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MonkeyNotes-The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo
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Chapter 57

Summary

According to custom, La Esmeralda’s body is removed from the rope and carried to Montfaucon, an ancient burial place outside the city. Montfaucon is composed of a vast vault, closed by an iron gate, into which the bodies of those who are executed are tossed. It is a dark and gloomy place where only the lowest people are laid to rest.

About two years after La Esmeralda’s death, King Charles VIII orders the body of Oliver le Daim, an executed criminal, to be removed from Montfaucon and given burial in a better cemetery. When the soldiers go to retrieve his body, they find an unusual sight. Two skeletons are bound in eternal embrace. One is a female, dressed in faded white and wearing the remains of a small sack around her neck. The other is a twisted skeleton with a shrunken spine and asymmetrical bones--clearly a deformed man. The soldiers make an attempt to separate the skeletons. When they touch the bones of the hunchback, he crumbles to dust and falls away.


Notes

With tragic and romantic flair, Hugo’s plot comes to completion in the final chapter of the novel. Quasimodo, who has been missing since La Esmeralda’s death, is finally located. His deformed skeleton is found entwined with the skeleton of La Esmeralda within the vault at Montfaucon, eternally united with the one he loved best in life.

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