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MonkeyNotes-The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo
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Chapter 34

Summary

Groping around in the closet, Claude Frollo finds a hole through which he can look. He sees Phoebus greet La Esmeralda with a kiss. He then listens to the gypsy as she confesses her love for Phoebus and her desire to lose her virtue with him. Although Phoebus says he loves her, he laughs at her when she speaks of marrying him. When La Esmeralda shows that she is clearly hurt by Phoebus’ laughter, he grabs her and kisses her.

In the closet, Claude Frollo is beside himself with agitation. When he sees Phoebus kiss La Esmeralda with passion, he can stand it no longer. He jumps out of the closet and stabs his adversary. La Esmeralda faints with shock and fear. When she wakes, Phoebus lies in a pool of blood, and Frollo has vanished. Soon everyone is talking about how the sorceress stabbed the captain.


Notes

La Esmeralda becomes a sympathetic character in this chapter. With the naivete of a child, she confesses her love for Phoebus and her desire to marry him. Phoebus openly laughs at the suggestion of marriage, for he considers himself far above La Esmeralda in every way. He is still, however, interested in possessing her. When he kisses her with passion, Frollo, who is still listening and watching from the closet, can stand it no longer. He jumps out and stabs Phoebus. When La Esmeralda faints, the despicable Frollo drops the knife and vanishes, leaving La Esmeralda as the suspect of the stabbing.

By the end of the chapter, the true characters of Phoebus, La Esmeralda, and Claude Frollo have been clearly established. Phoebus is a cruel and self-centered cad who is attracted to La Esmeralda for her beauty and thinks nothing of trying to take advantage of her. La Esmeralda proves herself to be a naïve and romantic young woman who is unaware of her great beauty and easily becomes a victim of more sophisticated and calculating people. Claude Frollo proves that he has a totally dark heart and vile soul as he stabs Phoebus out of jealousy and leaves La Esmeralda to be charged with the crime. His behavior is particularly despicable since he is a religious official - an ordained priest.

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