“Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and
Wither his bending sickle's compass come.
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.”
(William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116)
Steadfast in his unrequited love for Esmeralda, the hunchback
Quasimodo melds the hideous and beautiful, as the only character
true to the ideals of love in Hugo's masterpiece The
Hunchback of Notre Dame. Quasimodo beholds her beauty from
the towers of the cathedral as she is accused of witchcraft and
sentenced to death. He redeems his love by casting his master
and surrogate father, who is revelling in Esmeralda's misfortune,
onto the stones of Notre Dame. The final scene is one of haunting
sacrifice, as Quasimodo's bones are discovered in the crypt
entwined with those of Esmeralda.
Nôtre-Dame de Paris
1881. Luc-Olivier Merson (1846–1920).
Engraving. In Alfred Barbou, Victor Hugo et son temps
G. Charpentier, 1881): plate 25.