Nintendo’s game creators are not afraid to reference works of Literature and Philosophy within their work. Think back to Skyward Sword in the Ancient Cistern, Link must climb the thread to escape the grasps of the zombie moblins around him. This is an allusion to the story of A Path to Paradise. You can find this allusion as well as many more in that same setting here.
If Nintendo has done that in Skyward Sword, then also there’s no surprise that they did it in their previous games.
Dampé, our favorite grave keeper and reoccurring character in The Legend of Zelda is said to have a scary face and figure that frightens all who meet him. Because of this, he tends to be a loner. He hides in his hut and only comes out at nighttime when all people are away. He has a soft demeanor and hides at the sight of monsters.
This character sounds strangely familiar to a tale written by Victor Hugo called, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, where Quasimodo is the scary hunchback who no one acknowledges because of his deformities. He was hidden away in a bell tower for most of his life and was kind to all who met him, though Frollo, his adopted father, often forced him to commit violent acts.
Notice Dampé’s name is similar to the word Dame. Perhaps this was a play on where Quasimodo had lived.
In appearance, both men are hunched over and have a bulge on their left eye. Their face shapes are almost identical: a misshapen jaw, ears placed in awkward portions of their faces, jagged teeth, and raggedy clothing. People believed them both to be a monster when really they were the frailest creatures to ever exist, even being easily spooked by others.
Depending on the game, Dampé is either a graveyard overseer or a stone worker (Minish Cap). Quasimodo watched over a bell tower, but the man he was based off of in real life was also a stone worker.
They both are met with deaths by the end of their story lines that fulfill them more than they ever were in life. Quasi died for love, his bones wrapping around his lover so tight that when they separated they disintegrated. Dampé was able to become himself 100% in the afterlife, emanating confidence in himself as he raced Link to find his treasure.
In Majora’s Mask when Link refuses to help Dampé under the Graveyard, he mentions a “current wife”
“That’s how I courted my current wife, you know.” –Majora’s Mask
Why did Dampé refer to her as a current wife and not just his wife? Was there a woman before her? In the Disney version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Quasimodo does not pass away. Instead he goes on to meet Madellaine, a circus performer, and falls in love with her and her with him. Maybe the woman before his “current” wife was his Esmeralda.
One more eerie similar aspect of these two was Quasimodo, after Esmeralda’s death, went on to find her body after it had been thrown during her execution. He found her corpse lying on the ground and held her till he met his own demise. Dampé, in both of the N64 Legend of Zelda games, as well as DS ones, is forever to be a graves keeper, constantly surrounded by death. Perhaps though Dampé is searching for treasure, he is also captured by the lost love he knew in another life, searching for her for all eternity.
Is this theory believable? Leave your opinions in the comments below!
Want to check this theory or back it up for yourself? Purchase the books and games here!
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (Wordsworth Collection) (Wordsworth Classics)
Nintendo Selects: The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D
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