Judge Claude Frollo is the main antagonist of Disney's 1996 feature film The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He killed Quasimodo's mother 20 years prior to the time of the film on the very steps of Notre Dame cathedral and prepared to drown Quasimodo. The Archdeacon stopped him, and, fearing repercussions from God and especially from Mary, the Virgin Mother of Jesus, Frollo was tasked with raising him and named the baby Quasimodo in reference to his disfigurement. Frollo however, kept Quasimodo hidden from the world in the church's bell tower, until he could be of use to Frollo.
He was voiced by the late Tony Jay in the film. In the Kingdom Hearts series, he was voiced by Corey Burton.
In UltimateDisney.com's countdown for top 30 Disney villains, he was villain #10 (better then Gaston but less then Lady Tremaine). The Nostalgia Critic placed Frollo in fourth place of his "Top 11 Disney Villains" list, and "Hellfire", Frollo's major number, was rated as number one in the "Top 11 Villain Songs" list (which was not a Disney-exclusive list).
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. However, he discovers that the gypsy's "stolen good" was actually her deformed baby son. Believing the child to be an unholy demon, Frollo prepares to drop the child in 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. Frollo names the boy "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 Captain Phoebus, since his 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 named Esmeralda, 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 he refuses Phoebus' permission to stop it, and is enraged when a defiant Esmeralda openly criticizes him for his cruelty. Frollo gets publicly humiliated. While he orders Esmeralda arrested, he escapes into the Cathedral, where he corners 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 to 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 Esmeralda has escaped the cathedral, Frollo is enraged and begins a ruthless manhunt to find her, burning down the houses of those that would shelter gypsies and interrogating the gypsies that were captured. He later attempts to execute an innocent family whom he suspects of collaborating with gypsies, but an appalled Phoebus intervenes and rescues them. Frollo declares Phoebus a traitor and attempts to execute him, but Phoebus is eventually rescued by Esmeralda after being left for dead.
Realizing Quasimodo assisted Esmeralda, Frollo convinces him that the Court of Miracles has been found and will eventually be attacked. 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 execution. She refuses to become Frollo's mistress and is prepared to burn to death, but Quasimodo rescues her after she passes out and brings her to the cathedral. Frollo orders his soldiers to break down the door and some his soldiers attack the Citizens of Paris and the French army who are been lead by Phoebus, The king of France and his successor who both had come to stop Frollo and his soldiers. Frollo gains entrance to the interior of the cathedral, directly defying the Archdeacon and flinging him down a flight of stairs. He then attempts to kill Quasimodo, resulting in a violent struggle in which Quasimodo throws Frollo to the floor and finally rejects all that Frollo had taught him. Quasimodo almost kills Frollo, but Esmeralda awakens, and Quasimodo rushes her to safety. Frollo 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 reveals that he killed Quasimodo's mother and will now kill Quasimodo himself as he "should have done" twenty years ago. Frollo subsequently uses his cape to knock Quasimodo off of the balcony, but Quasimodo 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 on a gargoyle in perfect position to kill Esmeralda, who is attempting to save Quasimodo. However, as he raises his sword, the gargoyle that he is standing on starts to break and he falls, clinging on for dear life and dropping his sword. In his last moments, the face of the gargoyle come to life and demonically roars, terrifying Frollo as the gargoyle breaks off completely from the balcony and sends him falling to his death letting out a death scream into a vast lake of molten lead created by Quasimodo, clearly meant to symbolize that his soul is now trapped in eternal damnation in the satanic fires of hell for all eternity as punishment for his actions and ending his tyranny once and for all. His soldiers are defeated by the citizens of Paris and the French forces. Ironically, his final words in life were "And He shall smite the wicked and plunge them into the fiery pit!"
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 in reality a prejudiced, spiteful, and corrupt official who uses his place in power to meet his own selfish ends, going as far as to employ common thugs to enforce his 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.
While most Disney villains know that what they do is wrong (and either do not care or take pride from this), Frollo actually believes he is a good person. 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 one gypsy.
He comes to lust for the beautiful Esmeralda, but he even blames his own lust for her on witchcraft and the devil rather than accept that he, himself, is also capable of the same sins as everybody else. His lust drives him murderously insane, which ultimately proves to be his downfall when he pushes Quasimodo too far by almost killing Esmeralda.
He is also very cruel to Quasimodo by: locking him away from the world, forcing the boy to call him 'master', and allowing 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, and only uses him as a tool for his personal gain. He also refuses to allow Quasimodo any happiness or freedom by keeping him locked up in Notre Dame.
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 rarely exhibits humor, and whenever he does, it is dry and black.
The words that Frollo uses in the song Hellfire such as, "Beata Maria you know I am a righteous man" and "Protect me, Maria" imply the church that Frollo is minister of, is Catholic as most people who honor Jesus's mother Mary go to a Catholic church, though he certainly doesn't act like one.
Frollo is uncaring to anyone except himself. Even though he took Quasimodo in as a baby, he never loved him or cared for him, and always used him for his own selfish purposes. He also is uncaring towards gypsies, and instead of helping them, he wants to kill them all.
Frollo is also uncaring to animals, when he used an ant nest underneath the railings on gypsies in the Court of Miracles, and is blind to understand the mysteries of the world, when he underestimates the gargoyles as being alive until he sees one come to life in irony (although this could have a hallucination) just as he plummets to his death near the end of the film.
The Kingdom Keepers
Frollo is going to appear in the fourth book of the Kingdom Keepers, Power Play. In the book he is the new leader of the overtakes replacing Maleficent and Chernabog as they were captured. The book is to be released on April 5, 2011. On the cover, he is seen having pointing at Willa, a DHI, or Disney Host Interactive, while she runs with a scared face (the DHI's are the protagonists of the book).