The Hunchback of Notre Dame, by Victor Hugo

The Hunchback of Notre Dame, by Victor Hugo

Book Summary

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a Gothic novel written by acclaimed French author Victor Hugo and first published in 1831. Set in 15th-century Paris, the plot centers on the tragic love between the gypsy Esmeralda and the hunchback Quasimodo, who lives in the towers of Notre Dame Cathedral.


Victor Hugo’s masterpiece, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, is a story of love, sorrow, and redemption, exploring profound themes such as social injustice, fate, and the pursuit of truth. Through its captivating narrative, Hugo immerses us in medieval Paris and introduces us to a gallery of unforgettable characters.


The story follows Quasimodo, a deaf and disfigured hunchback who lives in Notre Dame Cathedral under the care of Archdeacon Frollo. Despite his appearance, Quasimodo has a kind heart, and his life changes when he meets Esmeralda, a beautiful gypsy whom he deeply falls in love with.

Meanwhile, Frollo, obsessed with Esmeralda, attempts to kidnap her and frame Captain Phoebus, who is also in love with the gypsy. The plot becomes even more complex when Quasimodo intervenes to save Esmeralda from Frollo’s grasp.



The hunchback and protagonist of the story. Despite his grotesque appearance, he possesses a kind heart and a deep love for Esmeralda.


A beautiful gypsy and the object of affection for Quasimodo, Frollo, and Phoebus. She is noble, brave, and fights for justice in a world full of prejudice.

Claude Frollo

The archdeacon of Notre Dame, a man of great intelligence but also dark passions. His obsession with Esmeralda leads him to commit terrible acts.

Captain Phoebus

A handsome soldier who also falls in love with Esmeralda, although his intentions are more superficial than Quasimodo’s.


The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a portrayal of medieval society, with its inequalities and prejudices. The story highlights how appearances can be deceptive and how true love goes beyond physical beauty. Through its characters, Victor Hugo reflects on morality, religion, and the pursuit of truth, questioning the hypocrisy of a society that marginalizes the most vulnerable.


Marianne Dubois (March 22, 2023): One of the most moving works I’ve read. The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a call for empathy and the fight against social injustice. The characters and setting are unforgettable.

Pierre Lefevre (April 8, 2023): The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a timeless classic that delves into the complexity of the human being and their passions. The story of Quasimodo and Esmeralda is an example of how love can transcend the barriers of appearance and discrimination.

Isabelle Moreau (April 15, 2023): Victor Hugo is a master of narrative and drama in this work. The Hunchback of Notre Dame made me cry and reflect on the human condition and the importance of empathy towards others. A must-read for everyone.

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