People Are Just Discovering This Hidden Detail In The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, And We're Flabbergasted

I can't believe I didn't notice this.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

If you’re a fan of Disney’s animated movies, 1) we should hang out sometime and 2) you’ve probably seen the 1996 classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

The Disney classic features the French Roma character of Esmeralda, who (along with capturing the heart of our titular Hunchback) draws the attention of antagonist Claude Frollo.

The Parisian judge is ashamed of his lust, redirecting his anger in part to ordinary, unsuspecting people, in part to Esmerelda herself, and, most memorably, to the walls of the Notre Dame cathedral via the song ‘Hellfire.’

Recently, X (formerly Twitter) user @Elizabeth_JxJ posted a video of the song, saying “Truly a VILE man, I mean these lyrics are crazy.”

To be fair, the lyrics do include lines like “Don’t let this 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.” So, I get the post.

But another revelation left X users amazed ― another X user, @leylanocontext, reposted the video, adding that “realizing that the choir is saying the ‘I Confess’ prayer in Latin throughout the song made my head explode, they were doing some serious cooking.”


Yup! The prayer the X user mentioned, the Confiteor Deo (or, in English, “I Confess”), is said in the background of the song.

There’s a typical priest-to-congregation-style call and response in the song. “Beata Maria, (of Blessed Mary, from the Confiteor Deo)/ You know I am a righteous man/ Of my virtue I am justly proud,” Frollo begins the song.

After this line, the choir sings “Et tibi Pater (or and to you, Father)” ― this is another part of the prayer, a couple of lines down.

The song continues in this manner, peaking at the end with the prayer’s “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa” (in English, my fault, my fault, through my most grievous fault) interspersing Frollo’s end verse; even playing off his repeated insistence that “it’s not my fault/ I’m not to blame.”

Listen, ’90s Disney was no joke.

People were impressed by the detail

One X user commented under the post that “disney used to have proper villains with broadway level songs and now it’s all just twist~ villains with watered down pop.”

“Truly, this song could be in Les Mis,” another said.

“This and ‘God Help the Outcasts’ employ really intelligent use of irony in the background chorus to highlight [the] hypocrisy of people who claim to be devout. Save for the gargoyle song, the soundtrack is really well done,”someone else commented.

Look, I’m not saying they don’t make them like they used to, but... well, yes, I am saying that.


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