Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version
Chapters 6, 7, and 8
Pierre Gringoire makes his actors continue with the performance of his play even as the crowd sets out for the procession for the Pope of Fools; but soon there is another interruption. La Esmeralda, a street dancer, enters and disrupts the performance. Finally giving up in frustration, Gringoire leaves the Great Hall at dusk. Lost in his own thoughts, he walks along the obscure and quiet streets of Paris, approaching the Place de Grève. The failure of his first dramatic effort weighs heavily on him.
Although La Esmeralda causes a catastrophe for Gringoire, her appearance in the novel is very important. As the plot unfolds, La Esmeralda greatly influences Gringoire’s life, and he has an important influence on her as well. For the moment, however, she creates another interruption in the play, causing Gringoire to finally give up in despair. As he leaves the Great Hall and wanders through the streets of Paris, he feels like a failure, for his first play has been very unsuccessful. Through much of the novel, Gringoire will appear as a pathetic person who is deceived by his own expectations, has difficulty facing the reality of the present, and struggles to find a place for himself in the world.
It is also significant that Hugo introduces the Place de Grève, which he describes in detail. It is the dark, foreboding place where people are hung. The Place de Grève is very significant, for it will be an important location in the novel where pivotal events take place.