What was the reason of Pierre Gringoire’s decision to live with vagabonds in The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo?
Pierre Gringoire is a character, who is described as impatient and egotistical person. He is a playwright and a philosopher, who values himself very much and considers his life as the most important thing on the planet. He is also an ignorant person, since he doesn’t realize how bad is he at being “the man of the letters” (Shmoop, n.d.).
At the beginning of The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, the vagabonds want to hang Gringoire, but he is saved by Esmeralda, who accepts to be his wife for four years. Later, he joins the vagabonds and helps Frollo hand Esmeralda to the authorities.
The reason why he joined the vagabonds is mainly because of his ignorance and because of his similarity with them. Pierre, just like the vagabonds, values himself very dearly, but, in fact, he is ignorant about everything aside from himself. Frollo convinces him with philosophical arguments and tricks him into believing that he is destined to die saving Esmeralda. The vagabonds, also, have high opinion of themselves, but actually, they have no clue what are they doing (SparkNotes, n.d.).
Gringoire thinks that he is so much more clever than any other person, and that belief led him to join those who wanted to kill him earlier, and also to help a man who doesn’t speak the truth and has other aims in his head. Pierre allowed to be tricked easily. He didn’t even care about Esmeralda that much, but he immediately believed Frollo when he said that that is his destiny and he joined the vagabonds without thinking twice.
Despite the fact that he is a philosopher, Gringoire is unaware about everything next to himself. He is a comic relief throughout the book, and his complete ignorance is something to laugh at.
SparkNotes. (n.d.). The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. SparkNotes. Retrieved from http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/hunchback/context.html
Shmoop. (n.d.). The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. Shmoop. Retrieved from http://www.shmoop.com/hunchback-of-notre-dame/characters.html
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The Theme of Fate Revelation in the Novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Victor Hugo does not focus the attention of his work specifically on the theme of fate. However, the destiny of the main characters appears to be one of the crucial moments that is being perceived through the intertwining plot lines in comparison to one another. Indeed, the reader does not initially see how the theme of fate is evolved in the plot, however, what catches the eye is how the destiny of the characters is not predetermined, which means that the free will and the decisions of the characters is what makes them be able to choose their fate and this way, an evident claim of the fact that the fate is not something the determines a person’s life, but the person is who decides its fate, appears to be represented.
As a matter of fact, the given statement which might as well be refuted is managed to be traced from the beginning of the plot. Indeed, it seems that the hunchback is the one who certainly could not easily determine its fate. Still, this implies to be true because of the natural laws of the overall situation. Quasimodo who is a “freak,” “antisocial monster” who lives in the shadow can not become something else, something better in the eyes of society, who is by itself biased. This means that the biased society does not have an ability to perceive the person by its “inner” nature. However, the apparent representation of a person by itself is what appears to be evidently important. Nonetheless, Quasimodo may as well be “good,” as we can see from the story, he has a “good” inner nature. Still, his appearance is what occurs to be the defining factor of who he is to the society. We see him as a person, and for this reason, a reader manages to be able to experience compassion and sorrow for the fate of the hunchback. This way, it seems to be evident, that Quasimodo is the one that is not able to change his fate and for this reason, the statement regarding the inflexibility of fate may as well be refuted.
On the other hand, Quasimodo is the one who manages to refute this statement, not in the eyes of society but the eyes of the certain characters and first of all in the eyes of the reader. At first, the example of the hunchback is what implies the power of a person to influence the world around by omitting certain personal drawbacks in appearance per instance. Indeed, this way, by committing unexpected by anyone, virtuous actions, the reader sees the hunchback in a completely different light of events (Enderle, Wolek & Hugo, 82). Be that as it may, the example of Quasimodo not only does not refute the initial statement about the fact that the fate is not something the determines a person’s life, but the person is who determines its fate, however, it underlines and intensifies the meaning of the given assertion by the evident portrayal of a person who in spite of all the controversial circumstances manages to manifest its “true nature” and virtuous personality.
At the same time, we see other characters of the novel who might as well seem righteous people at the beginning but at the end they also reveal their “true nature”, which also is what makes us understand that the fate is something that could not be preset and predetermined from the beginning, but what a person can change and influence throughout one’s life. Still, what if to reveal one’s fate and to demonstrate the fact of being able to change at least in the perception of others is also something that is somehow set in the beginning and invariably positions the outcome of events? What if it was hunchback’s fate to become this virtuous person, in the end, not to change but to manifest a capability to change in the eyes of other, and thus to influence the reality, and accordingly fate in one way or another. This deeper understanding of fate is however not what Victor Hugo has managed to describe in his novel, once again, as he does not focus on the theme of fate. Still, this understanding of fate might as well take place as something that makes characters in the novel and people, in reality, to be able to influence their fate due to the reason that this has been laid in the beginning by the fate itself. This way, we are talking about the self-flexible fate. Still, this understanding is not considered by Hugo.
This way, it appears to be evident that in spite of the fact that the author of the novel does not set the focus of his work on the theme of fate, still, it occurs to be evident through the various side-factors such as the intertwining plot lines in comparison to one another. Thus, the fate of the characters is not predetermined. That is why the free will is what allows to choose. Therefore, the fate is not something the determines a person’s life, but the person is who determines its fate.
Enderle, D., Wolek, G., & Hugo, V. (2012). Victor Hugo’s The hunchback of Notre Dame. Edina, Minn.: Magic Wagon.
Hugo, V. (1970). The hunchback of Notre Dame. Garden City, N.Y.: International Collectors Library.