You mistreat this poor boy the same way you mistreat my people. You speak of justice yet you are cruel to those most in need of your help!
~ Esmeralda condemns Frollo
Esmeralda is the deuteragonist of Disney's 1996 film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and a supporting character in it's 2002 sequel The Hunchback of Notre Dame II.
She is voiced by Demi Moore and Heidi Mollenhauer in the English version of the movie, and Mietta and Franca D'Amato in the Italian version of the movie.
She is a fearless and streetwise gypsy with a heart of gold (and is very capable of defending herself). She's also able to look beyond physical appearances and is one of the first and only people in both films to befriend the deformed yet lovable hunchback Quasimodo. Esmeralda is a wonderful heroine whose greatest wish is to see outcasts like Quasimodo and her fellow gypsies be accepted into society and be treated as people. She also seems to be quite witty, as when Phoebus first confronts her in the church, she verbally challenges him.
She is quite passionate and demands justice, and displays this at the Festival of Fools, when she stands up for Quasimodo while the crowd jeers at him thanks to Frollo's men who started the riot. After the Fesitval she sings "God help the Outcasts" which also leads Quasimodo to her. But before Quasimodo can talk to her, a parishioner, who mistakes him causing trouble, unexpectedly shouts at him, causing Quasimodo to knock down a candlestaff and returns to the bell tower. Esmeralda was terrified, realizing what the parishioner has done, follows him. The parishioner also attempts to stop her and Djali from following him, but he is then stopped by the archdeacon. She finds Quasimodo in the bell tower and apologizes to him for what happened at the festival.
She is very beautiful and attracts the attention of three men during the course of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Quasimodo is the first to fall for her as soon as he meets her during the Festival of Fools. Claude Frollo takes a (rather unhealthy) liking to the gypsy as well, and develops a perverse and twisted obsession with her. Accusing her of witchcraft, he attempts to have her burned at the stake, forcing her to choose him or the fire, only for Esmeralda to reject him. The last of the three men to fall for her is Captain Phoebus, and he is eventually the one who winds up earning her love in return after Esmeralda realizes that he is not like Frollo's other men.
In the sequel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame II, Esmeralda and Phoebus had a son together Zephyr.
In the book
In the book Esmerelda is far, far, more tragic. She is the lost daughter of Paquette Chantfleurie. She was stolen from her mother and raised by gypsies. She was almost kidnapped by Quasimodo on orders of Claude Frollo but was rescued by Captain Phoebus. She rescues Pierre Gringoire from the truands by "Marrying" him and falls in love with Phoebus. In reality, Phoebus is a womanizer (Unlike his movie counterpart) and Phoebus is stabbed by Frollo during a meeting with Esmerelda and Esmerelda is blamed, convicted, and sentenced to death for Phoebus's attempted murder. She is approached by Frollo who claims to love her and offers to save her if she will love him. As she still loves Phoebus, (whom she mistakenly thinks loved her) she refuses. She is rescued by Quasimodo but captured by Frollo who turns her over to the authorities who hang her.
She is similar to Mamiya from the Fist of the North Star.