Esmeralda is a fiery young gypsy woman fighting for equality, justice, and freedom, while trying to make a living as a street performer. Her beauty captures the hearts of three completely different men: Quasimodo, the disfigured and kind-hearted bell ringer; Captain Phoebus, the heroic captain of the King's guards; and Lord Frollo, Quasimodo's sinister "father".
Appearance and PersonalityEdit
Esmeralda is a beautiful young gypsy woman with thick and wavy raven-black hair, large emerald-green eyes, thick well-shaped eyebrows, full crimson-red lips, and a medium-brown skin tone. Coincidentally, "Esmeralda" means "emerald" in Spanish and Portuguese, a possible reason for Esmeralda's green eye colour.
Esmeralda's incredible beauty catches the eyes of three men throughout the movie; Quasimodo, the film's main protagonist, Judge Claude Frollo, the film's villain, and Captain Phoebus, the film's tritagonist. Ultimately, Phoebus is the one who wins Esmeralda's heart.
Esmeralda is fearless, feisty, independent, strong-willed, outspoken, and determined. She is very capable of defending herself, and has no problem doing so, but also has a softer, more loving side to her fearless exterior, which she prefers to keep hidden (more of it is seen in the film's sequel).
Similar to Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Esmeralda's heart of gold allows her to look beyond appearances. She is the first person in the film to befriend the deformed yet lovable hunchback, Quasimodo, and willingly cuts him free of his bonds at the Festival of Fools. Esmeralda is a wonderful heroine whose greatest wish is to see outcasts like Quasimodo and her fellow gypsies welcomed into society and be treated like people. She is also quite witty, for when Phoebus confronts her in the cathedral, she repeatedly verbally challenges him, and wins.
Background and DevelopmentEdit
Esmeralda was based off of "Le Esmeralda" from The book. In the book, she is murdered by judge claude frollo by being hanged. She was a gypsy, but was fair skinned. The story took place in 1482. Esmeralda was 19. Therefore, she was born in year 1463.
Design and CharacteristicsEdit
Esmeralda has striking green eyes, most likely because "Esmeralda" is spanish for "Emerald." Her animators were Glen keane and her appearance was inspired by Demi Moore, who did the speaking voice for her.
Esmeralda's singing voice was done by Heidi Mollenhauer and speaking done by Demi Moore. Esmeralda has a bit of a deep and raspy voice, probably to reflect on her outgoing yet serious personality.
Role in FilmEdit
The Hunchback of Notre DameEdit
Esmeralda is first seen dancing in the streets for coins. Some guards come along and harass her, but with the help of Djali and Phoebus, Esmeralda escapes. She is then seen dancing at the festival of fools and catches the attention of everyone, even Frollo. When the time comes to crown the king of fools, she pulls Quasimodo onto the stage, thinking his face to be a mask. When the crowd is torturing Quasimodo, she solely comes to his aid and accuses Frollo of cruelty for not having it stopped sooner and for refusing justice to "the least of these in need of [his] help". Frollo orders her arrest for her defiance, but she uses magic to disappear by blowing her nose, which Frollo believes to be witchcraft. Esmeralda expertly dodges and outwits the soldiers sent after her and ultimately disappears from view after sufficiently humiliating Frollo and the sentries.
Esmeralda is next seen following Quasimodo into the cathedral disguised together with Djali as an old man, but is followed by Phoebus. She is initially agressive towards him, up to the point of attacking him with a candlestick, but engages in conversation when he puts away his sword and introduces himself. When Frollo arrives and orders Phoebus to arrest her, Phoebus says Esmeralda has claimed sanctuary and can therefore do nothing. Frollo and the soldiers are ordered out of the church by the Archdeacon. Frollo stays behind long enough to warn her that she can only stay inside for so long and hints at a physical attraction to the gypsy girl, eliciting repulsion from her. Frollo leaves and stations guards at every door, forcing Esmeralda to rethink her exit strategy. The Archdeacon advises her against antagonizing Frollo and she complains about his treatment of Quasimodo and the gypsies and how no one can stand up to him. At the suggestion of the Archdeacon, she offers a heartfelt prayer to God to help her and her people. Enchanted by her song, Quasimodo comes down and watches from afar but stumbles over some candles, alerting her of his prescence. He escapes away to the belltower and she chases after him, attempting to apologize for bringing him onto the stage. She then stumbles upon Quasimido's workshop and is instantly impresssed by his talent. He begins to understand that she means him no harm and decides to show her around the bell tower. As he takes her to see the view from the top of the tower, Esmeralda expresses her surprise that such a cruel man like Frollo raised such a wonderful boy. Quasimodo says that Frollo took him in even though he is a monster. Esmeralda cites Frollo's lie that gypsies are evil and says Frollo may be wrong about them both. Quasimodo offers to let her live with him in the bell tower where she can have sanctuary but she expresses her desire to escape the church as "gypsies don't do well in stone walls". Quasimodo carries her and Djali down the tower to the streets where she can escape. Esmeralda asks him to come with her to the Court of Miracles, but he knows he would not be welcome and his place remains in the tower. Esmeralda promises they will meet again and gives him a map of the town which will lead him to the Court of Miracles where all the gypsies are hiding before escaping into the night.
Shortly afterwards, Frollo initiates a manhunt for her and throws the town into chaos by breaking into homes and burning the homes of uncooperative families. On one ocassion in particular, Esmeralda is observing Frollo from a distance and sees him burn down an innocent family's house. Phoebus saves them in time, and is subsequently arrested for disobeying orders. Esmeralda flings a stone to startle Frollo's horse. Phoebus uses the distraction to jump on the horse and escape. Under fire from Frollo's soldiers, he is mortally wounded by an arrow when trying to escape. She saves him and brings him to Quasimodo whom she knows will help her. She tends to his wounds and passionately kisses Phoebus, unwittingly breaking Quasimodo's heart as he was convinced she loved him. She escapes the bell tower when she hears Frollo approaching and leaves Phoebus in Quasimodo's care, telling him to be careful and not to let anything happen to him. Although he doesn't find Phoebus, Frollo bluffs that he knows where the Court of Miracles is and that he will attack it in the morning with one thousand men. Quasimodo and Phoebus quickly reach the Court of Miracles using the map Esmerelda gave them to try and warn them, only for Frollo to suddenly appear, having used Quasimodo to lead him there. Esmerelda is captured and sentenced to burn at the stake for the crime of witchcraft the following night.
At the execution, as Frollo holds the torch to set the pyre ablaze, he offers her one last chance to be with him or be burned. She spits in his face in utter disgust and Frollo sets the fire. She is saved in time by Quasimodo and brought up to the tower, but ends up nearly suffocated and falls unconscious. Quasimodo cries over her seemingly dead body before fighting off Frollo when he attempts to murder the boy. Esmerelda manages to come to and is rescued by Quasimodo from Frollo's attacks. The battle ends with Frollo falling to his death and Esmeralda clinging to Quasimodo to keep him from falling, but he slips out of her hands and is caught by Phoebus. Phoebus, aware of Quasimodo's feelings for Esmerelda, stands aside so Quasimodo can be with her. However, Quasimodo understands their feelings for each other and interlocks their hands, having accepted their love and the two kiss. As Phoebus and Esmeralda emerge safely from the church to cheers of triumph from the crowd, Esmeralda extends her hand to Quasimodo to join them outside. As Quasimodo joins her, he is finally accepted into the town population as a hero.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame IIEdit
In the Hunchback of Notre Dame II, Esmeralda is more of a side character. Her and Phoebus have a child named Zephyr.
The Hunchback of Notre DameEdit
Esmeralda's song is "God help the outcasts" which she sings after she sees how people like Quasimodo are treated. This is the only disney song to talk about religious issues.
- Esmeralda is the first Disney heroine to have green eyes.
- Esmeralda has been voted as the 7th greatest heroine.
- Esmeralda is the only Disney character to show her religious views.
- Esmeralda is actually only 18 years old.
- Esmeralda's name is the Spanish and Portuguese word for "emerald", either of which is a possible reason for the animators to give her the emerald shade of green for her eye color.