Monday, January 21, 2008

The esaays of the Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera is a novel by Gaston Leroux. It is the combination of both romance and misfortune.
Generally, the novel is about a man, who is also known as the phantom, requesting unreasonable things like money appearing in the Paris Opera House, also known as National Academy of Music.
In the beginning, the old manager of the Opera House has decided that he would retire and new managers came in. When the new managers came, the employees have stated that the Opera House has been hunted. They regard it as a joke and not believed them. When they read the memorandum-book in the Opera House, in red ink, it stated that the Box 5 would be reserved for the “Opera Ghost.” Also, they had to pay the ghost 20,000 francs. The new managers decide to not follow the instructions and soon afterwards, a scene shifter, died. The employees believed that it was the ghost’s doing, but the manager said it was a suicide and were determined not to do what the ghost has told them to do.
When Christine Daae was a young girl, her father told her stories about the Angel of Music who comes to the great artists. He also told her that when he dies, he would send the Angel of Music to her. Christine, who was one of the chorus girl hears the Angel of Music and begins to learn from him but in one condition. That condition was that she would never marry if she wishes to hear his voice. Thus, Christine was drawn more towards the Angel of Music and separated her from the others. By saying that he was the Angel of Music, the phantom was able to control Christine.
Eventually, Christine has fallen in love with her childhood friend, Raoul. The phantom was furious because he wanted Christine for himself and decided that Christine should live with him, underground while Raoul was trying to get Christine away from Erik (phantom). Christine was taken underground and Raoul finds her and Erik later blesses them and then he died.
In short, The Phantom of the Opera is the combination of romance and tragedy. Everything happened as the result of Erik’s feeling towards Christine and in the end, he was able to let go and bless her even though it hurts him to do so. Then he died.
Through out the novel, there is one protagonist in the novel, who is the phantom himself. The Opera Ghost is a hideously deformed musical genius, who hides in shadow, living beneath the Paris Opera House. Due to this kind of life, he became a killer. However, his life changed after falling in love with a young lady named Christine with whom he had been secretly giving singing lessons. Everything was going well until Raoul came.
The Opera Ghost was rumored to wear formal clothes and had death's head because the employees thought that Opera Ghost was really a ghost. A fireman had said that the Opera Ghost had the head of fire. There is no doubt about Erik being a murder, but on the contrary, these rumors were not true. Erik was a man who wears a mask to hide his deformed face. He was a musical genius, but one could also say that he was a mad man. He was malicious, volatile, dangerous and somewhat a bitter man. Erik repeated threats of catastrophe should the managers not pay him a monthly salary of 20,000 francs and Box Five reserved for him at every show. In addition to that, he was obsessed with Christine. He changed from a killer into a man, who was in love, just by having Christine near him. These changes crumbled as a new threat came. The menacing presence was named Raoul.
Raoul De Chagny is the antagonist in this novel. He was a childhood friend of Christine. When he saw her singing at the opera, he fell in love with her once again. He was the obstacle that Erik had to overcome. Raoul found out about Erik and Christine’s secrete lessons and how she thought that Erik was the Angel of Music sent from the heaven. When Erik saw that Raoul was trying to take Christine away from him, he tried to get to Christine, but she ran away after unmasking him. Raoul suggested that he and Christine should run away from Erik. Before that happened, Erik had to kidnap Christine during her performance. He lets her go after she promised to return and never to give her love to anyone else. She returns to him out of pity and Raoul followed her.
Erik changed by the end of the story. He was still in love with Christine, but after she showed Erik genuine sympathy and displayed her love for him by crying with him and not running away when he took off his mask. Her actions granted Erik a happiness he never thought possible. In despair, Erik releases Raoul and Christine and gave them his blessings to marry. He was willing to sacrifice his feelings for Christine just so that that she can be merry. The bliss that Christine gave him changed him forever. With that, he passed away.
All in all, Erik, would have never changed if it weren’t for the antagonist, Raoul. If Raoul weren’t there to make Erik envious towards him, Erik wouldn’t have received a moment of joy from Christine. Without Raoul, Erik wouldn’t have changed and the book wouldn’t have continued.
With that in mind, The Phantom of the Opera was set in the Opera House. Within the Opera House, the phantom lived in the darkness of the beneath the Opera House.
The Paris Opera House, also known as The National Academy of Music, was built in 1857 to 1874. During the process of building, it became necessary to pump underground water from the foundation ditch of the building, constructing a massive subterranean river. From then on, the phantom hides and lives in this shadow. In addition, this is where Christine sees Erik’s horribly deformed face and where Christine kissed him on his forehead later on which helps to change his mind on killing Raoul. This area also contains the “torture-chamber”. The climax of the novel has taken place in this very place. For example, like when Erik kidnaps Christine to the underground terrene and when Raoul comes to rescue her.
The Paris Opera House itself is the other setting. This is where Christine performed her skills for the first time by singing for the lead singer. This is when Raoul finds her and falls in love with her once again, like in their childhood. In addition to that, Christine received lessons from the “Angel of Music”, who taught her how to sing, in her dressing room. For that reason, she was able to sing the leading role so beautifully, which captured all the audiences’ attention. This is the very opera house where the employees have claimed to have seen the “Opera Ghost”.
The Phantom of the Opera takes place in these two major places. These two places are where the introduction, rising action, climax, and the falling action occurred.
Finally, the themes of the novel The Phantom of the Opera are the loneliness and the betrayal that comes from one word, love. Due to these themes, the novel was easy for readers to understand and relate to the novel since they have all experienced at least one of these two.
In generally, when people think of a romance novel, they tend to expect a happy ending. The Phantom of the Opera contains a love triangle: the phantom, Erik, loves Christine while Christine’s childhood friend, Raoul, loves her, too. Christine is stuck in the middle as she loves both, Raoul and Erik. Raoul’s feelings towards Christine are genuine. On the other hand, Erik’s feelings for Christine are not love; instead, it is an obsession. He doesn’t know the difference between love and obsession and thinks that his obsession towards Christine is love because he had never been loved. In the end, Erik loved Christine so much that he had to let her go and accept Raoul and Christine’s true feelings.
Along with that, loneliness is a very powerful emotion. Loneliness leads to desperation. This is what happened to Erik. He was so lonely and desperate that his obsession towards Christine got out of control. He wanted to be with someone so badly that he was ready to ruin someone’s life, in this case, Christine’s, just so that he can have a companion by forcing Christine to marry him. After realizing his mistake, he let Christine go, knowing that he wasn’t alone anymore.
In final consideration, everyone has experienced treachery or isolation at least once in his or her lifetime. Betrayal comes because someone has disappointed you. In The Phantom of the Opera, Christine has experienced duplicity when she found out that there is nothing angelic about Erik (Angel of Music). He was “neither an angel nor a genius.” Raoul also felt deceived when Christine started to avoid him and kept things from him.
To sum everything up, The Phantom of the Opera was a magnificent novel. It was an easy book to read since everyone can relate to it. The setting helped that mood of the story and similarly, the novel was compelled by the characters and the plot.


brave new world reader said...

I like your ideas and the way in which you displayed them although there were some points that were somewhat repetative and redundant. Try not to repeat yourself because it makes the original point lose it's value.

Overall good with originality!

Micah Schroeder

Rushingrapids said...

You need to work on your introduction, and the plot summary is a bit confusing, with emphasis placed on the wrong points in places. However, once you get into character discussion the essay improves dramatically. Your interpretation of the theme is mature and sensitive. Good job!
Mark: 5/6

Shadi said...

Wow! Good work, Jenny! I really like the way you described the themes since it was simply and elegantly put. However, your plot summary seemed a bit long. Next time you could focus on the main points.

Shadi S.