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Hellfire! Dark fire! Now gypsy, it's your turn!
―Lyric from the song

"Hellfire" is a song from Disney's 1996 animated feature, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The song, sung by the film's main antagonist Judge Claude Frollo, was intended to contrast with the song "Heaven's Light", that was sung by Quasimodo moments earlier as he expressed his feelings of love for Esmeralda, while later, Frollo sings of his lust for Esmeralda. After Frollo had commenced his melodic soliloquy and had sung in front of the fireplace for some time, he asks the Virgin Mary (referred to by Frollo as, "Beata Maria") to not, "let the siren cast her spell" and to not "let her fire dear my flesh and bone". He proceeds to request vehemently to "Destroy Esmeralda" and to "let her taste the fires of Hell!", or to "let her be mine and mine alone", which indictes Frollo's great sexual desire for Esmeralda.

After this prolonged segment, there was a dialogue interruption, in which one of his guards informs him about the gypsy's escape from the cathedral. The judge vows to "burn down all of Paris," and the song resumes. As the song continues, Frollo sings lines in front of the fireplace, which gives the gypsy, Esmeralda, an ultimatum - to choose him (become his mistress) or to be condemned to eternal suffering and tribulation in Hell, "Choose me or your pyre, Be mine or you will burn,". The song closes with Frollo praying for God to have mercy upon Esmeralda and himself - the scene possess dark imagery of figures/silhouettes flowing past the judge holding crucifixes - he reiterates his demand and the song finishes as he collapses in the shape of a Petrine Cross.

This song is considered to be one of the darkest songs in any Disney film, depicting Hell, damnation, lust, and sin, examples of subject matter that would generally be considered inappropriate for younger children. The sequence contains also heavy visuals to match the lyrics, including provocative dancing from images of Esmeralda in the fire.


The song opens as Frollo overlooks the night-lit city from the balcony of the cathedral and sings that he is better than the other people in Paris. As he heads inside, he admits he is disturbed about his lustful feelings for Esmeralda, which he feels is turning him to sin, and prays to the Virgin Mary for help. As Frollo approaches his fireplace, he threatens to burn Esmeralda if she will not be his mistress. Eventually, he passes out as night dawns upon him.


Archdeacon & Priests:
Confiteor Deo Omnipotenti (I confess to God almighty)
Beatae Mariae semper Virgini (To blessed Mary ever Virgin)
Beato Michaeli archangel (To the blessed archangel Michael)
Sanctis apostolis omnibus sanctis (To the holy apostles, to all the saints)

Beata Maria, (Blessed Mary)
You know I am a righteous man
Of my virtue I am justly proud
(Et tibi Pater (And to you, Father))
Beata Maria
You know I'm so much purer than
The common, vulgar, weak, licentious crowd
(Quia peccavi nimis (That I have sinned))
Then tell me, Maria
Why I see her dancing there
Why her smoldering eyes still scorch my soul
(Cogitatione (In thought))
I feel her, I see her
The sun caught in her raven hair
Is blazing in me out of all control
(Verbo et opere (In word and deed))

Like fire
This fire in my skin
This burning
Is turning me to sin

It's not my fault
(Mea culpa (My fault))
I'm not to blame
(Mea culpa (My fault))
It is the gypsy girl
The witch who set this flame
(Mea maxima culpa (My greatest fault))
It's not my fault
(Mea culpa (My fault))
If in God's plan
(Mea culpa (My fault))
He made the devil so much stronger than a man
(Mea maxima culpa (My greatest fault))
Protect me, Maria
Don't let the siren cast her spell
Don't let her fire sear my flesh and bone
Destroy Esmeralda
And let her taste the fires of Hell!
Or else let her be mine and mine alone

Guard: Minister Frollo, the gypsy has escaped.
Frollo: What?
Guard: She's nowhere in the cathedral.
She's gone.
Frollo: But how? I... Never mind. Get out, you idiot! I'll find her! I'll find her if I have to burn down all of Paris!

Dark fire
Now gypsy, it's your turn
Choose me or
Your pyre
Be mine or you will burn
(Kyrie Eleison (Lord have mercy))
God have mercy on her
(Kyrie Eleison (Lord have mercy))
God have mercy on me
(Kyrie Eleison (Lord have mercy))
But she will be mine
Or she will burn!

Disney Parks

Hellfire has become a track commonly associated with Disney Villains as an instrumental in various Disney park shows, such as in World of Color, the Tokyo DisneySea version of Fantasmic!, and in fireworks shows such as Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams, and HalloWishes.


The Disney Wiki has a collection of images and media related to Hellfire.


  • The hooded priests sing “mea culpa,” meaning “my fault,” to answer to Frollo's "It’s not my fault." The hooded priests represent Frollo's conscience, suggesting that Frollo knows deep down that he is vulnerable to sin, but his God complex and pride prevent him from confessing his sins and being at peace.
  • At the end of the song, Frollo passes out on the floor in the shape of the Petrine Cross, foreshadowing his ultimate fate.
  • Frollo's prayers are actually answered in this scene. When the guard opens the door, he is framed by a soft and peaceful light, symbolizing Heaven while the fireplace behind Frollo symbolizes Hell. The guard informs him that Esmeralda is gone, metaphorically giving Frollo the last chance to redeem himself by letting Esmeralda go and embrace the light. Frollo, however, turns away from the light and gives into his obsession, a decision that prevents his entry into Heaven while cementing his damnation.
  • This is the first Disney Villain song to receive more attention than the protagonists' songs.
  • The priests are singing the beginning of the Confiteor (in Latin), a portion of the Penitential Rite of the Catholic Mass where the people confess their sins and ask for forgiveness.
  • At the start of the song, Frollo claims himself to be righteous. Ironically, he sets fire to Paris the very next day.
  • Despite Frollo claiming to be a righteous man, he displays some form of all Seven Deadly Sins in the lyrics of the song. This was likely done intentionally to show his hypocritical way of thinking.
    • The lines Of my virtue I am justly proud and You know I'm so much purer than the common, vulgar, weak, licentious crowd show him displaying Pride, considered the most dangerous of the seven, as it is often used to justify the other 6 deadly sins, or even deny committing them in the first place. This is displayed frequently in the song, and the film as a whole, and could be considered the first he has committed.
    • Frollo's intense desire for Esmeralda to be his and his alone show Lust, Envy and Greed.
      • Lust as the intense sexual desire for Esmeralda, especially her body alone.
      • Envy towards anyone else who may gain her affections.
      • Greed for seeing her merely as an item to be gained, and wanting her intensely even though he doesn't actually need her.
    • His intent to destroy her if she does not comply is an example of Anger/Wrath.
    • Frollo claiming it is not his fault he is sinning, and blaming Esmeralda for tempting him can be seen as an act of Sloth, as he is not taking the initiative to better himself, nor taking responsibility for his own sins.
    • Gluttony is sometimes interpreted as Selfishness, displayed when Frollo says he will burn down all of Paris (despite what it would do to the innocents of the city) to get to Esmeralda.
  • In the official soundtrack, this song is joined with “Heaven’s Light”.
  • According to Tony Jay's niece, Nat, he initially couldn't sing the final note of the song and asked for the key to be lowered. However, Alan Menken refused, so Tony had to take vocal lessons until he could get it right.

External links

v - e - d
Films: The Hunchback of Notre DameThe Hunchback of Notre Dame IIVideoThe Hunchback of Notre Dame (live-action film)

Television: House of MouseEsmeralda
Video games: The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Topsy Turvy GamesKingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop DistanceDisney Sorcerer's Arena
Music: SoundtrackStudio Cast Recording
Books: Big Golden BookClassic StorybookDisney's Wonderful World of Reading

Disney Parks
Disney Animation Building

Entertainment: Disney Classics: The Music & The MagicOne Man's Dream II: The Magic Lives OnMickey's Gift of DreamsThe Golden MickeysThe Hunchback of Notre Dame: A Musical Adventure
Restaurants: Clopin's Festival of Foods
Parade: Disney's Party ExpressThe Hunchback of Notre Dame Topsy Turvy Cavalcade
Firework: Believe... There's Magic in the StarsDisney Dreams!HarmonioUSHappily Ever AfterWorld of ColorWonderful World of Animation
Spring: Disney's Easter Wonderland
Summer: Stitch and Friends Summer Surprise
Halloween: Frightfully Fun ParadeHappy HallowishesIt's Good to be Bad with the Disney VillainsKooky Spooky Halloween NightRe-Villains! Halloween ParadeThe Disney Villains Halloween ShowtimeVillains GroveVillains Mix and MingleVillains Night Out! Chapter 2

Original: QuasimodoEsmeraldaClaude FrolloPhoebusVictor, Hugo, and LaverneDjaliClopinArchdeaconAchillesBrutish and Oafish GuardsFrollo's SoldiersOld PrisonerQuasimodo's MotherQuasimodo's FatherSnowball

Sequel: MadellaineZephyrSarousch

Original: The Bells of Notre DameOut ThereTopsy TurvyHumiliationGod Help the OutcastsThe Bell TowerHeaven's LightHellfireParis BurningA Guy Like YouThe Court of MiraclesSanctuaryAnd He Shall Smite the WickedInto the SunlightSomeday

Sequel: Le Jour D'AmourAn Ordinary MiracleI'd Stick With YouFa la la la Fallen In LoveI'm Gonna Love You
Musical: Balancing ActRest and RecreationRhythm of the TambourineInto Notre DameTop of the WorldThai Mol PiyasEsmeraldaCity Under SiegeFlight Into EgyptOut of Love (Reprise) • Dance of the GypsiesMade of StoneFinale Ultimo
Deleted Songs: In a Place of MiraclesAs Long As There's a MoonSomeday

ParisNotre Dame de ParisPalace of JusticeCourt of Miracles
MusicalDisney Sing Along Songs: Topsy TurvyThe Making of The Hunchback of Notre Dame