Study Guide

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame Love

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"Love is a many splendored thing." "Love lifts us up where we belong." "All you need is love."

We can't tell if we're quoting different songs or just Moulin Rouge, but the point is that love does a lot of different things and looks a lot of different ways to different people. Just take all the many ways people love each other in The Hunchback of Notre-Dame: Quasimodo's love for Esmeralda, Esmeralda's love for Phœbus, Frollo's love for Esmeralda, Gringoire's love for Djali… it's like a love hexagon.

Does each of these characters experience love in quite the same way? Not so much. It's irrational, it hurts, it's complicated—but it's irrational, it hurts, and it's complicated in different ways for different characters. Which brings us to something else you might want to consider: love isn't always as hunky-dory as cheesy love songs would have you believe.

Questions About Love

  1. Do you think this novel is actually all about love?
  2. What's the difference between love and lust in this novel? Is there a difference?
  3. Does love have a strict definition in this novel?
  4. Which love songs would you assign to each of the relationships in the novel?

Chew on This

The only true love in The Hunchback of Notre-Dame is the love that Quasimodo feels for Esmeralda.

Love is what compels the characters in the novel to do ridiculous things.

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