The difference between Frollo and Phoebus, and HOW they ACT on their physical attraction towards Esmeralda
Although Phoebus and Frollo both found Esmeralda physically attractive, as evidenced by their reactions of her dancing sexily at the Feast of Fools, it’s HOW they acted on their lust that separated the two. Frollo let his lustful feelings consume him, as evidenced both by his song “Hellfire,” and his extremely unhealthy obsession with finding Esmeralda, even if that meant burning down ALL of Paris to find her and make her his sexually; instead of taking responsibility for his own sexual feelings, he blamed Esmeralda both for “giving” them to him, and for his loss of self-control. Phoebus, on the other hand, had lustful feelings for her, BUT that didn’t prevent him from seeing Esmeralda’s kindness, wit, and strength. Unlike Frollo, Phoebus was able to control his sexual feelings and he didn’t feel any sort of guilt for falling for a Romani woman, since Phoebus fortunately does not share Frollo’s antiziganist views.
Basically all that fits into the "Chivalrous Pervert" trope as coined by TVTropes.org – you have Phoebus who “unlike some who ogle the ladies, actually cares about them as people” (in this case, he cares about Esmeralda), and then you have Frollo, “a rival in the form of an actually dangerous pervert who would go through the boundaries that the Chivalrous one would never consider crossing” (see the scene in the church where he grabs Esmeralda from behind, twists her arm, sniffs her hair, and then caresses her neck; and yes, you read right, he sexually assaults her in a CHURCH. A friggin’ church. A place of holiness! SMH.).
While Frollo saw Esmeralda as a demon sent to drag him to Hell by simply being “irresistibly sexy,” Phoebus, on the other hand, saw her as a PERSON, not a succubus. Yes, Phoebus had lustful feelings for Esmeralda but that’s because he’s…y’know…ALIVE; note that I didn’t say because he’s a “guy” because that only reinforces the damaging “boys will be boys” mentality.
Phoebus shows that it is absolutely possible to be sexually/physically attracted to someone without CHOOSING to objectify them nor to use said attraction as a justification to verbally demean a woman’s sexuality or other aspects about herself, or even rape her (Frollo, I’m talking to you on that!). To quote one IMDb user from a post about Esmeralda, "Esmeralda may have ”flirted” with him, but Frollo alone is responsible for his reaction and behavior afterwards." Therefore, MEN, not women, are responsible for how they physically/sexually react towards a female.
Furthermore, by saying that Esmeralda’s "flirting" with Frollo at the Festival is what caused her both to be sexually assaulted by Frollo in the church, and then to be coerced into having sex with him using fire (“Choose me or the fire”) is ignorant and problematic because by that logic, Phoebus would have done the SAME thing to her (God forbid!), since Esmeralda “flirted” with him using both her eyes and hips when he first met her at the cobblestone street corner. The real real crime here should not be a woman flirting and asserting her sexuality, but using “flirtation” and “female sexual assertiveness” to justify one’s crimes of rape and sexual assault (or in Frollo’s case, arson).
To quote Clopin, “What makes a monster and what makes a man?” I think one can deduce from the post that the “man” is Phoebus and the “monster” is Frollo.