The Hunchback of Notre-Dame: Top Ten Quotes

 

1. A description of Quasimodo upon his election as the fool's pope: "We shall not attempt to give the reader an idea of that tetrahedron nose-that horse-shoe mouth-that small left eye over-shadowed by a red bushy brow, while the right eye disappeared entirely under an enormous wart-of those straggling teeth with breaches here and there like the battlements of a fortress-of that horny lip, over which one of those teeth projected like the tusk of an elephant-of that forked chin-and, above all, of the expression diffused over the whole-that mixture of malice, astonishment, and melancholy. Let the reader, if he can, figure to himself this combination." (p. 62)
2. On the connection between architecture and culture: "When a man understands the art of seeing, he can trace the spirit of an age and the features of a king even in the knocker on a door." (p. 184)
3. Quasimodo's reaction to Esmeralda's gift of a drink of water while he is being heckled on the pillory: "Then from that eye, hitherto so dry and burning, was seen to roll a big tear, which fell slowly down that deformed visage so long contracted by despair. Perhaps it was the first that the unfortunate creature had ever shed." (p. 322)
4. Of Esmeralda's condition in the prison cell: "All was mingled, broken, floating, confusedly scattered in her thoughts. She no longer felt, no longer knew, no longer thought-at most, she only dreamed. Never had any living creature been plunged more deeply into annihilation." (p, 437)
5. The scene after Quasimodo rescues Esmeralda from being hanged: "A minute afterwards he appeared upon the upper platform, still bearing the gipsy [sic] in his arms, still running wildly along, still shouting 'Sanctuary!' and the crowd still applauding. At last he made a third appearance on the summit of the tower of the great bell. From thence he seemed to show exultingly to the whole city the fair creature he had saved; and his thundering voice, that voice which was heard so seldom, and which he never heard at all, thrice repeated with frantic vehemence, even in the very clouds, 'Sactuary! Sanctuary! Sanctuary!" (p. 477-8)
6. Frollo, after fleeing into the countryside to avoid Esmeralda's execution: "He stirred up from the bottom of his heart all his hatred, all his wickedness; and he discovered, with the cool eye of a physician examining a patient, that this hatred, this wickedness, were but vitiated love-that love, the source of every virtue in man, turned to things horrible in the heart of a priest-and that a man constituted as he was, by making himself a priest made himself a demon." (p. 482)
7. Quasimodo, explaining why he won't enter Esmeralda's cell: "The owl goes not into the nest of the lark." (p. 502)
8. King Louis XI commenting on the worth of his exotic pets: "Princes must have those wondrous animals. For dogs we kings should have lions, and for cats, tigers. The great benefits a crown . . . The kings of France have always had those roarings about their throne. Nevertheless, this justice will be done me-to admit that I spend less money in that way than my predecessors, and that I have a more moderate stock of lions, bears, elephants and leopards." (p. 589)
9. Esmeralda choosing death over the priest: "And with a hurried step-making her hurry too, for he never let go of her arm-he went straight up to the gibbet, and pointing to it, 'Choose between us,' he said coolly. She tore herself from his grasp, fell at the foot of the gibbett, and clasped that dismal supporter; then she half turned her beautiful head, and looked at the priest over her shoulder. She had the air of a Madonna at the foot of the cross. The priest had remained quite still, his finger still raised to the gibbet, and his gesture unchanged, like a statue. At length the gipsy girl said to him, 'It is less horrible to me than you are'." (p. 639)
10. After Esmeralda's execution: "Quasimodo then lifted his eye to look upon the gypsy girl, whose body, suspended from the gibbet, he beheld quivering afar, under its white robes, in the last struggles of death; then again he dropped it upon the archdeacon, stretched a shapeless mass at the foot of the tower, and he said with a sob that heaved his deep breast to the bottom, 'Oh-all that I've ever loved!" (p. 678)

 The Hunchback of Notre-Dame Study Guide

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