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MonkeyNotes-The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo
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Chapter 44

Summary

La Esmeralda comes to feel some peace in the tower even though she is haunted by thoughts of Phoebus. She regrets her confession for a crime she did not commit and longs to see Phoebus in order to tell him she did not stab him. At times she feels more cut off from the world than even Quasimodo. She also feels guilty that her gratitude to him is less than he deserves, but she cannot rise above her revulsion at his appearance.

One morning La Esmeralda looks out the window and sees Phoebus walking on the street below with Fleur de Lys. She calls out to him although he does not hear her. Quasimodo, however, hears her calls and is deeply hurt, thinking that Phoebus does not deserve La Esmeralda’s love just because he is beautiful. La Esmeralda asks Quasimodo to go to Phoebus and bring him to the tower. Quasimodo agrees, only because he loves her so much. He waits outside Phoebus’ house all day and night. When Phoebus finally comes outside, he responds to Quasimodo’s request to come to the tower by striking him. When Quasimodo returns to Notre-Dame, La Esmeralda comes to greet him with excitement; but her face falls when she sees that he has not brought Phoebus. She cruelly sends Quasimodo away.

Quasimodo begins to avoid La Esmeralda, hurt by her thoughtless disregard for him. La Esmeralda wonders why the hunchback has gone away. Just as she is beginning to grow alarmed for his welfare, she hears a sigh and sees Quasimodo asleep near her cell, guarding her.


Notes

La Esmeralda is not sensitive to Quasimodo’s feelings for her. She hurts him terribly when she calls out to Phoebus and then asks Quasimodo to bring Phoebus to the tower to see her. It is clear that La Esmeralda still loves the captain; but she also wants to convince him that she did not stab him, hoping to regain his love.

Even though he is hurt by La Esmeralda’s love for Phoebus, Quasimodo agrees to find him and bring him to the tower to see her. He waits outside Phoebus’ house all day and all night. When the captain finally comes outside, he callously strikes Quasimodo when he makes his request. Then when Quasimodo fails to bring Phoebus back to the tower, La Esmeralda is upset and cruelly sends the hunchback away.

Terribly hurt by La Esmeralda’s cruelty to him, Quasimodo stays away from her. La Esmeralda is genuinely concerned about his welfare and is relieved when she finds him outside her door, guarding her. She admits to herself that her gratitude is much less than what Quasimodo deserves.

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