Captain Phoebus

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Captain Phoebus
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame character
Created by Victor Hugo
Full name Phoebus de Chateaupers
Occupation Captain of the King's Archers
Affiliation the King's Guards
Title Captain
Spouse(s) Fleur-de-Lys de Gondelaurier (assumed)
Significant other(s) Esmeralda
Religion Catholic
Nationality French

Capitaine Phoebus de Châteaupers [fibys də ʃatopɛːʁ] is a fictional character and one of the main antagonists in Victor Hugo's 1831 novel, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. He is the Captain of the King's Archers. His name comes from Phoebus, the Greek god of the sun (also called Apollo).

In the novel[edit]

In the original novel, Phoebus is an antagonist. 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 his cousin, Fleur-de-Lys de Gondelaurier, who is a spiteful socialite and jealous of Esmeralda's beauty. Not only that, he has agreed to let Archdeacon Claude Frollo spy on his meeting with Esmeralda.

This decision proves his undoing, since as the couple prepare to have sex, the jealous 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 attempted murder as well as witchcraft. Phoebus could have proven her innocence, but he remained silent. In the end of the novel, he marries Fleur-de-Lys, and watches Esmeralda's execution with apparently little or no remorse. Whilst being one of the few characters to survive in the novel, Hugo implies that his marriage will not be a romantic or happy one.


Among the actors who have played Phoebus over the years in each adaptation of the novel are:

Actor Version
René Alexandre 1911 film
Herbert Heyes 1917 film
Arthur Kingsley 1922 film
Norman Kerry 1923 film
Alan Marshal 1939 film
Jean Danet 1956 film
Alexander Davion (voice) 1966 animated television series
Richard Morant 1977 television film
Robert Powell 1982 television film
Kevin Kline (voice) 1996 Disney film and its 2002 direct-to-video sequel
Benedick Blythe 1997 television film
Patrick Fiori 1997-2002 musical
Vincent Elbaz 1999 parody film
Andrew Samonsky 2014 musical
Will Griffith 2017 musical

Disney version[edit]

In the first film[edit]

In the 1996 animated Disney adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Phoebus serves a supporting protagonist, and his character is combined with that of Pierre Gringoire from Victor Hugo's original novel. He was voiced by Kevin Kline and animated by Russ Edmonds. He returns to Paris from the wars to be Captain of the Guard under Frollo, who is portrayed as a judge in this version, because his predecessor was a "bit of a disappointment" to Frollo. However, Phoebus begins to harbor a great dislike towards Frollo for his harsh methods, and displays sympathy towards the downtrodden and poor, shown when he steps in to stop two of Frollo's thugs from arresting Esmeralda for stealing money (which was honestly obtained), and requests to stop the citizens from torturing Quasimodo at the Festival of Fools. Midway through the film, as Frollo descends into a homicidal madness and burns down almost half the city in his ruthless manhunt for Esmeralda, Phoebus finally rebels against Frollo and is almost killed, but is rescued by Esmeralda, who takes him to Notre Dame and leaves him in Quasimodo's care. Despite Quasimodo distrusting him, he and Phoebus join forces to find the Court of Miracles, the gypsy hideout, before Frollo attacks but they are too late and all are captured.

In the climactic battle, Phoebus rallies the French citizens to fight against Frollo's thugs and liberate their city. He pursues Frollo into the cathedral and witnesses both Frollo and Quasimodo fall from the balcony, catching Quasimodo in time to save his life. In the aftermath, Quasimodo finally accepts Phoebus as a good friend and blesses his romance with Esmeralda, to the couple's delight.

In the second film[edit]

In Disney's 2002 direct-to-video sequel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame II, Phoebus (again voiced by Kline) is married to Esmeralda and has a young son, Zephyr, who resembles him, with her. He continues to serve as Captain of the Guard under the new Minister of Justice, and investigates a series of thefts throughout Paris which coincide with the arrival of a gypsy circus troupe, led by Sarousch. His investigation leads him to conclude that Sarousch and his accomplice, Madelleine, are the culprits, putting a strain on his friendship with Quasimodo, who is developing a budding relationship with Madeleine. Sarousch fools Phoebus into thinking Madelleine is the sole thief so that he can steal La Fidèle, Notre Dame's most valuable bell. However, in the process, Zephyr is kidnapped. Phoebus leads the city guard to trap Sarousch, who almost escapes by holding Zephyr hostage. When Madelleine and Quasimodo rescue Zephyr, Phoebus and his men arrest Sarousch. At the Festival of Romance, he loudly declares his enduring love for his wife.

Later Disney appearances[edit]

This incarnation of Phoebus makes his debut appearance in the Kingdom Hearts series in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, but voiced by Phil LaMarr. His role in the game is identical to the first film.