This section begins with Frollo's intense interior musings upon the darker side of human nature. He believes that he has forsaken all heavenly grace and imagines that he already walks among the damned of hell. Thus, he is shocked but not surprised to see what he believes to be Esmeralda's ghost walking the church. Esmeralda has also entered a new phase of existence in this section. The church protects her body but her soul is caught in the passion of her desire for Phoebus and the uncertainty of her relationship with Quasimodo. She endears herself to Quasimodo by trying to overcome her repugnance but, like Frollo, he is disappointed when he realizes that she would willingly give her love to a good-looking soldier whom he considers unworthy of her affections. His devotion to her increases and occasions his first real disagreement with Claude Frollo. Quasimodo's devotion is such, however, that he would rather die than cross his master or allow Esmeralda to be harmed. Thus, this section brings to a head the conflict in duty Quasimodo feels between his debt to the priest and his devotion to Esmeralda.
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame: Novel Summary: Book IX Analysis