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Giborne’s announcement to the impatient crowd causes them to become more rowdy. In fact, they react in such a way that the actor actually becomes frightened by their anger. A tall, slender man demands that the play begin immediately, without the Cardinal. In response, Giborne takes his place on stage to commence the play.
In the prologue to the play, Labor is wedded to Trade and Clergy to Nobility. According to the story, these two happy couples are joint possessors of a magnificent golden dolphin, which they wish to hand over to the most beautiful woman on earth. Accordingly, they travel through the world in search of this beauty. Finally, they land in Paris.
The play is suddenly interrupted by the loud sounds of a nearby beggar. The playwright, Pierre Gringoire, is greatly displeased at the interruption of his play, which he seems to regard as a masterpiece. He fusses until the play resumes. It is not long after this first interruption that the Cardinal arrives, sending the audience into chaos again.
This chapter characterizes the audience of Gringoire’s play as rowdy and impatient. They are also easily distracted, as evidenced by their attention to costume and prop rather than to the actual elements of the play. They are also distracted by the arrival of the Cardinal and by the sounds of the beggar, who will become an important character in the novel.
Through exaggeration, Hugo creates a humorous scene in this second chapter. The figure of "Jupiter" is so frightened by the unruly audience that he worries he will be hanged; and Pierre Gringoire, the intelligent dramatist, makes an incredible fuss over his play being interrupted.