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 belltower, until he could be of use to him. He was voiced by the late Tony Jay in the film.
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.
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 the audiences were throwing vegetables at Frollo, he gets on his horse and hugs his horse. The audiences laughed loudly. She 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).
- Despite being a "human", Frollo ranks as one of the most evil Disney villains due to his personality, xenophobic hate, immense political power, and above-the-law status.
- When Frollo falls to his death it 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. Ironically, his final words in life were "And He shall smite the wicked and plunge them into the fiery pit."
- Frollo is placed 10th on the Ultimite Disney.com's Disney Villain countdown.
- Frollo has many similarities to Mother Gothel from Tangled:
Both do not have magic powers. Both have harbored their ward for their own personal reasons. Both have sung a song to describe why they shouldn't leave their "homes". Both have attempted to kill their wards' friend(s) Both have died of falling.
- Frollo is also similar to Lady Tremaine from Cinderella, as both villains don't use any magic powers, and they also mistreat and abuse their stepchildren. They also obtain a high status in the wealthy class (Tremaine is a socialite, and Frollo is a judge). Another similarity between the two villains is how they pretended to care for their stepchildren: Frollo only cared for Quasimodo because of charge of conscience, While Tremaine does it both with Cinderella because she is forced to by law, and needs a housekeeper.
- Frollo also shares some traits with Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, as both live in France, develop certain feelings for the female protagonists, fight the male protagonists in a high area, and fall to their deaths.
- The way Frollo tells Quasimodo that he killed his mother is similar to how Scar reveals that he killed Mufasa to Simba at the end of The Lion King (1994), given how they do not reveal it until they believe they are about to kill their respective foes, only to arouse their foes' rage and lead to their own deaths.
- Frollo is voiced by Tony Jay, who also voiced Shere Khan in TaleSpin and The Jungle Book 2, Monsieur D'Arque in Beauty and the Beast, and one of Dr. Benedict's scientists' in Recess: School's Out.
- Frollo is also similar to Shere Khan, as they both have a hatred for something (Frollo: gypsies, Shere Khan: humans) and only care about their own opinion about them.
- Frollo's behavior may suggest that he is a pyromaniac.
- Frollo is also similar to Stromboli from Pinocchio, as both villains plan to keep the protagonists (Quasimodo and Pinocchio) locked away for their own purposes (Frollo: To find the Court of Miracles, and Stromboli: To make a lot of money from his puppet show with Pinnochio as his "starring attraction"). The only difference is that Stromboli sought to keep Pinocchio away from his home, while Frollo provided Quasimodo with an agreed home.
- Frollo represents the deadly sin of lust, as he lusted after Esmeralda. He also represents pride, as he considered himself above all humans and completely flawless.
- Frollo is also similar to Governor Ratcliffe from Pocahontas, as both villains express hatred and prejudice against a certain race (Frollo: Gypsies, and Ratcliffe: Native Americans), seem to express some form of white supremecy, and they also obtain a high rank in authority and political influence.
- Frollo became the seventh villain who fell to his death. The first being Witch (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs), the second being Maleficent, the third being the Bear (The Fox and The Hound), fourth Ratigan, fifth Percival C. McLeach, the sixth being Gaston.
- Unlike most other villains who have fallen to their deaths, Frollo is one of the few who was actually seen landing. The others were Clayton and Mother Gothel.
- Frollo is the third villain to develop feelings for the female protagonist (Gaston being first and Jafar being second), although in this case, Frollo lusted for Esmeralda and it was not healthy like the other two.
- In the novel, Frollo was nice and willingly took Quasimodo in when no one else would and only turned evil when Esmeralda came into the story.
- Frollo also shares a similarity to Zira. While they appear to care for a hero (Zira, Kovu and Frollo, Quasimodo) they actually grant them little or no freedom. Frollo keeps Quasimodo in Notre Dame cathedral isolated from the outside world and Zira does not allow Kovu to explore the Pride Lands.