- “...Up there, high, high in the dark bell tower lives the mysterious bell ringer.
Who is this creature? What is he? How did he come to be there?”
- ―Clopin, during "The Bells of Notre Dame"
Quasimodo is the protagonist of Disney's 1996 animated film The Hunchback of Notre Dame and its 2002 sequel. Quasimodo was born deformed, possessing a hunched back, from which the film takes its name. In spite of his ghastly appearance, Quasimodo is naïve, kind-hearted and knows little of the world outside his bell tower home from which he is forbidden to leave.
He was originally voiced by Tom Hulce.
Quasimodo first appeared as a baby (whose face is not seen, only his arm, but is described by Frollo to be a "monster") being carried by his mother. His mother and father were gypsies and 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 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 in disgust. 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.
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, 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 almost caused him to abandon his friends and allies.
He can also show violence towards his enemies, particularly when they were threatening his friends and allies, especially towards Esmeralda.
Quasimodo is a talented artist, possessing the skills needed to carve miniature figurines and toys, a scale wooden model of Paris and the Cathedral itself, and a decoration of hung shards of stained glass. Quasimodo likely developed his skills in handicraft as a hobby or to make his life isolated in the bell tower more bearable. Quasimodo, despite his appearance, is very agile and acrobatic, as he is able to quickly move across rooftops, scale buildings, rope-swing, and climb large structures with relative ease. 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 shown when Quasimodo was able to lift the fully-armored Phoebus up off his feet with no notable effort when Phoebus entered the bell tower in search of Esmeralda. Perhaps the most impressive feat Quasimodo has shown was his ability to break free of the chains which held him in the bell tower when Frollo was preparing to execute Esmeralda.
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, Victor, and Laverne. 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 make 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, who is then tied down and barraged with a flurry of produce.
Esmeralda, seeing this, stands up for him and calls for justice. Frollo is furious with his charge. After the festival Quasimodo witnesses Esmeralda singing "Gold Help the Outcasts," but before he can talk to her, a parishioner who mistook him for causing trouble shouts at him, causing him to knock down a candle staff and flee back to the bell tower, Esmeralda was terrified seeing him being scared away by the Parishioner follows him and the Parishioner is stopped by the Archdeacon when he attempted to stop her and Djali from following him. Quasimodo befriends Esmerelda who apologizes to him for what happened at the festival and helps her escape from Notre Dame and 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 a thousand 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, holding Esmeralda over his head on top of Notre Dame.
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 is free to live a normal, happy life. In the end Quasimodo is hailed as a hero for his efforts and the crowd picks him up and takes him away cheering.
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 Le Jour d'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 one of Notre Dame's bells, 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. However, 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 sticks up for Madellaine, who he feels is different, but Phoebus 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 Phoebus into believing Madellaine is the mastermind behind the thefts and two of his goons steal the bell successfully. When Quasimodo and Madellaine return, Phoebus 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, Phoebus, 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 lassos 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 Fidele.
Quasimodo makes several cameos as a guest on House of Mouse. In episode "Jiminy Cricket", Quasimodo was used as a reference for Jiminy's quote "Maybe you'll meet someone special, maybe you won't," poking fun at the fact that Quasimodo did not get Esmeralda at the end of the 1996 film. In episode "Ask Von Drake" Quasimodo is seen clapping his hands while he watches Esmeralda dance on a table. In episode "House of Scrooge" Quasimodo's face is not deformed when you see him in the audience.
Quasimodo also made a cameo appearance at the end of The Lion King 1½.
Much like the film, Quasimodo is forced to remain inside Notre Dame's bell tower, under the order of his master Claude Frollo. During the Festival of Fools, Quasimodo sneaked out and ended up being taking part in the festival and being crowned King of Fools. Dream Eaters were a part of his parade and they became Nightmares and turned violent when Sora arrived, who fought them off after.
Quasimodo met Riku when he entered Notre Dame for answers about Frollo. Having been informed by Frollo himself that he carried out business on the outskirts of the city, Quasi informed Riku where his master is and that the Archdeacon is away. Riku questioned him as to why doesn't go outside and Quasimodo explained that it's because of his hideous appearance. However, Riku encouraged him to find true friends who see him for who he is in his heart.
Quasimodo later met Esmeralda and showed her around the bell tower. After realising that Frollo was plotting to kill her due to her ethnicity, Quasimodo offered her sanctuary and protection within Notre Dame. She declined but gave him a band with the hidden location of the Court of Miracles, a safe haven for hunted gypsies like her.
When he heard from Sora and Phoebus that Frollo discovered the Court of Miracles and was going to attack, he used the band to lead Sora and Phoebus to the court in an attempt to warn the gypsies However, it turned out that Frollo tricked them and only pretended to know the court's location so that he could follow Quasimodo there. Frollo reached the court with an army of Nightmares.
Quasimodo rescued Esmeralda from her execution and took her to sanctuary within the Notre Dame. Here, he learnt that his mother had died while protecting him rather than abandoning him as Frollo said. He offered to help Riku fight the Wargoyle but Riku told Quasimodo to look after Esmeralda instead. In the aftermath, he was encouraged by Sora to go out and make more friends. Quasimodo agrees, no longer fearing being rejected by society. Quasimodo also thanked Riku for his advice earlier.
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Quasimodo in this version is not deaf but 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 film version but he is still quite much the same.
Quasimodo makes occasional appearances at the Disney theme parks around the world, mostly at Disney's Hollywood Studios (around the original release of the film). As of 2014, he is a fairly rare character, but can be spotted in several entertainment entries, including those aboard select ships of the Disney Cruise Line.
He also has his own spell card known as "Quasimodo's Bell" in the Magic Kingdom attraction Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom
Quasimodo also makes a cameo in the 2014 rendition of World of Color: Winter Dreams, during the Believe sequence of the show.
Differences from the original character
The original Quasimodo, created by Victor Hugo, was an even more tragic character 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, staying long enough to meet 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 off of Esmeralda's it crumbles into dust.
Songs sung by Quasimodo
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Hunchback of Notre Dame II
- Despite the fact that his eyes are green in the original film, in The Hunchback Of Notre Dame II and Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance in "La Cite Des Cloches", Quasimodo's eyes are blue.
- Quasimodo is the fourth human protagonist with red hair, with the first being Peter Pan, the second being Taran, the third being Ariel, the fifth being Hercules, and the sixth 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, judging by his argument with Phoebus and Frollo's remark at the climax.
- Quasimodo is the first Disney protagonist to have a story view of his home town, with the second being Tiana from The Princess and the Frog.
- Quasimodo is the second hero who does not end up in a romantic relationship with the female protagonist at the end of his film. John Smith was the first. Quasimodo 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, with the first two being Beast from Beauty and the Beast, and John Smith from Pocahontas.
- Quasimodo is Tom Hulce's final theatrical performance role before his retirement from acting.
- He is the only Disney character to have a physical deformity.
Incorporated Films and shorts: Alice in Wonderland | Aladdin/The Return of Jafar | Beauty and the Beast | Cinderella | Fantasia | Hercules | The Hunchback of Notre Dame | Lilo & Stitch | The Lion King | The Little Mermaid | Mickey, Donald and Goofy: The Three Musketeers | Mulan | The Nightmare Before Christmas | Peter Pan | Pinocchio | Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl | Sleeping Beauty | Steamboat Willie | Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs | Tangled | Tarzan | Tron/Tron: Legacy | The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Villains: Master Xehanort | Ansem | Xemnas | Maleficent/Dragon Maleficent | Pete | Organization XIII | Vanitas | Xigbar/Braig | Xaldin | Vexen | Lexaeus | Zexion | Saïx/Isa | Demyx | Luxord | Marluxia | Larxene | Terra-Xehanort | Young Xehanort | Xehanort's Guardian
Other Characters: Jiminy Cricket | Naminé | Ansem the Wise/DiZ | Yen Sid | Xion | Axel/Lea | Master Eraqus | Dilan | Even | Aeleus | Ienzo | Lingering Will | Data Sora | Data Riku | Data Naminé | Data Roxas | Hayner | Pence | Olette | Riku-Ansem | Kairi's Grandma | Riku Replica | Anti-Saïx | Anti-Sora | Anti-Riku | Sora-Heartless | Jiminy's Journal
Disney Characters and Villains: Queen Minnie | Daisy Duck | Pluto | Tarzan | Winnie the Pooh | Aladdin | Genie | Tron | Magic Brooms | Peter Pan | Quasimodo | Judge Claude Frollo | Merlin | Tigger | Eeyore | Rabbit | Ariel | Mulan | Mushu | Jack Sparrow | Chernabog | Simba | Timon | Pumbaa | Nala | King Triton | Jafar/Genie Jafar | Alice | Cheshire Cat | Jack Skellington | Esmeralda | Phoebus | Beagle Boys | Scrooge McDuck | Huey, Dewey and Louie | Master Control Program | Sark | CLU | Rinzler | Beast | Stitch | Hercules | Tick-Tock the Crocodile | Snow White | Wendy | Ace "Chicken Little" Cluck (More coming soon)
Objects: Sea-salt ice cream | Wayfinder | Door to Darkness | Keyblade | X-blade | Mickey's Letters | Thalassa Shell | Kingdom Hearts Encoder | Keychain | Gummi Blocks | Bug Blox | Black coat| | Keyblade Armor
Locations: Land of Departure | Disney Castle | Disney Town | Timeless River | Datascape | Radiant Garden/Hollow Bastion | Keyblade Graveyard | Destiny Islands | Traverse Town | Dive to the Heart | End of the World | Realm of Darkness | Castle Oblivion | Twilight Town | The World That Never Was | Castle That Never Was | Halloween Town | Neverland | Wonderland
Music: Dearly Beloved | Simple and Clean | Sanctuary | Mickey Mouse Club March | Swim This Way | Part of Your World | Under the Sea | Ursula's Revenge | A New Day is Dawning | Destati | Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo | He's a Pirate | Beauty and the Beast | This is Halloween | It's a Small World | Night on Bald Mountain | Winnie the Pooh | The Sorcerer's Apprentice | The Pastoral Symphony
Soundtracks: Kingdom Hearts Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts Final Mix - Additional Tracks | Kingdom Hearts II Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts Original Soundtrack Complete | Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep & 358/2 Days Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX Original Soundtrack
Other Male Protagonists: Mickey Mouse | Donald Duck | Bambi | Robin Hood | Peter Pan | Arthur | Mowgli | Jack Skellington | Simba | Quasimodo | Hercules | Tarzan | Nita | Taran | Phoebus | Milo Thatch | Sora | Prince Edward | Rei | Wreck-It Ralph | Kristoff