Analysis of Themes in The Phantom of the Opera
The book I chose to write my report about was The Phantom of the Opera it was originally titled “Le Fantome de l ’Opera” it was written by a French author, Gaston Leroux. The Phantom of the Opera is a Gothic fiction romance novel which was published as a serialization in Le Gaulois in 1909 to 1910, then later published in English in 1911. The Phantom of the Opera takes place at the Paris Opera House in 1870. The story is centered on a love triangle between Christine Daae who is the female protagonist in this novel, The Phantom also known as Erik the male antagonists, and Raoul the Viscount of Chagny. Erik “The Opera Ghost” is willing to do anything for Christine love even if that means to kill for her, but the only other problem is that she is in love with her childhood friend Raoul.
The second theme of this novel is the power of love. The main romance is that Raoul loves Christine but Erik has the same feelings as well so he does sinister and maniacal things to show her he loves her. The book starts off with a prologue of how the phantom was brought about which includes diary entries, and lots of research. The narrative shifts over to the retirement party for the old managers, while understudy Christine performs which grabs Raoul, her childhood friend attention. Later on, the phantom has made his demands that Box Five is to be kept only for him and that twenty thousand francs are to be paid to him monthly. With the new managers brushing it off thinking it was joke receives a letter from the phantom stating that he’s anger. Towards the middle of the book Christine reaches out to Raoul and reveals to him that the Angel of Music, a spirit her father says will be watching over her. The phantom has sent another letter saying that Christine must be cast as the lead in Faust and that they keep Box Five empty. Again they ignore his demands.
Instead they cast Carlotta and reserves Box Five for themselves. The phantom causes Carlotta to lose her voice and the Opera Houses chandelier falls onto the audience. Christine is kidnapped by the Phantom he later tells her his name is Erik and he reveals his love for her. Christine grows curious about his mask so she removes it, to her knowledge is a deformed face shocks her. Since she seen his face he decides to keep her for the rest of her life, but afterward, let her leave if she remains faithful and agrees to marry him. Christine tells Raoul about what happened so Raoul does a secret engagement, oblivious Erik has been listening to them the whole time, angry he kidnaps Christine a second time and gives her an ultimatum either marry him or he’ll kill everybody including himself. Christine refuses but later changes her mind when she finds out that Erik has Kidnapped Raoul and the Persian and has locked them in a torture chamber. Later on, he lets them leave. Raoul and Christine have been reunited and Erik is about to die because of Love. Erik made Christine promise that she come back to visit him. They part with a farewell kiss on the forehead. Later on, Erik body has been discovered on the shore of the Caspian Sea. They buried him at the National Academy of Music stating that “it’s no ordinary skeleton”.
Erik had taken advantage of Christine because he knew that he could manipulate her knowing that she was an orphan. Her father told her he would send an Angel of Music to watch over and guide her while he’s dead. So when Christine had heard Erik’s voice she thought that he was her Angel of Music. He didn’t make it any better by helping her with music for months and telling her that she should love him. At one point he even told her to give him her soul. Later on, Christine’s goes to say “Tonight I gave you my soul, and I am dead.” It all worked just because as long as he keeps himself hidden behind a two-way mirror she couldn’t see him. And since she couldn’t see him and could only hear him she can only believe that he’s not a human but yet a spirit.
Erik wears a mask that hides his deformity and throughout the book, he shows why he alienated himself from society because of it, well that is until Christine showed him different. It’s mentioned in the book that his own mother wouldn’t kiss him but instead, rather he wear a mask. Because of this he ran away from home and begin to perform in the circus as a freak. He grew up not loved by anyone because of his appearance which sent him into a fit of rage and vengeance on society for turning their backs on him, but all that changed when Christine kissed his forehead. Erik said “I tore off my mask so as not to lose one of tears… and she did not run away!… And she did not die!… She remained alive, weeping over me, with me. We cried together! With everything that happened Erik had shown that he wasn’t just looking for love but more of acceptance. All his life he was despised based on appearance, but what he couldn’t get from other people he got from Christine. All it took was an act of kindness and acceptance for Erik to change his point of view on life. He went from being ruthless and maniacal to being generous, kind-hearted, and empathetic.
Throughout The Phantom of the Opera Gaston Leroux conveys the characters of Christine, Raoul, and Erik very vividly using symbolization and imagery. The book represents the difference between appearance and reality. The phantom hides behind a mask to show that’s he wants to be known as more of a powerful person, rather than who he really is. Reality can be really hard for people who want to be seen as “normal,” but come on who do you know in this world that’s “normal”?
Someone once said “Our uniqueness, our individuality, and our life experience molds us into fascinating being. I hope we can embrace that. I pray we may all challenge ourselves to delve into the deepest resources of our hearts to cultivate an atmosphere of understanding, acceptance, tolerance, and compassion. We are all in this together.
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