I have said this more than a few times but Phoebus is a character that can be molded to fit a few roles in a Hunchback narrative; he can be a the handsome hero, the vain villain or the expendable extra, you know narrative needs. In Notre Dame de Paris is more on the villainous side things.
To be clear he is not the villain so to speak. Notre Dame de Paris doesn’t have a clear villain but if I were say I would say it would Frollo and Fleur de Lys with Phoebus as a minion between them. Frollo has control of aspects of Paris and he can command Phoebus. So it is Frollo who tells Phoebus to get Clopin’s people out of Paris and it Fleur de Lys who tells him to ensure Esmeralda’s death. So Phoebus is a pawn in the scheme of things however he shows no remorse for his actions, nor guilt for merely doing his job.
So is Phoebus the jerk he is in the book? Not quite, he does have a slightly positive spin on his characterization and that his intentions towards Esmeralda. In the book it’s clear that for Phoebus, Esmeralda is a one-time thing. In this version he basically wants her in a more long-term capacity, balance an affair with her while being married to Fleur-de-Lys. He wants Esmeralda for a mistress which I doubt would have made this Esmeralda happy in the end. This still makes him a jerk-face.
Much like Gringoire and Quasimodo, Phoebus’s depiction doesn’t differ from cast to cast of Notre Dame de Paris. He just a jerk little horny minion, but the ladies love him.
Next time ClopinFollow thehunchblog