What are the characteristics of Esmeralda and Phoebus in The Hunchback of Notre Dame?


In short, Esmeralda embodies freedom, empathy, and non-conformity. She is a nomadic outsider who is considered an illegal and beneath even the common poor. Lowest of the low. And, yet, she shows only kindness and compassion to Quasimodo and others who are wronged. Perhaps it is because she knows this feeling of being an outsider all too well. She rebels against the law of the land in exchange for her own moral code. She puts people above the law, something Frollo does not do. She is everything that Quasimodo wants in life: freedom, adventure, kindness, independent etc. This is probably why he falls in love with her immediately. Esmeralda, although kind and compassionate, does have a bit of a distaste and short-temper when it comes to the upper-class nobility. She is extremely untrusting and hesitant to open herself up to other people because she has been cheated before. This is why she is extremely skeptical of Phoebus's intentions towards her when he begins to show a romantic interest. It isn't until she sees Phoebus's ability to change for the better that she too opens herself up to change her opinion of him and others. Living life on the run could definitely cause some trust issues and a need for distance. Although she is kind and empathetic, she certainly lacks a certain connection because she has had to close herself off in order to protect herself. However, in the end, despite witnessing first hand some of the horrors that others can commit, she still takes an idealistic and empathetic perspective and Quasimodo's and Phoebus's capacity for change inspires her to open her heart to them both. Although she falls in love with Phoebus romantically, she certainly falls in love with Quasimodo in a more platonic way. In the end, she increases her capacity for love by fulfilling her want for a trustworthy companion/partner.

As for Phoebus, he actually starts out as the complete opposite. He is Captain of the law of the land. He represents lawfulness, safety, and self-absorbed ignorance. Phoebus starts out more like an anti-hero. He fights and works only to fulfill his personal wants and desires, he does not look past his own needs. He doesn't really have a strong moral code like Esmeralda. It isn't until he falls in love with Esmeralda that he begins to open himself up to the harsh truth that he is perpetuating a society built on unjust hierarchies and discrimination. Once Esmeralda is put into harm's way, he begins to understand personally the kind of loss that many of the lower-class citizens have been experiencing. Phoebus starts off extremely traditional, like Frollo, but what differentiates him from Frollo is his willingness to change and admit his wrongs. Frollo has a clear set of morals and goals and he openly discriminates. Phoebus, on the other hand, is simply guilty of being a man of his time. It was not until he experienced true love that he actually began to understand how weak he was for standing idly by while millions of people are in disarray. However, by the end of his character arc, he symbolizes something nobler: redemption, capacity for change within a close-minded culture, and justice. From only servicing himself to becoming a servant to others in need, Phoebus goes from using his title as Captain to benefit himself, to truly earning that title by becoming a defender of the people.

Updated on August 12, 2018

Original Article:

By Jacob Holmquist-Franco

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)