Short summary - Notre-Dame de Paris - The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Victor Hugo

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - Notre-Dame de Paris - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Victor Hugo

In the back streets of one of the towers of the great cathedral, someone's long decayed hand inscribed the word "rock" in Greek. Then the word itself disappeared. But from him was born a book about a gypsy woman, a hunchback and a priest.
On January 6, 1482, on the occasion of the feast of baptism in the Palace of Justice, they give the mystery "The Righteous Judgment of the Most Pure Virgin Mary." A huge crowd gathers in the morning. The Ambassadors from Flanders and the Cardinal of Bourbon should be welcome to the spectacle. Gradually, the audience begins to grumble, and the schoolchildren rage most of all: among them stands the sixteen-year-old blond imp, Jehan, the brother of the learned archdeacon Claude Frollo. The nervous author of the mystery, Pierre Gringoire, orders to begin. But the unfortunate poet is unlucky; as soon as the actors uttered the prologue, the cardinal appears, and then the ambassadors. The townspeople from the Flemish city of Ghent are so colorful that Parisians only stare at them. The stocker maitre Kopinol evokes general admiration for his unbeatable, friendly conversations with the disgusting beggar Clopin Truilfou. To Gringoire's horror, the damned Fleming honors his mystery with the last words and offers to do a much more fun thing - to elect a jester pope. It will be the one who makes the most terrible grimace. Applicants for this high title stick their faces out of the chapel window. The winner is Quasimodo, the bell ringer of Notre Dame, who doesn't even need to grimace, he is so ugly. The monstrous hunchback is dressed in a ridiculous robe and carried on his shoulders to walk, according to custom, through the streets of the city. Gringoire is already hoping for a continuation of the ill-fated play, but then someone shouts that Esmeralda is dancing in the square - and all the remaining spectators are blown away like a wind. Gringoire in anguish wanders to the Place de Grève to look at this Esmeralda, and an inexpressibly charming girl appears to his eyes - either a fairy or an angel, who, however, turned out to be a gypsy. Gringoire, like all spectators, is completely mesmerized by the dancer, however, the gloomy face of a still not old, but already bald man stands out in the crowd: he viciously accuses the girl of witchcraft - after all, her white goat beats a tambourine with its hoof six times in response to the question of what is number. When Esmeralda begins to sing, a female voice full of frenzied hatred is heard - the recluse of the Roland Tower curses the gypsy offspring. At this moment, a procession enters Greve Square, in the center of which Quasimodo flaunts. A bald man rushes to him, having frightened the gypsy, and Gringoire recognizes his hermetic teacher - the father of Claude Frollo. He rips off the tiara from the hunchback, tears his robes to shreds, breaks the staff - the terrible Quasimodo falls to his knees in front of him. The day, rich in spectacles, comes to an end, and Gringoire, without much hope, wanders after the gypsy. Suddenly, a shrill scream comes to him: two men try to clamp Esmeralda's mouth. Pierre calls the guards, and a dazzling officer appears - the head of the royal riflemen. One of the kidnappers is captured - this is Quasimodo. The gypsy does not take her enthusiastic eyes off her savior, Captain Phoebus de Chateaupera.
Fate brings the unfortunate poet into the Yard of Wonders - the kingdom of beggars and thieves. The stranger is seized and led to the King of Altyn, in which Pierre, to his surprise, recognizes Clopin Truilfe. The local manners are harsh: you need to pull out the wallet from a stuffed animal with bells, so that they do not ring - a loop awaits the loser. Gringoire, who made a real ringing, is dragged to the gallows, and only a woman can save him - if there is one that wants to marry him. No one was in love with the poet, and he would have swayed on the crossbar if Esmeralda had not freed him out of the kindness of her soul. The emboldened Gringoire tries to assert marital rights, but the fragile songstress has a small dagger for this case - in front of the astonished Pierre's eyes, the dragonfly turns into a wasp. The unfortunate poet lies down on a skinny bed, for he has nowhere to go.
The next day, Esmeralda's kidnapper is brought to trial. In 1482 the disgusting hunchback was twenty years old, and his benefactor Claude Frollo was thirty-six. Sixteen years ago, a little freak was put on the porch of the cathedral, and only one person took pity on him. Having lost his parents during a terrible plague, Claude was left with breast Jean in his arms and fell in love with him with passionate, devoted love. Perhaps the thought of his brother made him pick up the orphan, whom he named Quasimodo. Claude fed him, taught him to write and read, put him to the bells, so Quasimodo, who hated all people, was loyal to the archdeacon like a dog. Perhaps he loved only the Cathedral more - his home, his homeland, his universe. That is why he unquestioningly fulfilled the order of his savior - and now he had to answer for this. Deaf Quasimodo gets to a deaf judge, and it ends in tears - he is sentenced to lashes and a pillory. The hunchback does not understand what is happening until they begin to flog him to the hooting of the crowd. The torment does not end there: after the scourging, the good townspeople throw stones and ridicule at him. He hoarsely asks for a drink, but he is answered with bursts of laughter. Esmeralda suddenly appears in the square. Seeing the culprit of his misfortunes, Quasimodo is ready to incinerate her with a glance, and she fearlessly climbs the stairs and brings a flask of water to his lips. Then a tear rolls down the ugly face - the changeable crowd applauds "the majestic spectacle of beauty, youth and innocence, who came to the aid of the embodiment of ugliness and malice." Only the recluse of Roland's Tower, barely noticing Esmeralda, bursts into curses.
A few weeks later, at the beginning of March, Captain Phoebus de Chateauper is amiable with his fiancee Fleur-de-Lys and her bridesmaids. For fun for the girl's sake, they decide to invite into the house a pretty gypsy who dances on Cathedral Square. They quickly regret their intention, for Esmeralda outshines them all with grace and beauty. She herself gazes at the captain, puffed up with complacency. When the goat puts together the word "Phoebus" from letters - apparently well-known to her, Fleur-de-Lys faints, and Esmeralda is immediately expelled. She also attracts the eyes: from one window of the cathedral Quasimodo looks at her with admiration, from the other - Claude Frollo sullenly contemplates. Next to the gypsy, he spotted a man in a yellow and red tights - before she always performed alone. Going downstairs, the archdeacon recognizes his student Pierre Gringoire, who disappeared two months ago. Claude eagerly asks about Esmeralda: the poet says that this girl is a charming and harmless creature, a true child of nature. She keeps chastity, because she wants to find parents through an amulet - and that supposedly helps only virgins. Everyone loves her for her cheerful disposition and kindness. She herself believes that in the whole city she has only two enemies - the recluse of the Roland Tower, who for some reason hates gypsies, and some priest who constantly persecutes her. With the help of a tambourine, Esmeralda teaches her goat tricks, and there is no witchcraft in them - it took only two months to teach her to add the word "Phoebus". The archdeacon becomes extremely agitated - and on the same day he hears his brother Jehan friendly calling the captain of the royal riflemen by name. He follows the young rakes into the tavern. Phoebus gets drunk a little less than the schoolboy, since he has an appointment with Esmeralda. The girl is so in love that she is ready to sacrifice even an amulet - since she has Phoebus, why does she need a father and mother? The captain begins to kiss the gypsy, and at this moment she sees a dagger raised above him. The face of the hated priest appears in front of Esmeralda: she loses consciousness - waking up, she hears from all sides that the witch had stabbed the captain.
A month passes. Gringoire and the Court of Wonders are in great alarm - Esmeralda has disappeared. Once Pierre sees a crowd at the Palace of Justice - he is told that the devil who killed the soldier is on trial. The gypsy stubbornly denies everything, despite the evidence - a demonic goat and a demon in a priest's cassock, whom many witnesses have seen. But she does not stand the torture with the Spanish boot - she confesses to witchcraft, prostitution and the murder of Phoebus de Chateaupera. According to the totality of these crimes, she is sentenced to repentance at the portal of Notre Dame Cathedral, and then to be hanged. The goat should be subjected to the same execution. Claude Frollo comes to the casemate, where Esmeralda is looking forward to death. He begs her on his knees to run with him: she turned his life upside down, before meeting her he was happy - innocent and pure, lived only by science and fell, seeing a wondrous beauty not created for human eyes. Esmeralda rejects both the love of the hated priest and the salvation offered by him. In response, he angrily shouts that Phoebus is dead. However, Phoebus survived, and the light-haired Fleur-de-Lys once again settled in his heart. On the day of the execution, the lovers coo gently, looking curiously out the window - the jealous bride will be the first to recognize Esmeralda. The gypsy, seeing the beautiful Phoebus, falls unconscious: at that moment she is picked up in the arms of Quasimodo and rushes to the Cathedral shouting "refuge". The crowd greets the hunchback with enthusiastic cries - this roar reaches the Place de Grève and the Roland Tower, where the hermit does not take her eyes from the gallows. The victim escaped into the church.
Esmeralda lives in the Cathedral, but cannot get used to the terrible hunchback. Not wanting to annoy her with his ugliness, the deaf man blows her a whistle - he is able to hear this sound. And when the archdeacon attacks the gypsy woman, Quasimodo almost kills him in the dark - only the ray of the month saves Claude, who begins to be jealous of Esmeralda's ugly bell ringer. At his instigation, Gringoire raises the Court of Wonders - beggars and thieves storm the Cathedral, wanting to save the gypsy. Quasimodo desperately defends his treasure - young Jean Frollo dies from his hand. Meanwhile, Gringoar'taicom takes Esmeralda out of the Cathedral and involuntarily hands her over to Claude - he carries her to Greve Square, where he offers his love for the last time. There is no salvation: the king himself, having learned about the riot, ordered to find and hang the sorceress. The gypsy woman recoils from Claude in horror, and then he drags her to the Roland Tower - the recluse, sticking out her hand from behind the bars, grabs the unfortunate girl tightly, and the priest runs after the guards. Esmeralda begs to let her go, but Pucketta Chantfleury only laughs viciously in response - the gypsies have stolen her daughter from her, let their offspring also die now. She shows the girl the embroidered shoe of her daughter - in Esmeralda's amulet, it is exactly the same. The recluse almost loses her mind with joy - she has found her child, although she has already lost all hope. Too late, the mother and daughter remember the danger: Pucketta tries to hide Esmeralda in her cell, but in vain - the girl is dragged to the gallows, In the last desperate impulse, the mother digs her teeth into the executioner's hand - she is thrown away, and she falls dead. From the height of the Cathedral, the archdeacon looks at the Greve Square. Quasimodo, who had already suspected Claude of kidnapping Esmeralda, sneaks after him and recognizes the gypsy - a noose is put on her neck. When the executioner jumps on the girl's shoulders, and the body of the executed woman begins to beat in terrible convulsions, the priest's face is distorted with laughter - Quasimodo does not hear him, but he sees a satanic grin, in which there is already nothing human. And he pushes Claude into the abyss. Esmeralda on the gallows, and the archdeacon prostrated at the foot of the tower - that was all that the poor hunchback loved.