Victor Hugo

Masonic Biographies

Victor Hugo

Born: Friday, 26 February 1802
Died: Friday, 22 May 1885


Victor Hugo was an author, poet, politician, and playwright whose legacy uplifted humanity out of the darkness of ignorance and into the Light.


Poet, politician, and playwright, Brother Victor Hugo believed in the inherit beauty and worth of all mankind. He sought to lift the masses out of the darkness of ignorance and vanquish injustice by promoting liberty, equality, and fraternity. As the leader of the Romantic literary movement, Brother Hugo creating a lasting legacy as one of the most well-known and beloved writers of his day.

A humanitarian who utilized the written word to influence hearts and minds, Victor supported social causes to improve the lives of the disadvantaged, including ending social injustice and abolishing capital punishment. Hugo wrote:

“There is a point, moreover, at which the unfortunate and the infamous are associated and confounded in a single word, a fatal word, Les Misérables; whose fault is it? And then, is it not when the fall is lowest that charity ought to be the greatest?”

As key components to liberating the masses, Brother Hugo advocated for freedom of the press and self-governance by the people. Every individual was worth saving and their salvation was a possibility, in Hugo's opinion, as long as the entire society reformed. What did he request for these individuals foundering in darkness? Light. Brother Hugo stated:

They seem not men, but forms fashioned of the living dark… What is required to exorcise these goblins? Light. Light in floods. No bat resists the dawn. Illuminate the bottom of society.

Although records of Hugo's Masonic career are scarce, his writings contain numerous veiled references to Freemasonry and his participation in the craft. Victor wrote:

God manifests himself to us in the first degree through the life of the universe, and in the second degree through the thought of man. The second manifestation is not less holy than the first. The first is named Nature, the second is named Art.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Les Misérables, and The Legend of the Ages all contain Masonic ideals, concepts, and principles. Legend is a collection of poems by Victor Hugo, conceived as an immense depiction of the history and evolution of humanity – from darkness into Light. Hugo's characters aspire towards the ideal of perfection, a seemingly impossible dream is given wings through his masterful writings. Jean Valjean's fortitude against almost insurmountable odds, Javert's justice, or Cosette's enduring faith, each is an example of a Masonic virtue personified. Soldiers of the revolution, Brother Hugo's characters march diligently towards that glorious victory – overthrowing tyrants, trampling evil, developing virtues, and discarding vice. These legendary stories populated with archetypal figures are Hugo's immortal gift to humanity, providing examples of divine virtues for mankind's enrichment and emulation.

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"If I have seen further than
others, it is by standing
upon the shoulders of giants."

- BROTHER ISAAC NEWTON

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