Welcome to Day 6 of the 30 Day Disney Blogging Challenge! Yesterday, I shared my favourite Disney Heroine so today it’s all about the Disney Hero! The definition remains the same. A hero is described as someone with outstanding courage, who achieves greatness and is noble in character. There are a lot of Disney heroes in my opinion but I have always been a big supporter of the underdogs. The characters that aren’t classically handsome or strong. The characters that face adversity and come out on top. The characters that have good, sound hearts and loving kindness. I think it’s safe to say that my favourite Disney Hero is the gentle and sweet…
In 1482, a group of gypsies smuggle their way illegally into Paris including a mother and her deformed child. The evil Judge Claude Frollo ambushes them and kills the mother outside of Notre Dame. When Frollo gazes upon the disfigured child, he moves to kill him as well but is stopped by the cathedral’s archdeacon. The priest accuses him of spilling innocent blood upon the church steps and orders Frollo to raise the child as his own as a form of atonement. Frollo reluctantly concedes and names the baby Quasimodo, meaning ‘almost-human.’ He sticks him in the bell-tower of Notre Dame and raises him to believe he is a monster that must never leave the cathedral for fear of being seen.
20 years later, Quasimodo is anything but a monster. He is kind, caring and full of dignity. His only friends are the witty, loyal stone gargoyles Laverne, Victor and Hugo. He is incredibly creative and loves to sculpt the village people of Paris out of wood. Obedient to his manipulative master, we see Quasimodo confessing to being ugly and an abomination which quite frankly is heartbreaking. He does not ask for much. His only desire is to spend one day outside at the annual Festival of Fools. His master Frollo however, forbids it. The morning of, Quasimodo follows his heart for the first time in his life and makes his way into the city square to take part in the celebrations. It’s here that he meets the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda who believes Quasi’s face is a mask and part of his costume. The crowd are won over by his awkward appearance and crown him the King of Fools.
Unfortunately for Quasimodo, Frollo oversees the competition and is furious when he catches sight of him. Esmeralda tugs at Quasi’s face to remove his ‘mask’ and gasps when she realises there is none. The villagers begin to mock, harass and tie up Quasimodo with ropes which initiates a riot. Frollo refuses to help the bound hero but Esmeralda cuts him free and uses magic to evade her arrest. Quasi is sent back to the cathedral in disgrace. Esmeralda seeks sanctuary inside Notre Dame and meets Captain Phoebus for the first time. There is instant chemistry. Once he leaves, Quasi takes her up to his bell-tower as a token of gratitude. She is kind and does not see him as hideous. She reads his palm and tells him there are ‘no monster lines.’ He is clearly smitten with her by this point but helps her escape with a heart full of hope.
When Frollo learns that Esmeralda has fled the cathedral, he declares war against all of the gypsies. Captain Phoebus refuses to aid Frollo in his evil acts and is shot by an arrow. When Esmeralda takes Phoebus to the bell-tower to be cared for, Quasi sees them kiss and is heartbroken. She gives him a necklace that serves as a map to her home: The Court of Miracles. Quasimodo seeks the gypsy hideout to warn them of Frollo’s ambitions but is followed and everybody is captured. Esmeralda is to be burnt at the stake but at the last minute, Quasimodo rescues her and carries her to the top of the bell-tower claiming sanctuary. Frollo and his men rally together to break into Notre Dame but with the help of Phoebus, the gargoyles and Quasimodo, they are able to stave them off. All except Frollo who sneaks past and attempts to kill Esmeralda and Quasi. Frollo and Quasi both fall off the balcony however Phoebus catches his friend and Frollo dies. As the dust begins to settle, Quasi gives Esmeralda and Phoebus’s love his blessing. He walks outside for the first time without fear and the citizens hail him a hero, accepting Quasimodo into society.
What makes Quasimodo a true Disney hero? Well for starters, he saves thousands of gypsies from attempted genocide in Paris. He is courageous in his attempt to brave the outside world regardless of his appearance and fear of judgement. He comes to realise who the real monsters of the world are and makes up his own mind about what is right and wrong. He is selfless and a man of nobility. Let’s look at some quick facts:
– In the original book, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, written by Victor Hugo (hence the gargoyle’s names) Quasimodo is stabbed to death by Frollo. Luckily the Disney version changed that ending!
– Although they seem to be real, the gargoyles are indeed a figment of Quasimodo’s imagination for the entire film.
– At one point during the song Out There, Belle, Pumbaa and the Magic Carpet can be spotted in the village.
For someone who has been locked away his entire life without any human interaction besides Frollo, Quasimodo goes above and beyond rescuing the less-fortunate, fighting evil and staying entirely true to himself in the process. Despite the dark themes, it is a satisfying end witnessing Quasi immerse himself in the world that loves and accepts him for who he is.
Simba from The Lion King
Who is your favourite Disney Hero? What makes him so heroic? I would love to know your thoughts. See you tomorrow for Day 7!
Peace & Love xoxo