Captain Phoebus de Chapeauters is the secondary antagonist of the 1831 French novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by the late Victor Hugo, and the tritagonist of the 1996 Disney movie adaptation of the same name.
Despite being of noble birth and very handsome, Phoebus is 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 in actuality, he wants a night of passion with her. 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. 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 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 by Pierrat Torturue and sentenced to death for the crime. Phoebus could have proved her innocence, but he remained silent.
Later, Esméralda is trapped in the Cathedral and befriends Quasimodo. One day, she spots Phoebus walking past the cathedral. She asks Quasimodo to follow the captain, but when Quasimodo finds where Phoebus is, he sees Phoebus leaving his fiancée's house. Quasimodo tells him that Esmeralda wants to see him: Phoebus, believing Esmeralda to be dead, believes Quasimodo to be a devil summoning him to Esmeralda in hell, and flees in terror. Quasimodo returns and says he did not find Phoebus.
At the end of the novel, he is engaged to marry Fleur-de-Lys and watches Esmeralda's execution committed by Henriet Cousin, with apparently little to no remorse. Whilst being one of the few characters to survive the novel, Hugo hints that Phoebus' marriage will be an unhappy one.
- See here for the Disney version of the character.
Captain Phoebus appears in the 1996 film, voiced by Kevin Kline. But as opposed to being an antagonist, he serves as a supporting character. He first appeared returning from the wars to serve Judge Claude Frollo and his soldiers but eventually rebelled against him due to his outrage towards Frollo's violent methods of exterminating the gypsy population and traumatizing innocent people in the process. Also, unlike his literary version, while does initially works for Frollo, Phoebus is very brave and honorable in general as he genuinely cares for both Quasimodo and Esmeralda; even willing to stand up for them when they are in danger. In the end, Quasimodo happily gives his blessing to both Phoebus and Esmeralda's relationship following Frollo's death.
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