Captain Phoebus

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Captain Phoebus
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame character
Created by Victor Hugo
Gender Male
Occupation Captain of the King's Archers
Title Captain
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 another woman, the spiteful socialite Fleur-de-Lys de Gondelaurier. 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 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. 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 the novel, Hugo hints that Phoebus's marriage will not be happy.

Disney version[edit]

In the animated Disney version, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Phoebus is voiced by Kevin Kline and serves a supporting protagonist. He returns to Paris to be Captain of the Guard under Judge Claude Frollo because his predecessor was a "bit of a disappointment" to Frollo, though he harbors a great dislike towards Frollo for his harsh methods, and displays a 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 film's 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 accepts Phoebus as a friend and blesses his relationship with Esmeralda.

In the direct-to-video sequel, Phoebus, again voiced by Kline, is married to Esmeralda and has a young son, Zephyr, 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 Madelleine. Sarousch fools Phoebus into thinking Madelleine is the sole thief so that he can steal La Fidèle, Notre Dame's most valuable bell. In the process, however, 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.

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.


Actor Version
Herbert Heyes 1917 adaptation
Arthur Kingsley 1922 adaptation
Norman Kerry 1923 adaptation
Alan Marshal 1939 adaptation
Jean Danet 1956 adaptation
Alexander Davion (voice) 1966 adaptation
Richard Morant 1977 adaptation
Robert Powell 1982 adaptation
Kevin Kline (voice) 1996 Disney adaptation and its 2002 direct-to-video sequel
Benedick Blythe 1997 adaptation
Patrick Fiori 1997-2002, musical
Vincent Elbaz 1999 parody