The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

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The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

“Love is a universal language.” This popular quote

from many movies and literary works describes the importance

of love, and how there are no limits or barriers when

dealing with love. Many people cannot even help whether or

not they fall in love. There are many types of love and

they need not be between members of opposite sexes. In

Victor Hugo's novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame,

Quasimodo's love for Esmerelda is not as strong as his

different sense of love for the Archdeacon, Claude Frollo.

Quasimodo loves each person in a different manner, but is

truer to the Archdeacon.

The hunchback feels, among other things, a love

described as Eros for the Mistress Esmerelda; whereas, for

the Archdeacon the love he feels is known as Philia. While

Quasimodo is drawn to Esmerelda by her inner beauty and

personal qualities, he admires the Archdeacon for his

powerful position in the social structure of the town.

Throughout the story, Quasimodo does his best to protect

Esmerelda. Contrarily, he is protected by the Archdeacon.

There are four types of love, only one of which involves a

man's physical love for a woman and vice versa. This type

of love is known as Eros. It is defined as a relationship

in which two parties are physically attracted to one

another. Esmerelda, the gypsy, is quite beautiful. She

dances in the midst of a crowd near a bonfire: “All eyes

were fixed on her, all mouths hung open. As she danced to

the rhythm of the tambourine which her round, delicate arms

held over her head, she seemed to be some sort of

supernatural creature(p.22). Quasimodo is taken by her

loveliness just like most other men. However, because he is

deformed and hideous, Quasimodo's physical attraction to the

Mistress is unrequited. Nevertheless, this attraction is

uncontrollable. Although he never acts upon his urges nor

openly displays his affection, the hunchback feels the type

of love called Eros for Esmerelda. Accordingly, he feels a

different kind of love for the Archdeacon: Philia. Just as

Eros as love stems from physical factors, Philia is a result

of external factors. The Archdeacon is a man of God. He is

considered the religious authority in Paris. Quasimodo

resides in the Notre Dame Cathedral. He takes a great

interest in God, and apparently shares this interest with

the Arc...

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... priest's company and leadership. Quasimodo

continues to show gratitude by obeying every command given

to him by the Archdeacon. When the Archdeacon decides that

Esmerelda should hang, even though Quasimodo loves her he

could not defy the priest's command: he sat quietly by and

awaited the hanging. It is clear that this love stems from

the protection of the Archdeacon through Quasimodo's early

years of life. This also exposes the fact that Quasimodo's

respect and obedience to the Archdeacon outweighs his

feelings for Esmerelda.

Throughout the story by Victor Hugo, Quasimodo shows

love to both Esmerelda, a beautiful gypsy, and to Claude

Frollo, the Archdeacon that took the hunchback into his

custody. Two types of love displayed are Eros, to the

Mistress, and Philia, toward Frollo. Quasimodo's protection

of Esmerelda is seen inversely through his relationship with

the Archdeacon. The Archdeacon and Esmerelda have diverse

qualities that evoke separate types of love from Quasimodo.

In the end, the bell ringer's relationship with Frollo

supercedes his emotions towards the Mistress. The Philial

and brotherly love triumphs over unrequited erotic love.
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