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Contrasting the Court of Miracles and Notre-Dame

Contrasting the Court of Miracles and Notre-Dame

“No one had yet remarked, in the gallery of royal statues…, a strange looking specter who until then had been observing all that passed… All at once, at the moment that the chief executer’s two assistants were preparing to execute,… he strided up to the two sub-executioners, knocked them down, carried off the gipsy girl, and leapt at one bound into the church, lifting the girl above his head and cried out in a formidable voice, ‘Sanctuary!'”

Notre-Dame, an intimidating edifice in the heart of fifteenth century Paris, bears many different faces for those residing in and near it. Quasimodo, the deformed bell ringer dwells in the church after being adopted by the archdeacon, Claude Frollo, when the hunchback was an infant. The empathetic monster lives in complete servitude to Frollo, his savior, and spends his days ringing his beloved bells which repay his altruism by causing him to go deaf. The highly adept archdeacon, Claude Frollo, also resides within the walls of Notre-Dame, and after filling his head with every piece of knowledge he can find, he begins to dedicate his life to alchemy.

The two men, besides their relationship and common habitat, have one other item in common. They both have fallen in love with La Esmeralda, a compassionate, orphaned gipsy girl who earns her living on the streets with her fluid dancing and droll tricks her goat, and best friend, Djali performs. Quasimodo’s love is pure and fresh and he lives in awe of La Esmeralda after she offers him a drink of water when the townspeople deny him this request while he is being tortured as punishment for the sole crime of being deaf and not understanding the judge. Frollo’s…

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…ts walls are not as strong as the building. The archdeacon, Claude Frollo, a holy man, gives way to the sin of the flesh and tries to rape as well as kill La Esmeralda. Phoebus, a man who worships God within it’s walls, single-handedly could save La Esmeralda’s life, but chooses not to because of his own vanity. The entire town closes its eyes to the truth, and condemns an innocent girl to death without any proof, just for the fact that she is different from them.

The structures of the Court of Miracles and the Cathedral of Notre-Dame are very different structures. Notre-Dame is a symbol of strength and God while the Court of Miracles represents the filth of the Earth. Yet, as Hugo’s theme suggests, one cannot judge places, or men, by their appearances and the Court of Miracles proves to be the stronghold, while Notre-Dame houses the iniquity of the city.

Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Viewed from the outside, a more horrific being never lived. Everything he presented to the world: twisted legs, a deformed spine, oversized hands, and a monocled visage crowned by a mane of hair the rust color of autumn leaves, made him a most insufferable man in the eyes of the people. Ostracized from a society who never hesitated to jeer at his ugliness, Quasimodo, the monster of Notre Dame, bore all abuse with unremitting stoicism while taking shelter behind the walls of his refuge

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