The Hunchback of Notre-Dame: Novel Summary: Book VIII Analysis
A great deal of plot development occurs in this section. The intracacies of Claude Frollo's scheme to ensnare Esmeralda become apparent when the king's attorney uses the signs revealed to the priest by Gringoire in order to make the goat perform seemingly magical tricks. Frollo's plan to make Esmeralda suffer until she agrees to love him reaches its fruition when he witnesses her torture and though he suffers he uses her incarceration as an opportunity to confess his love. As long as she believes that Phoebus is dead, however, she insists that she would prefer death as well. When she sees him, however, and he spurns her cries the full weight of her tragic situation overcomes her and she collapses. Phoebus' recovery is the first flaw in Frollo's plan but does not prevent it from moving forward. Quasimodo's intervention on Esmeralda's behalf, however, serves to confound his master's machinations and sets the stage for a conflict between the social outcasts - hunchback and the priest even as Esmeralda's fate lies hanging in the balance.