Quasimodo is the main protagonist of Disney's 1996 animated film The Hunchback of Notre Dame and its sequel. Quasimodo was born deformed, primarily known for his hunched back, of which the film takes its name from. In spite of his ghastly appearance, Quasimodo is naïve and kind-hearted, and knows little of the world outside his belltower home; of which he was forbidden to leave from.
Despite his appearance, Quasimodo is a kind and gentle person. He was also curious and trusting, enough so that he was naive to the true nature of his master, Judge Frollo until he was in his early twenties. Even when Frollo taught Quasimodo that gypsies such as Esmeralda were evil, Quasimodo was not particularly violent towards them. He also seems to have an attachment to Notre Dame, as he didn't leave even after he was accepted into society.
His devotion to his master almost proved to be his undoing, as it has almost caused him to abandon his friends and allies at one time.
He can also show violence towards his enemies, particularly when they were threatening his friends and allies, especially Esmeralda.
On a side note, Quasimodo is a talented artist, able to carve miniature figurines and toys, a scale wooden model of Paris and the Cathedral itself, and crafted a decoration of hung pieces/shards of stained glass. Quasimodo likely developed his skills in handicraft as a hobby or to make his life isolated in the belltower more bearable. Finally, Quasimodo, despite his appearance, is a very agile acrobat, able to quickly move across rooftops, scale buildings, rope-swing, and climb large structures with little difficulty. He likely made a habit of climbing and scaling the cathedral to better observe the world from which his master forbade him from ever entering, and to see the free people, envying them for being able to live as they do.
Due to his duty to ring the bells of Notre Dame, Quasimodo possesses extreme physical strength. One of the first instances of this abnormal physical strength was him being able to lift the fully armored Pheobus up off his feet with no notable effort when Pheobus entered the bell tower in search of Esmeralda. More so, perhaps the most impressive feats we see of Quasimodo was his ability to break free of the chains which held him in the bell tower when Frollo was preparing to execute Esmeralda.
Quasimodo first appeared as a baby (whose face is not seen, but is described by Frollo to be a "monster") being carried by his mother. His mother and father were gypsies and they were secretly entering Paris through the waterways. Judge Claude Frollo, believing that they had stolen something, stood in their way and gave chase to Quasimodo's mother when she ran, and he delivered a kick on the steps of Notre Dame that killed her. When he discovered that the bundle she had been carrying was actually a baby, he planned to drown Quasimodo upon seeing that he was deformed. However, the Archdeacon of Notre Dame commanded him not to murder the baby. Frollo was then ordered to adopt Quasimodo as his own to make up for his sin of killing an innocent woman.
Quasimodo was raised by Frollo in the bell tower of Notre Dame. However, he was trapped there, and was led to believe by Frollo that his mother abandoned him. He always longed to be free, despite making three friends in the form of gargoyles, Hugo, Laverne, and Victor. They persuade him to go against Frollo's strict orders never to leave the tower and Quasimodo attends the Festival of Fools.
At the festival, he meets the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda. He instantly falls in love with her. She drags him up on the stage for a competition to see who can pull the ugliest face after removing their masks, presuming his deformed face to be a disguise. Once up on the stage Frollo sees him and realizes his disobedience. The crowd turns from cheering to tormenting Quasimodo and ties him down and throw rotten fruit and eggs at him.
Esmeralda stands up for him and calls for justice. Frollo is furious with his charge. Quasimodo befriends Esmerelda and helps her escape from Notre Dame where she sought escape from Frollo's guards.
Quasimodo offered sanctuary to an injured Phoebus and Esmeralda who saved him from drowning in the river. He watches as the two lovers kiss right in front of his eyes. He is heartbroken, but when he hears Frollo coming, he can do nothing but push thoughts of Esmeralda to the back of his mind. He hides Phoebus and quickly tries to hide what has happened from Frollo. Frollo however knows that he helped Esmeralda and announces that he will attack the Court of Miracles with 1,000 men.
Together with Phoebus, Quasimodo makes his way to the Court of Miracles to warn Esmeralda and the other gypsies of Frollo's intentions. However, Frollo secretly follows Quasimodo and captures Esmeralda, Phoebus, and the other gypsies. He orders to his guards that Quasimodo to be chained up in Notre Dame looking down on the square below. He breaks free and swings down to save Esmeralda as she is being burned for witchcraft. He saves her life and calls for sanctuary!
Judge Frollo tries to kill Quasimodo, but in a final battle, Frollo falls from the top of Notre Dame to his death, but not before he reveals to Quasimodo that his mother died trying to save him. Quasimodo also falls, but is saved by Phoebus. Ultimately Quasimodo is free from Frollo's hold over him and he is free to live a normal, happy life. In the end Quasimodo is hailed as a hero for his heroic efforts and the crowd of people pick him up and take him away cheering for him.
Taking place several years after the original film, Quasimodo is now an accepted part of Parisian society, free to interact with the public; however, he continues living in Notre Dame with Victor, Hugo, and Laverne, and serve as the cathedral's bellringer. As the city prepares for La Jour de Amour, which is a festival celebrating romance, Quasimodo, although excited, feels a bit uneven. Unlike everyone else, Quasimodo has no love interest to celebrate the festival alongside. Esmeralda, who now acts as Quasimodo's confidant, reassures him that someone out there will cross paths with him when he's truly ready. Setting the grief aside, Quasimodo begins to prepare the Notre Dame bell, La Fidèle.
Meanwhile, the circus arrives in the city with a secretly villainous ringmaster, Sarousch and his cohort Madellaine. Sarousch plans on stealing La Fidèle and orders Madellaine to convince the Notre Dame bell ringer to reveal it to her. Once he does, she is to tell him the location so that he may steal it. Inside, Madellaine wants no part of Sarousch's scheme but must obey or suffer the harsh world alone. Inside Notre Dame, she speaks with Quasimodo, who's hiding under a bell to prevent her from seeing his face. The two become fairly comfortable with each another but when Madellaine finally sees his face, she runs away in terror, leaving Quasimodo depressed. Even though their time was brief, Quasi begins to develop feelings for her. Hugo, Victor, and Laverne advise Quasimodo to head over to the circus, which he decides to do.
He meets up with Esmeralda, Phoebus, and their son Zephyr, and they all head for the circus together. After the performance, Madellaine is again ordered to get La Fidèle's whereabouts. However, she notices Quasimodo and Zephyr's close relationship and realizes that he is a wonderful person inside. Quasimodo and Madellaine head off on a tour through the city, falling in love during the process. The next day, Quasi feels odd and goes to Esmeralda for help. She easily realizes he's in love and advises him to tell her the truth. Just then, Phoebus arrives openly blaming the circus for the sudden robberies going on throughout the city. Quasimodo takes up for Madellaine who he feels is different but Pheobus is not convinced. Quasimodo storms out.
Back at the circus, Sarousch forces Madellaine to lure Quasimodo out of Notre Dame so that he may make his move on La Fidèle. Madellaine tries to reject the demand but Sarousch threatens to murder Quasimodo unless she cooperates. Quasimodo feels it's time to ask Madellaine the truth about their relationship and leaves with her for a walk. During their absence, Sarousch tricks Pheobus into believing Madellaine is the mastermind behind the thefts and some of his goons steal the bell successfully. When Quasimodo and Madallaine return, Pheobus orders Madellaine arrested for the thefts which leaves Quasimodo feeling betrayed and heartbroken. Inside Notre Dame, Hugo, Victor, and Laverne inform Quasimodo about the robbery, and that Zephyr followed Sarousch. Quasimodo, Esmeralda, Pheobus, and a captive Madellaine, make their way to Sarousch.
Quasimodo and the others venture into the dark catacombs. They encounter Djali, who takes them to Sarousch and Zephyr. Sarousch forces Phoebus and the guards into opening the gate to allow his raft through by using Zephyr as a hostage. Madellaine convinces Quasimodo to trust her again, and the pair run up a stairwell. Quasimodo lassoes a rock to create a tightrope, and Madellaine walks across it. When Sarousch's raft passes beneath her, Madellaine seizes Zephyr from Sarousch's grasp. With Sarousch now robbed of his leverage, Phoebus's men quickly arrest Sarousch and recover the bell. At the festival, Quasimodo and Madellaine finally proclaim their love for one another and kiss as Zephyr rings La Fidel.
Quasimodo makes several cameos as a guest on House of Mouse. In the episode "Jiminy Cricket", Quasimodo was used as a reference for Jiminy's quote "Maybe you'll meet someone special, maybe you won't". In the episode "Ask Von Drake", Quasimodo is seen clapping his hands while he watches Esmeralda dance on a table. In the episode "House of Scrooge", Quasimodo's face is not deformed when you see him in the audience.
Upon the orders of his master, Claude Frollo, Quasimodo remained sealed inside Notre Dame's bell tower for twenty years, wondering what the outside world was like. On the day of the Festival of Fools (and coincidentally, the day that Sora arrives in the city), Quasimodo finally attempts to participate in the festival. Having been crowned the King of Fools, Quasimodo dresses up in robes and a crown and rides on the back of a Zolephant while surrounded by Dream Eaters. Sora arrives on the scene and warns Quasimodo of the danger he is in, but he refuses to get off the Zolephant. The Nightmares suddenly turn violent and throw Quasimodo off, frightening him. Esmeralda appears and leads Quasimodo to safety within the cathedral as Sora fights off the Nightmares.
Quasimodo, having recovered from the incident in the square, shows Esmeralda around the bell tower. He realizes that Frollo is hunting her down because of her ethnicity as a gypsy and offers her sanctuary within the walls of Notre Dame. Declining the offer, Quasimodo leads her out of the sanctuary and back to the inner city, later being separated midst the congested city streets. Before they are split apart, Esmeralda leaves Quasimodo with a necklace that contains the hidden location of the Court of Miracles, a safe haven for gypsies within the city.
Later, he overhears Phoebus and Sora talking about how Frollo planned to attack the Court of Miracles. Using that the necklace that Esmeralda had given him as a map of the city, Quasimodo travels with Phoebus and Sora to the Court of Miracles. However, it turned out to be a trick set by Frollo, who used them to lead him and his Nightmare army right to the gypsies.
When Esmeralda was sent to be executed, Quasimodo rescues Esmeralda from being burned by Frollo, taking her to sanctuary in Notre Dame. Protecting the gypsy from Frollo, Quasimodo learns the truth about his mother; she died trying to save him instead of abandoning him as Frollo lied. When both of them fell over the side, Quasimodo was saved by the timely arrival of Phoebus. In the aftermath, he then bless the relationship of his two friends and was encouraged by Sora to go out and make more friends. Quasimodo agrees, having learned the real walls where the ones he built around his heart, and no longer fears of being rejected by society.
Quasimodo meets Riku when he enters Notre Dame for answers about Frollo. Having been informed by Frollo himself that he was carrying out business on the outskirts of the city, Quasi informs Riku where his master is and that the Archdeacon is away. Riku questions him as to why doesn't go outside and Quasimodo explains its's because of his hideous appearance. However, Riku encourages him to find true friends who see him for who he is in his heart.
Sometime later, during the execution, Quasimodo saved an unconscious Esmeralda from being burned at the stake and offers to help Riku fight the Wargoyle. Riku declines his offer and tells him to look after Esmeralda instead. Following the defeat of Wargoyle, Quasimodo thanks Riku for his advice and is now content about venturing into the outside world.
Quasimodo in this version is not deaf but he has trouble expressing himself in verbal communication. He is however able to express himself when he sings. He seems to have a more of a morose attitude than he had in the Disney version but he is still pretty much the same.
Quasimodo appears in Disney Parks occasionally as a meetable character mostly at Disney's Hollywood Studios and he is also seen sometimes in the Disney Parades. He also has his own spell card known as "Quasimodo's Bell" in the attraction Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. In the Disneyland Paris show Disney Dreams, he has a scene singing Out There as he swings around the towers of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant.
Differences from the original character
The original Quasimodo, created by Victor Hugo, was an even more tragic character in the original novel, because he was even more ugly and deformed than the Disney version, as well as being deaf and having unintelligible speech from being the bell ringer of Notre Dame. However, the original version was also kind-hearted and caring like in the Disney version. The original was also considerably more violent towards his enemies, even going so far as killing them to protect Esmeralda. The main difference is that Quasimodo was not able to save Esmeralda from her death sentence (hanging in the original novel) and he kills Frollo himself by throwing him off the cathedral towers. He then finds Esmeralda's body in a tomb for those who were sentenced to death and clutched her body even long after he himself met the same fate. In the ending of the book Quasimodo runs away from Notre Dame after the death of Esmeralda. About three years later some soldiers find Quasimodo's dead body which has rotted into a skeleton, but as they pull his dead body out it crumbles into dust.
Songs sung by Quasimodo
- "What? What am I supposed to do? Go out there and rescue the girl from the jaws of death and the whole town will cheer like I'm some kind of a hero? She already has her knight in shining armor and it's not me!"
- "No, you listen: all my life you've told me the world is a dark, cruel place, but now I see the only thing dark and cruel about it is people like you!"
- "Frollo's my master; I can't disobey him again."
- "Why, if-if I picked a day to fly, oh, this would be it!"
- "Go on. Nobody wants to be cooped up here forever!"
- "SANCTUARY! SANCTUARY! SANCTUARY!"
- "Look, I've lived up in the bell tower for 20 years, and I think I know what the city looks like from above, and this is it!"
- "Good morning. Will today be the day? Are you ready to fly? You sure? Good day to try!"
- "I'm sorry, Master. I will never disobey you again."
- "You're right! I'll go! I'll get cleaned up, I'll stroll down those stairs, and march through the doors, and..."
- "A cha-peau in C-sharp!"
- Quasimodo is very similar to Rapunzel from Tangled, as both are not allowed to leave their homes due to their guardians' wishes. They both later sneak out of their homes without their guardians knowing, they both meet and fall in love with an outcast (Quasimodo: Esmeralda, Rapunzel: Flynn) and they also have artistic talents (Quasimodo: wood carving and model making, Rapunzel: drawing and painting) and they also dream of being free to get out and interact with society.
- Quasimodo is also similar to Cinderella from the 1950 film with the same name, as both are mistreated and abused by their parent-figures (Claude Frollo and Lady Tremaine), and they also dream of something better for them.
- Quasimodo is also similar to Dumbo from the 1941 film with the same name, as both are judged by others for their looks (Quasimodo for his deformed features, and Dumbo for his big ears), and they also meet a new best friend who befriends and helps them (Esmeralda and Timothy Mouse), and they eventually turn the taunts into cheers by becoming heroes (Quasimodo: by defeating Frollo, and Dumbo: by using his big ears to fly.) and get accepted into society.
- Quasimodo is the first (and currently only) Disney hero ever to use the word "damnation".
- Despite the fact that his eyes are green in the original film, for some reason in The Hunchback Of Notre Dame 2 and KH 3: Dream Drop Distance (La Cite Des Cloches), Quasimodo's eyes are blue.
- Quasimodo is the fourth human protagonist with red hair, the first being Peter Pan, the second being Taran, the third being Ariel, and the fifth being Merida.
- He is also the second human protagonist to have red hair and green eyes, Taran being the first.
- Quasimodo is 20 years old according to his argument with Phoebus.
- Quasimodo is the first Disney protagonist to have a story view in his home town. The second being princess Tiana from The Princess and the Frog.
- Quasimodo is the second hero who does not end up with the female protagonist at the end of his film. The first one being John Smith.
- However, he is the first hero not to have the female protagonist fall in love with him.
- Quasimodo is the third Disney male protagonist to have a single voice actor do both his speaking and singing voices in a film. The first being Beast from Beauty and the Beast, the second being John Smith from Pocahontas, and the fourth being Prince Naveen from The Princess and the Frog.
- Allthough his age is not mentioned in the sequel, Quasimodo is 26-27 years old.
- Quasimodo is Tom Hulce's last and final theatrical performance role before his retirement from acting.
- Quasimodo shares a similairty to Kovu. They are either related to a villain (Kovu) or adopted (Quasimodo) but their masters allows them little or no freedom. Kovu is kept under a watchful eye and Quasimodo is kept in Notre Dame Cathedral.
|Official Disney Prince|
|The Prince | Prince Charming | Prince Phillip | Prince Eric | Beast | Aladdin | John Smith | Li Shang | Prince Naveen | Flynn Rider|
|Future Disney Prince|
|Other Lead Male Protagonists|
|Mickey Mouse | Donald Duck | Bambi | Peter Pan | Arthur | Robin Hood | Taran | Simba | Quasimodo | Phoebus | Hercules | Tarzan | Milo Thatch | Sora | Yao, Ling and Chien Po | Prince Edward | Rei|