Judge Claude Frollo is the main antagonist of Disney's 1996 animated feature film The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He is widely considered to be one of the darkest Disney villains of all time
Frollo is a deeply religious man who tries to convince the people of Paris that his evil deeds are justified because they are God's will, though he is a prejudiced, sinister, vicious and cold government official who uses his place in power to meet his own extreme ends, going as far as to employ common thugs to enforce his interpretation of God's will while posing as "soldiers." This makes him feared and reviled throughout the city. Frollo is especially set on eliminating the gypsies scattered throughout Paris as their indulgence in "witchcraft and sorcery" is infectious to those around them, according to him, which therefore makes him genocidal. He also is shown to have sadism, as other than his desire to persecute sinners, he also briefly smiles when the previous Captain of the Guard prior to his promoting Phoebus to the rank was heard being tortured for having "failed" him. However, despite being highly religious, he turns out to be unwillingly blasphemous calling religious people such as the Archdeacon "fools" (likely because, in his pride, he thinks himself superior and more religious than the Archdeacon hismelf), and once attempting to kill within the city's beloved cathedral (because he thought said murder was God's will and that it was then completely justified to execute God's will inside His house). His deep religion also makes him teach Quasimodo a rather depressing religious alphabet, which allowed one to see that, despite his dark methods, he is at least familiar with the belief of "forgiveness," presumably because of his faith. This was evident in including Forgiveness as the representing word for the letter "F."
Interestingly, while most Disney villains know that what they do is wrong (and either do not care or take pride from this), Frollo actually believes that he is a good person, making him a bit of a complex character as well. He repeatedly refuses to find fault within himself and is quite self-righteous, declaring himself much purer than "the common vulgar, weak, licentious crowd" and above the biblical doctrine that all men are equally sinful. He believes that everything he does is in the name of God, even as he attacks the cathedral of Notre Dame for the sake of catching, arresting and executing one gypsy woman. However, at the end of "Hellfire", he does beg God for mercy on Esmeralda for what he plans to do with her and mercy on him for his plans, so he is capable of some form of guilt in his own twisted way.
He comes to lust for the beautiful Esmeralda, but after a moment of indecision ends up blaming his own lust for her on witchcraft and the devil rather than accept that he himself is prone to sin as everyone else. His lust drives him murderously insane, which ultimately proves to be his downfall when he pushes Quasimodo too far by almost killing Esmeralda. When he believes his lust for Esmeralda to be turning him to sin he is partially right because it is this that makes him murderous and unfair towards the other people, arresting two families and attempting to kill one just because they wouldn't give him Esmeralda.
He is also very cruel to Quasimodo. He refuses to allow the hunchback any happiness or freedom by keeping him locked up in Notre Dame, forces the boy to call him "master", and allows him to be humiliated in public without even bothering to help him, as punishment for disobeying him. He also shows no love or compassion towards Quasimodo (except for bringing him food), and only uses him as a tool for his personal gain. As such, he only allowed Quasimodo to live out of fear for his eternal soul rather than out of genuine guilt after he unjustly (though, to his discharge, half unwillingly) kills his mother on the steps of Notre Dame. He also seems to be somewhat down-to-earth despite his religiousness, believing that stone cannot talk and attempting to get Quasimodo to believe this as well and making fun of him for believing it could:
Frollo: Dear boy... whomever are you talking to?
Quasimodo: My... friends.
Frollo: I see. And what are your friends made of, Quasimodo?
Frollo: Can stone talk?
Quasimodo: No, it can't.
Frollo: That's right. You're a smart lad.
Furthermore, Frollo appears to be a rather stoic man, always appearing cool and collected, and only shows fear when Quasimodo prepares to kill him and when he is about to fall to his death; he also shows visible fear when the many eyes of Notre Dame glare at him for murdering an innocent woman upon the cathedral steps. He rarely exhibits humor, and whenever he does, it is dry and black.
Depsite his single-mindedness, Frollo's true weakness was that he couldn't feel or understand love for another person except himself. It was this cruelty and abusiveness that drove Quasimodo to have very little loyalty towards his master and protected the only person who ever showed the young boy kindness.
Physical appearance Edit
Frollo is an aging man defined by his wrinkled face and thinning white hair. As the Minister of Justice and a high-ranking public official, Frollo is most frequently dressed in black robes, a purple and black striped hat with a red ribbon attached, and shoulder pads with red stripes. He also wears rings on his fingers, two on the right and one on the left, with the jewels colored red, green, and blue. Despite his frail appearance, Frollo possesses a considerable amount of strength, shown by the muscle in his arms and how he is able to hold his own against Quasimodo, who despite being smaller then Frollo in terms of stature is larger in terms of built and has displayed signs of super-human strength.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame Edit
At the film's beginning, Frollo ambushes a group of gypsies entering Paris illegally and chases one of them to Notre Dame where he kills her by kicking her down the steps of the cathedral. However, he discovers that her "stolen goods" was actually her deformed baby son. Believing the child to be an unholy demon, Frollo prepares to drop him down a nearby well, but for the intervention of the Archdeacon, who reprimands Frollo for killing an innocent woman and tells him that the only way to make up for his sin is to raise the boy as his own son, to which he begrudgingly agrees after seeing the stone statues of saints decorating Notre Dame apparently turn their eyes on him; however, he only agrees to save what is left of his soul and because the child may come in handy some day. Frollo names him "Quasimodo" (literally "Near-perfect mode" or "Half-formed"), and raises him in the cathedral, hidden from the outside world, constantly teaching him that he would be considered an ugly and hideous monster by the cruel outside world.
Twenty years later, Frollo summons the gallant soldier Phoebus from the war to be his new Captain of the Guard, since the last one was "a bit of a disappointment" to him. He hopes to clear the gypsies out of Paris with Phoebus' help and go to Heaven when he dies. While attending the annual Festival of Fools, Frollo discovers a gypsy dancer namedEsmeralda, who attracts him with her beauty. Shortly afterwards, he discovers that Quasimodo left the bell tower and joined the Festival and was crowned the King of Fools. Frollo refuses to help Quasimodo when he is being publicly humiliated by the crowd in order to teach him a lesson, even when the hunchback implores for his help; he even delays Phoebus' permission to stop it. He is enraged when a defiant Esmeralda openly defies him for his cruelty, and in retaliation, he orders her arrested. After witnessing the gypsy vanish in a cloud, he rashly concludes her to be a witch and immediately orders Phoebus to bring her in alive. She escapes into the Cathedral, where he confronts her and tells her that he will arrest her if she dares to leave. However, Quasimodo helps her escape.
That evening, Frollo is disturbed by his attraction to Esmeralda which he believes is turning him to sin and pleas the Virgin Mary to protect him from her "spell" and to let Esmeralda taste the fires of Hell. Upon learning from one of his guards that she has escaped the cathedral, he is enraged and begins a ruthless manhunt to find her, burning down the houses of those that would shelter gypsies and interrogating the gypsies who were captured. He later attempts to execute an innocent family whom he suspects of interacting with gypsies by burning down their house with them inside it, but an appalled Phoebus intervenes and rescues them; Frollo declares Phoebus a traitor and attempts to execute him, but he is eventually rescued by Esmeralda after being left for dead.
Realizing that Quasimodo assisted Esmeralda, Frollo convinces him that the Court of Miracles has been found and will be attacked at dawn. A misled Quasimodo accompanies Phoebus to the Court, and Frollo and his army of thugs follow and arrest the gypsies. Frollo sees that Phoebus has survived and intends to "remedy it". He then sentences Esmeralda to death, but offers to save her from cremation if she chooses him. She refuses to become Frollo's mistress and is prepared to be burned at the stake, but Quasimodo rescues her after she passes out and brings her to the cathedral. Frollo orders his soldiers to pick up a large beam, which was dropped from the cathedral and nearly crushed him, and to use it to break down Notre Dame's doors. Enraged at this defilement and attack upon the beloved cathedral, as well as tired of Frollo's tyranny and rallied by Phoebus, the citizens of Paris arm themselves and rebel against Frollo's guards. Though Notre Dame's ancient doors manage to hold for a while, they eventually break down. Frollo gains entry to into the cathedral, directly defying the Archdeacon and throwing him down a flight of stairs before locking him out of the bell tower so he could not follow him and interfere.
He then attempts to kill Quasimodo with a dagger, resulting in a violent struggle in which Quasimodo overpowers Frollo, wrenching the dagger from his grip and throwing him to the floor. Quasimodo then hovers over Frollo, who momentarily abandons his pride and begs Quasimodo to listen, but Quasimodo says that he should be the one to listen. Quasimodo then angrily yells out that all his life Frollo has told that the world is a dark cruel place, and now that he sees that the only thing so dark and cruel about the world is people who are just like Frollo. Just then, Esmeralda awakens, and Quasimodo rushes her to safety. Infuriated, Frollo draws his sword and chases them onto a balcony overlooking the city, slashing at them with his sword with Quasimodo unable to fight back due to protecting Esmeralda.
In his rage, Frollo finally admits that he killed Quasimodo's mother when she attempted to save her baby, much to Quasimodo's shock. As such, Frollo decides to kill Quasimodo himself like he "should have done" 20 years ago. Frollo subsequently uses his cape to knock Quasimodo off the balcony, but he manages to hold on and ends up pulling Frollo along with him (but is unwilling to let him fall). Frollo dangles momentarily for his life, but he is soon able to climb onto a gargoyle. As he raises himself in perfect position to kill Esmeralda (who is attempting to save Quasimodo), his eyes and teeth are shown in a fire-like color, laughing wickedly as he delivers his last blasphemy ("And He shall smite the wicked, and plunge them into the fiery pit!"). However, just as Frollo raises his sword, the gargoyle starts to break off and he falls, clinging on for dear life and dropping his sword. In his last moments, the gargoyle's face comes to life and demonically roars, terrifying him. It breaks off completely and angrily sends the screaming Frollo falling into a vast lake of molten copper created by Quasimodo, where he meets his death after coming into physical contact, resulting in a fiery explosion.
With Frollo finally gone for real, his tyranny has ended and his soldiers are defeated and surrendered to the French army.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame II Edit
Although Frollo makes no full appearance in the second film (due to the fact that he is obviously dead), he is alluded to several times. For Example, when Esmeralda dances for a crowd, Clopin says "Careful, or you may lose your heart." and holds up a puppet with a thumping heart that looks very much like Frollo, possibly referencing Frollo's lust for Esmeralda. Also, when Madellaine begs Quasimodo to trust her, Quasimodo says "I already made that mistake once.", possibly referring to the mistake he made of trusting Frollo.
In Kingdom Hearts Edit
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance Edit
Frollo appears in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance as a villain trapped in his sleeping world of La Cité des Cloches.
When Sora first arrived in La Cité des Cloches, he came face-to-face with Frollo in the town outside Notre Dame. The judge examined Sora, believing him to be a gypsy due to his "disgusting attire", but his interrogation of the young Keyblade wielder was interrupted by Captain Phoebus. Phoebus told Frollo that "monsters" have appeared in the square, and he rushed off after Sora who went to defeat them.
Soon afterwards, Frollo arrived in the square with Phoebus, where he is furious to see Sora standing before Quasimodo, who is riding a Zolephant. The severity of Frollo's anger only increases when he witnessed Quasimodo flee into the Notre Dame cathedral with help from the "gypsy witch", Esmeralda.
When Riku first arrived, he crossed paths with Esmeralda, who was chased by Phoebus and Frollo. Phoebus asked Riku if he has "seen a gypsy woman", but the Keyblade wielder covered for her and said that he had not, Phoebus reports this to Frollo, after which the judge questions his abilities. Later, after escaping from the Wargoyle that attacked him on the bridge, Riku found Phoebus disobeying and betraying Frollo, who then summoned the fire-breathing Wargoyle that he claimed to be "righteous judgment". Intending to use the power of darkness to "smite the gypsies now and forever", the judge headed to Notre Dame cathedral along with the Wargoyle with Riku in pursuit.
Some time later, Sora, Phoebus, and Quasimodo traveled to the Court of Miracles to warn Esmeralda that Frollo is on his way and intends to capture her. As Phoebus ordered Esmeralda to take what she can with her and leave, the judge appeared and surrounded the group with an army of Nightmares. Frollo took Esmeralda to the square for a "bonfire" despite Quasimodo's pleas, and rendered Sora unconscious.
With the combined efforts of Sora and Quasimodo, Esmeralda was rescued from her execution. Enraged, Frollo chased them toward Notre Dame. When Sora attempts to stop him, he is stopped in his tracks by the Wargoyle that fell from the sky above. Frollo cornered Quasimodo and Esmeralda and revealed the truth about how Quasimodo's mother died trying to save him twenty years ago. Frollo attempted to kill him with his sword but after a series of tussles, he loses his footing and grabs the gargoyle by the neck, saving himself, but the creature comes to life and roars at him. At that moment, the gargoyle breaks off of Notre Dame, and the terrified Frollo plummets to his own doom in the flames below the cathedral, a sight also seen by Riku.