Nature of a Phantom

phnatomhome I’ve been working on an idea for a post, so here I finally am.



My article for discussion being that of The Phantom of the Opera.  The Book, not the musical, mind you.  I do enjoy the soundtrack, though the story from the Musical Rendition varies from that of Gastron Leroux original novel. Though both contain similar plots, I find the original novel to be somewhat in touch with realism, as it focuses more on the Phantom’s human side and origins than the film does, capturing the truly human aspect: The Nature of the Phantom.

I am going to avoid a plot summary, and simply talk about the Phantom’s character.  The story explains that he was born with a deformation of the face, causing his mother to be horrified at his face, and forcing him to wear a mask to hide his face from the world.  He runs away as a young boy, despised wherever he goes for his horrific face, until he finds his way into the hands of gypsies where he runs a ‘freak’ show as ‘The Living Dead.”  Eventually he flees the world as best he can, inhabiting the Paris Opera House, where he makes it his home and lair. 

Now having a brief history of the character, I will focus on his nature through the  Phantom of the Opera story.  Where he falls in love with the singer Christine Daae, and poses as the Angel of Music (the angel Christine’s father promised to send her after his death, in order to teach her to sing,) alluring her into a trance like seduction with his voice.  Here we find the Phantom (or Erik as we may call him, by his applied name,) caught in between selfish desires and emotions, in a world which has readily despised and hated him.  He sees Christine as the one who can console his hurts, and heal his sufferings, so he seduces her love with his voice.  The story explains Christine’s battle against the Phantom’s calling (which she deems as the Angel of Music whom her father sent), and her love for the Viscount Raoul de Chagny, a childhood friend, as the plot reaches its climax in an confrontation of the love triangle.

phantomlairBut focusing less on the actual story, I would like to discuss the rather sad story of why he became the Phantom.  His story of his tragic deformity is enough to relate the simplest idea.  He was an outcast.  Despised, loathed, feared, hated.  Yet, despite   receiving all this from people, he was still human, still had a heart…still needed what every person needs.  Love.  I’m not talking in a romantic sense, but of the idea that man, being a social being, must interact with others, love, and be loved. 

Having a lack of this necessary love, particularly in his childhood, we see the monster emerge in his later years.  That lack of love turned into a hate towards people.  And strikingly enough, this example can be found in any and every form of life.  Love is the binding force and motivation in human nature.  If one is not loved, then he does not know the true essence of what life is! 

“Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up” – 1 Corinthians 13:4

True love consists of charity.  That is, sacrificial love: Between parents and a child, a husband and a wife.  It is the selfless giving of oneself for the happiness and wellbeing of another.

This being said, we find the Phantom’s character completely void of this love (charity.)  His actions towards Christine are of a selfish love and affection, as he uses the power  of his singing voice to manipulate her to his side.  He kills those who challenge his plans without thought, a monster indeed without second glance.

But despite this dark side, he has a change of heart at the end of the story.  When forcing Christine to choose between loving him and letting Raoul live, or killing Raoul if she refuses him, Christine makes a bold move, cries out of compassion for the Phantom’s hurts in life, and kisses him.  The act of kindness, namely the fact that she kissed his disfigured face without hate and loathing for it moves his heart to let both Christine and Raoul live.  The changed Erik then vanishes into the dark passageways of the Opera house, never to be seen again.

Love has the power to change.  We see here, how lack of love was what wrought such a monster of a man.  Yet the simple application of that unselfish act of love on Christine’s behalf towards the man behind the deformed monster, brought the Phantom’s true self back to reality.

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About Xavier

I am currently an English Major and Writing Tutor. I love reading, writing, and enjoy creative and free thinking.
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5 Responses to Nature of a Phantom

  1. Puna Girl says:

    Very interesting post, Master Paul. I myself have thought a lot about the human side of the Phantom; the surprisingly real character of the book, not the rather over romanticized character of the musical. I agree with you on most points, but am not so sure about his attempt to emotionally seduce Christine. His love and feeling of need for love are selfish to a point. His horrible experiences with humanity seemed to leave him with a façade of cynicism (eg. putting himself on display in a freak show). Eventually, he hides himself from the disgust and hatred of world in the basement of an opera house. Christine is the only person Erik has ever met who did not find him revolting, the only person to show him kindness. I think it is more of a need for companionship, a groping attempt to escape from utter loneliness, which causes him to go over the edge rather than lust. Through Christine’s final act of kindness Erik’s better feelings prevail and he lets she and Raoul go, free to be happy themselves. The Phantom in the end makes the ultimate sacrifice; he lets go of no only the woman he loves, but of the person who showed him compassion in his bitter loneliness.

  2. Oliver says:

    Just dropping by.Btw, you website have great content!

  3. Puna Girl,
    I have to say, that we both hold the same opinions about Phantom. He was looking to escape his lonliness, and the hatred and contempt the world had for him. But in seeking to be loved, he went to far. If it was true love, we would not have had the final scene with Phantom, Christine, and Raoul, in which Erik threatens Raoul’s life if Christine refuses to love him.

    So, basically speaking, yes, it is understandable that he wanted to be loved. He needed to be loved. But do the ends justify the means? No. He channeled that need into something evil. Hence, creating the ‘monster.’ Though he was still, every part, human.

  4. Miss Angela Rose says:

    :) hmmm the girl who first showed you this movie must be a genius. I wonder who it could be….

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