Criminological Theories Portrayed in the Hunchback of Notre Dame

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Criminological Theories Portrayed in the Hunchback of Notre Dame

Alicia L Becker

CJ 6636

Allen Lowery

30 September 2011

Abstract

The Hunchback of Notre Dame, by Victor Hugo displays many of the Criminological theories. The main characters and theme of the movie plays into the theories as well. Some of the theories that are displayed are: Violent Crime, Feeble-mindedness, and Cultural Conflict and Crime. There are many deviant and criminal acts seen throughout.

Criminological Theories Portrayed in the Hunchback of Notre Dame

While watching the film the Hunchback of Notre Dame, by Victor Hugo, there is one common theme that tends to standout throughout the entire movie. There is a major division between the social classes which creates turmoil and crime in this society. Those in the highest class tend to look down on those that are in the lowest class, not understanding why they take the actions they do. When those in lower class, who are considered vagabonds, display what the higher class considers criminal behavior they issue harsh punishment towards them. There is also the social class that includes the church and those that belong to it. The church figures do not want the idealistic views to create change in the society.

The setting for this movie is France after it has been involved in many years of war and the country is trying to rebuild itself. Until this point religion has played a major role in most of the individual’s livelihood. During this time period of the movie many free thinkers come to light with ideas of how to improve the country and philosophers begin popping up. There are many people in the society who do not agree with their ideas, especially those who are in the church. Punishment during this time would not be considered humanistic to those who were born in this day in age. They conducted public punishment that ranged from whippings to killings. Often times, individuals who went against societies views were punished publicly to prevent the spread of this type of thinking and acting.

Quasimodo, also known as the Hunchback of Notre Dame, is one of the main characters in this movie. He was left on the church steps as a baby and was taken in by Frollo. Quasimodo not only had a hunchbacked but he also had facial deformities and had become deaf from ringing the bells of the church. He lived in the bell tower and was hardly seen by society, when he was seen by society they believed he would curse them. Quasimodo obeyed Frollo and did as he wished even if it got him in trouble because he did not know any better.

Frollo also lived in the church that his brother was the head of. He did not want to see any harm come to Quasimodo but there were times when he did not stick up for him or tell the truth so he would not be punished. John was the head of the high courts and helped to sentence those who did wrong. There were times when he would use torture to get people to confess for crimes that they did not commit. He was an evil man who killed and tried to let another take the blame for his crime.

Esmeralda was a beautiful gypsy that John fell in lust with after he saw her for the first time. Due to the fact that she was a gypsy she was not wanted in this part of society because they were believed to be like witches. Esmeralda had a good heart and was willing to listen and help out any person that she could. Esmeralda married Gringore, a man she did not love, to save him from being hung by the vagabonds. She was accused of murdering Phoebus, the man she loved and was tortured into confessing. Pheobus was one of the protectors of the Kings court and has saved Esmeralda when she was being attacked by Quasimodo. Quasimodo had seen the good side of her and helped to protect her when she was in trouble.

Gringore joined the vagabonds and was one of the driving forces that set out to save Esmeralda when she was on trial. Clopin is the king of the...
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