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Hellfire! Dark fire! Now gypsy, it's your turn!
―Probably the most famous line[src]

"Hellfire" is a song from Disney's 1996 animated feature The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The song is sung by the film's main antagonist, Judge Claude Frollo. The song "Hellfire" was intended to contrast with the song "Heaven's Light", which was a song that was sung by Quasimodo moments earlier, expressing his feelings of love for Esmeralda, while Frollo sings of his lust for Esmeralda. There is dialogue interruption, in which one of his guards informs his boss about the gypsy's escape from the cathedral, and the judge vows to "burn down all of Paris," and the song resumes.

This song is considered to be one of the darkest songs in any Disney film, depicting Hell, damnation, the Catholic religion, and lust, examples of subject matter that would generally be considered inappropriate for younger children. This song and sequence alone prompted the ratings board of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to consider a PG rating for the film. The sequence contains also heavy visuals to match the lyrics, including provocative dancing from images of Esmeralda in the fire.

Synopsis

The song opens as Frollo overlooks the night-lit city from the balcony of the cathedral and sings that he is better than the other people in Paris. As he heads inside, he admits he is disturbed about his lustful feelings for Esmeralda, which he feels is turning him to sin, and prays to the virgin Mary for help. As he approaches his fireplace, he threatens to burn her if she will not be his mistress. Eventually, he passes out as night dawns upon him.

Lyrics

Archdeacon & Priests:
Confiteor Deo Omnipotenti (I confess to God almighty)
Beatae Mariae semper Virgini (To blessed Mary ever Virgin)
Beato Michaeli archangelo (To the blessed archangel Michael)
Sanctis apostolis omnibus sanctis (To the holy apostles, to all the saints)

Frollo:
Beata Maria, (Blessed Mary)
You know I am a righteous man
Of my virtue I am justly proud
Priests:
(Et tibi Pater (And to you, Father))
Frollo:
Beata Maria
You know I'm so much purer than
The common, vulgar, weak, licentious crowd
Priests:
(Quia peccavi nimis (That I have sinned))
Frollo:
Then tell me, Maria
Why I see her dancing there
Why her smold'ring eyes still scorch my soul
Priests:
(Cogitatione (In thought))
Frollo:
I feel her, I see her
The sun caught in her raven hair
Is blazing in me out of all control
Priests:
(Verbo et opere (In word and deed))

Frollo:
Like fire
Hellfire
This fire in my skin
This burning
Desire
Is turning me to sin

It's not my fault
(Mea culpa (Through my fault))
I'm not to blame
(Mea culpa (Through my fault))
It is the gypsy girl
The witch who sent this flame
(Mea maxima culpa (Through my most griveous fault))
It's not my fault
(Mea culpa (Through my fault))
If in God's plan
(Mea culpa (Through my fault))
He made the devil so much
Stronger than a man
(Mea maxima culpa (Through my most grievious fault))
Protect me, Maria
Don't let the siren cast her spell
Don't let her fire sear my flesh and bone
Destroy Esmeralda
And let her taste the fires of Hell!
Or else let her be mine and mine alone

(song pauses, guard knocks on the door)
Guard: Minister Frollo, the gypsy has escaped.
Frollo: (speaking) What?
Guard: She's nowhere in the cathedral.
She's gone.
Frollo: But how? I... Never mind. Get out, you idiot! I'll find her! I'll find her if I have to burn down all of Paris!

(song resumes) Hellfire
Dark fire
Now gypsy, it's your turn
Choose me or
Your pyre
Be mine or you will burn
(Kyrie Eleison (Lord have mercy))
God have mercy on her
(Kyrie Eleison (Lord have mercy))
God have mercy on me
(Kyrie Eleison (Lord have mercy))
But she will be mine
Or she will burn!

Detail of the French version

The possible translation is in Italics.

Beata Maria, je clame que mon âme est pure…

Beata Maria, I claim that my soul is pure…

De ma vertu, j'ai droit d'être fier.

Of my virtue, I am in right to be proud.

Beata Maria, mon cœur a bien plus de droiture

Beata Maria, my heart contains much more righteousness

Qu'une commune vulgaire foule de traine-misères !

Than a common vulgar crowd of paupers !

Mais pourquoi, Maria, quand elle dance, l'insolente,

But why, Maria, when she dances, this impertinent girl,

Ses yeux de feu m'embrasent et me hantent ?

Do her fire-eyes scorch me and haunt me ?

Quelle brûlure ! Quelle torture !

What a burning ! What a torture !

Les flammes de sa chevelure

The flames of her hair

Dévorent mon corps d'obscènes flétrissures !

Devour my body with obscene stains !

Infernalle bacchanale !

Infernal bacchanalia !

L'Enfer noircit ma chair…

Hell is darkening my flesh…

Du pêché de désir,

Of the sin of desire,

Le Ciel doit me punir !

Heaven must punish me !


Est-ce ma faute ? Pourquoi ce blâme ?

Is it my fault ? Why this blame ? 

C'est cette sorcière gitane

It is this gypsy witch 

Pour qui mon cœur s'enflamme !

For whom my heart ignite !

Est-ce ma faute

Is it my fault

Si notre Père

If our Father

A fait les hommes moint puissants que Lucifer ?

Has made men less powerful than Lucifer ?

Par pitié, Maria !

Have mercy, Maria !

Protèges-moi du mauvais sort, 

Protect me from the evil spell, 

De cette fleur du mal et de son corps !

From this flower of evil and from her body !


Détruis Esméralda,

Destroy Esmeralda,

Qu'un rideau de feu soit son linceul !

And may a sheet of flames be her shroud !

Ou faites qu'elle soit à moi et à moi seul… 

Or make her mine and mine alone…


[spoken]Je la trouverai, je l'aurai, même si je dois brûler tout Paris !

[spoken] I'll find her, I'll get her, even if I have to burn all of Paris !


Infernale bacchanale ! Diabolique sorcière !

Infernal bacchanalia ! Demonical witch !

Sois mienne ou

Be mine or 

Ma passion

My passion

Te mènera en Enfer !

Will lead you to Hell !

Seigneur, pitié pour elle…

My Lord, have mercy on her…

Seigneur, pitié pour… moi…

My Lord, have mercy on… me…

Fais qu'elle s'offre à moi,

Make that she offers herself to me,

Ou elle mourra !

Or she will die !

Disney Parks

Hellfire has become a track commonly associated with Disney Villains as an instrumental in various Disney park shows, such as in World of Color, the Tokyo DisneySea version of Fantasmic!, and in fireworks shows such as Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams, and HalloWishes.

Reception

"Hellfire" was received quite well, and had few haters. It is still considered to be one of the darkest songs in any Disney film, depicting Hell, damnation, the Catholic religion, and lust, examples of subject matter that would generally be considered inappropriate for younger children. This song and sequence alone prompted the ratings board of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to consider a PG rating for the film.

Trivia

  • The hooded priests sing 'mea culpa' meaning 'that's my fault', to answer to Frollo's "That's not my fault".
  • The priests are singing the beginning of the Confiteor (in Latin), a portion of the Penitential Rite of the Catholic Mass where the people confess their sins and ask for forgiveness.
  • In the start of the song, Frollo claims himself to be righteous. Ironically, he sets fire to Paris the very next day.
  • Despite Frollo claiming to be a righteous man, he displays some form of all Seven Deadly Sins in the lyrics of the song. This was likely done intentionally to show his hypocritical way of thinking.
    • The lines Of my virtue I am justly proud and You know I'm so much purer than the common, vulgar, weak, licentious crowd show him displaying Pride, considered the most dangerous of the seven, as it is often used to justify the other 6 deadly sins, or even deny committing them in the first place. This is displayed frequently in the song, and the film as a whole, and could be considered the first he has committed.
    • Frollo's intense desire for Esmeralda to be his and his alone show Lust, Envy and Greed.
      • Lust as the intense sexual desire for Esmeralda, especially her body alone.
      • Envy towards anyone else who may gain her affections.
      • Greed for seeing her merely as an item to be gained, and wanting her intensely even though he doesn't actually need her.
    • His intent to destroy her if she does not comply is an example of Anger/Wrath.
    • Frollo claiming it is not his fault he is sinning, and blaming Esmeralda for tempting him can be seen as an act of Sloth, as he is not taking the initiative to better himself, nor taking responsibility for his own sins.
    • Gluttony is sometimes interpreted as Selfishness, displayed when Frollo says he will burn down all of Paris (despite what it would do to the innocents of the city) to get to Esmeralda.

Gallery

Wiki
The Disney Wiki has a collection of images and media related to Hellfire.

External Links

v - e - d
The-hunchback-of-notre-dame-logo
Media
Films: The Hunchback of Notre DameThe Hunchback of Notre Dame IIVideo

Television: House of MouseEsmeralda
Video games: The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Topsy TurvyKingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
Music: SoundtrackStudio Cast Recording
Books: Big Golden BookClassic StorybookDisney's Wonderful World of Reading

Disney Parks
Disney Animation BuildingStitch and Friends Summer Surprise

Entertainment: Animazment - The MusicalDisney Classics: The Music & The MagicOne Man's Dream II: The Magic Lives On!Mickey's Gift of DreamsThe Golden MickeysThe Hunchback of Notre Dame: A Musical AdventureThe Hunchback of Notre Dame: Festival of Fools
Restaurants: Clopin's Festival of Foods
Parade: The Hunchback of Notre Dame Topsy Turvy Cavalcade
Firework: Disney Dreams!Happily Ever AfterWorld of Color
Halloween: Happy HallowishesIt's Good To Be Bad With The Disney VillainsRe-Villains! Halloween ParadeThe Disney Villains Halloween ShowtimeVillains Mix and MingleVillains Night Out! Chapter 2

Characters
Original: QuasimodoEsmereldaClaude FrolloPhoebusVictor, Hugo, and LaverneClopinArchdeaconAchillesDjaliQuasimodo's motherQuasimodo's fatherOld PrisonerSnowballBrutish and Oafish GuardFrollo's soldiers

Sequel: MadellaineZephyrSarousch

Songs
Original: The Bells of Notre DameOut ThereTopsy TurvyHumiliationGod Help the OutcastsThe Bell TowerHeaven's LightHellfireParis BurningA Guy Like YouThe Court of MiraclesSanctuaryAnd He Shall Smite the WickedInto the SunlightSomeday

Sequel: Le Jour D'AmourAn Ordinary MiracleI'd Stick With YouFa la la la Fallen In LoveI'm Gonna Love You
Musical: Balancing ActRest and RecreationRhythm of the TambourineInto Notre DameTop of the WorldThai Mol PiyasEsmeraldaCity Under SiegeFlight Into EgyptOut of Love (Reprise) • Dance of the GypsiesMade of StoneGrand Finale
Deleted Songs: In a Place of MiraclesAs Long As There's a MoonSomeday

Locations
ParisNotre Dame de ParisPalace of JusticeCourt of Miracles
Miscellaneous
MusicalDisney Sing Along Songs: Topsy TurvyThe Making of The Hunchback of Notre Dame