Mrs Quasimodo

Mrs Quasimodo- Context

  • Quasimodo is a fictional character and the protagonist in the novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831) by Victor Hugo. Quasimodo was born with a hunchback and feared by the townspeople as a sort of monster, but he finds sanctuary in an unlikely love that is fulfilled only in death.

  • Quasimodo falls in love with and saves the beautiful gypsy girl, Esmeralda.

  • Depending on the version of the story, Esmeralda either loves him back, or is disgusted by him.

  • A common theme is that Quasimodo insists on showing her his true, kind nature, that contrasts with the superficial and self-centred nature of the Captain Phoebus with whom Esmeralda is infatuated.

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Mrs Quasimodo- Language Devices

The description of the bells is lyrical. She pesonifies them as possessing ‘throats’, and ‘gargling’ and ‘chanting.’ Their power over her is conveyed when she says she loved them ‘fervently’ and they can ‘calm’ her.

The reference to ‘frightened cats’ is anthropomorphic, suggesting that even animals had human-like senses and would reject her.

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Mrs Quasimodo- Structural Devices

This is a dramatic constrast that links back to the beginning of the first stanza. The bells initiate something new; they clearly have the ultimate significance in this story.

The one-line stanza also anticipates the other one-line stanzas scattered through the poem, to convey Mrs Quasimodo’s bitterness. She has already lost her self-esteem and seems to blame herself for not recognising the limitations of her marriage.

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