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MonkeyNotes-The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo
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Chapters 31 and 32

Summary

While Jehan is hidden, the visitor, Master Jacques Charmolue, comes in and speaks to Claude. He is a proctor for the king. The two men discuss sorcery and alchemy, and the inevitable accusations and prosecutions of those accused of wrongdoing. Claude tells the visitor to convict a sorcerer named Marc Cecaine but to ignore the accusations of sorcery against La Esmeralda.

After the proctor departs, Jehan emerges from his hiding place. Pleased that he has received money from his brother, he happily descends the winding stairs of the tower. At the bottom of the stairs, he joins his friend -- Phoebus. The two laugh about La Esmeralda. Claude, overhearing their conversation, is furious with his brother and the callous captain.


Notes

It is clear that the manipulative Claude Frollo is using his association with the King to try and influence politics for his own benefit. He has called the King’s proctor to his chamber in order to direct his thinking. Since the proctor arrives during Jehan’s visit, the priest wants his brother to hide so that he can talk privately with the proctor. Since the King and his advisors have the discretion of torturing and punishing suspects for sorcery, the priest wants to make certain that La Esmeralda is spared. He instructs the proctor to convict a sorcerer named Marc Cecaine but to leave the gypsy woman alone.

After the proctor leaves, Jehan emerges from hiding. He is delighted to have extorted money from his brother and leaves happily. It is surprising that Phoebus is the good friend of Jehan and is waiting for him to emerge from the cathedral. This strange friendship serves to complicate the main plot further. Phoebus’ friendship with the worthless Jehan also indicates that he leads a dual existence, for in public he presents himself as an upright member of the upper echelons of society.

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