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Captain Phoebus

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Captain Phoebus de Chapeauters is a character of The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. Unlike his Disney version, in Victor Hugo's original novel, Phoebus is an antagonist, and looks more like Gaston of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, being a good-looking but selfish rival to the good-hearted but monstrous Quasimodo, for the love of Esmeralda (who is merely 16 in the book, making her far younger than Phoebus).

Despite being of noble birth and very handsome, he is also vain, untrustworthy, and a womanizer. He saves Esmeralda from Quasimodo and she falls in love with him. Phoebus makes a convincing show of returning her affections, but merely wants a night of passion. Esmeralda arranges to meet Phoebus and tells him of her love for him, and he convinces her that he feels the same way about her. He is in fact engaged to another woman, the spiteful socialite Fleur-De-Lys. Not only that, he has agreed to let Claude Frollo spy on his meeting with Esmeralda. This decision proves his undoing, since as the couple prepare to have sex, the jealous Claude Frollo attacks Phoebus by stabbing him in the back. Frollo makes a quick get-away and Phoebus is presumed dead by homicide. Esmeralda, being the only one present, is presumed to be the killer. Phoebus, however, is not dead and soon recovers from his injury.But this does not stop Esmeralda from being tried and sentenced to death for his murder. Phoebus could have proved her innocence, but he remained silent.

Later, Esméralda is trapped in the Cathedral, and befriends Quasimodo. One day, she spots Phoebus walking past the cathedral. She asks Quasimodo to follow the captain, but when Quasimodo finds where Phoebus is, he sees Phoebus leaving his fiancée's house. Quasimodo tells him that Esmeralda wants to see him: Phoebus, believing Esmeralda to be dead, believes Quasimodo to be a devil summoning him to Esmeralda in hell, and flees in terror. Quasimodo returns and says he did not find Phoebus.

In the end of the novel, he is engaged to marry Fleur-de-Lys de Gondelaurier, and watches Esmeralda's execution with apparently little or no remorse. Whilst being one of the few characters to survive the novel, Hugo hints that Phoebus' marriage will be an unhappy one.

See here for the Disney version of the character.

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