralda endured fade in her mind. She still clings to the thought of Phœbus, now that she knows that he is alive. She even convinces herself that the young woman with Phœbus on the balcony was his sister. Yeah, right.
  • Sometimes Quasimodo comes to watch Esmeralda play with Djali or to listen to her sing, but he is never able to stay or talk to her. He laments that he isn't a beast or a statue, because then she might tolerate him.
  • One day, while Esmeralda is on the roof of the cathedral with Quasimodo looking out at the square, she sees Phœbus walking and cries out his name. Quasimodo hates that Esmeralda loves Phœbus just because he's hot, but he offers to go fetch Phœbus for her.
  • By the time Quasimodo gets downstairs, Phœbus has already gone into Fleur-de-Lis's house.
  • Quasimodo waits there until nightfall. On the roof, he sees Esmeralda waiting, too.
  • After the party breaks up around one, Phœbus still hasn't left. Then Quasimodo sees a man and a woman on the balcony talking close together and kissing. He hopes that Esmeralda can't see it.
  • Finally, the couple on the balcony is interrupted by the appearance of an older woman, and not long after, Phœbus is downstairs on his horse.
  • Quasimodo grabs the horse's bridle and says that there is a woman who wants to speak with Phœbus —a woman who is in love with him.
  • Phœbus, in typical Phœbus fashion, responds that he can't possibly go around seeing every woman who is in love with him.
  • Quasimodo tells him that it is the gypsy who wishes to see him. Remember, Phœbus had assumed that Esmeralda was dead, so that—combined with the creepy darkness—compels him to draw his dagger and kick Quasimodo in the chest.
  • Quasimodo returns to Notre-Dame and tells Esmeralda that he could not find Phœbus. Esmeralda gets upset and tells him to go away.
  • After that, Quasimodo never comes to see Esmeralda, though he leaves her little gifts. Esmeralda sometimes hears him singing a song about beauty being just on the surface.
  • One morning, Esmeralda finds two bouquets at her window: one in a crystal vase that is cracked and filled with dead flowers, and one that is made of earthenware with fresh flowers. Esmeralda takes one of the faded flowers and wears it.
  • Even though it seems like Quasimodo isn't even there anymore, one night Esmeralda wakes up to find him sleeping outside her door.

Chapter 5: The Key of the Porte Rouge

  • Frollo has since found out about what really happened to Esmeralda, and how she is now living in Notre-Dame. His response is to shut himself up in his cell for several weeks and not see anyone.
  • Frollo can see Esmeralda's room from his window, and he actually becomes jealous of Quasimodo.
  • At night, he has all sorts of crazy sexy visions of Esmeralda.
  • Finally, he jumps out of bed one night and leaves his cell. Since he's the Archdeacon, he has the keys to the Porte Rouge, which connects the cloisters and the church. Smells like trouble…

Chapter 6: The Key of the Porte Rouge, Part II

  • Esmeralda wakes up that night and sees the face of Frollo in front of her. She tries to scream but can't.
  • Frollo overpowers her as he kisses her and begs her to love him.
  • Frollo is about to rape Esmeralda when her hand touches the whistle that Quasimodo left for her on the floor. She blows it.
  • In a second, Frollo feels hands grab him in the dark. He sees the blade of a knife.
  • Frollo recognizes Quasimodo, but in the dark he can't show Quasimodo who he is, and Quasimodo can't hear his voice. Frollo assumes that he is about to die, when Quasimodo suddenly stops.
  • Quasimodo doesn't want any blood on Esmeralda, so he drags Frollo out of the room.
  • When Quasimodo sees Frollo's face in the moonlight, he stops and starts to tremble. Now Frollo is the one in charge.
  • Quasimodo tells Frollo to kill him first and then do as he pleases. He even hands Frollo the knife.
  • But Esmeralda intercepts it and uses it to threaten Frollo. She tells him that she knows that Phœbus isn't dead.
  • Frollo kicks Quasimodo and rushes into the vault. Quasimodo hands Esmeralda back her whistle. Esmeralda goes back to her bed and sobs.
  • In his room, Frollo, now thoroughly jealous of Quasimodo, vows that no one shall have Esmeralda.