Heaven’s Light is a short, sweet ballad sung by Quasimodo, given hope for the first time in his life after receiving kindness from Esmeralda. He sings as he whittles away at a wooden carving of Esmeralda, seeing a new beauty in the Paris skyline. But Heaven’s Light’s main purpose is to juxtapose with the following number, Hellfire, the darkest, most complex and breathtaking Disney number you’re ever likely to hear.
The first is the performance of Tony Jay as Frollo, his deep, intimidating voice iconic in this role. Jay fills Frollo’s words with hypocrisy and hate, spitting his venom at Esmeralda’s rejection, but daring to make himself sound like an innocent victim as the hooded figures surrounding him chant their accusations. They are the second factor. These figures chant in Latin as Frollo sings, and the translation of their words adds yet another layer to an already rich scene. As Frollo cries, “it’s not my fault! I’m not to blame!” to them, they reply with “mea culpa, mea maxima culpa”, meaning “through my fault, through my most grievous fault.” Hellfire is an incredibly crafted number, it’s only fault being that, through being so complex and clever, it may have flown over the heads of some of the children watching, but for adults, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more intelligent and brilliant Disney song.