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The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera is a novel written by French writer Gaston


Leroux. The novel is partly inspired by historical events at the Paris Opera during
the nineteenth century. Also, the novel has been succsesfully adapted into various
film and stage adaptations most notale of which is Andrew Webber’s 1986
musical. Beeing based on the french novel ”de Fantome de l’opera”, the musical’s
main charcter is Christine Daae, a beautiful soprano, that unfortunately becomes
the obsession of a desfigured and misterious man, who lives in a secret labyrinth
beneath the Opera Garnier. It is the longest running show in Broadway history by
a wide margin, and celebrated its 10,000th Broadway performance on 11 February
2012, the first production ever to do so.

The Plot
There are rumors that the opera house is haunted by a phantom who makes
himself known by sending letters to the managers and by causing disturbances. On
the retirement gala for the old opera managers, opera singer Christine attracts the
attention of her childhood acquaintance, Raoul.
One night during a performance of Faust, with the resident prima
donna, Carlotta, playing the female lead, the Phantom causes Carlotta to lose her
voice and the chandelier to fall into the audience.
Christine is kidnapped by the masked phantom; he tells her his name is Erik and
reveals his love for her. When Christine unmasks the phantom out of curiosity, his
ugliness shocks her. The phantom decides to keep Christine prisoner for the rest of
her life, but then he allows her to leave after she promises to wear his ring and
remain faithful to him. Christine later tells Raoul that she was kidnapped; Raoul
promises to run away with her, both unaware that Erik has been listening to their
conversation.
During a production of Faust, Erik kidnaps Christine again and gives her an
ultimatum: marry him or he will blow up the entire opera house. Christine refuses,
but then she finds out that Erik has kidnapped Raoul as well as the Persian (Erik's
old acquaintance) and has trapped them inside a torture chamber. In order to save
them, as well as the occupants of the opera house. Christine decides to stay with
the Phantom and tells him that he is not alone. She kisses him passionately. At this
moment the Phantom realizes that Christine truly loves him, but his horrible
actions have ruined any chance they have together. In an act of selflessness, he
frees both Christine and Raoul. She gives the ring back to the Phantom who sadly
tells Christine that he loves her. Christine forces herself to leave with Raoul in the
boat. She looks back at the Phantom sadly, knowing that she loves him.
Heartbroken, the Phantom destroys the mirrors and escapes through a secret
passage just before the mob shows up. Meg Giry finds only his mask.

The scene then switches back to 1919. The elderly gentleman now known to be
Raoul leaves the monkey music box on Christine's grave. He looks down and sees
that the Phantom has left a rose tied with a black ribbon (his trademark) and the
ring that he gave to Christine: the Phantom still loves her. Raoul sadly looks at it
knowing that Christine truly loved the Phantom.

I think that the deeper meaning behind this musical has to do with the theory
of deconstructing of one’s soul. This might sound a bit dramatic, but it actually
doesn’t mean destroying someone’s beliefs or principles, because in some ways
people never change, they just become more of who they really are. The perfect
example of this theory are Erik and Christine. In her desire to be with him and love
for him, she slowy and unintentionally deconstrcuts herself, not getting anything
positive in exchange, their love begging to look more and more like a possesion
than what it is truly supposed to mean. Another concept I’d like to adress is
Identity displacement. When two people love eachother, but they have very
different personalities, they tend to influence one other so much that they lose the
magic they had in the beginning. For example, when Chirstine looks in the mirror,
she doesn’t see herself, she sees Erik. Returning to the possesion I mentioned
earlier, at the end of the play, Erik captures Christine and makes her choose
between her two love interests and she chooses to stay with him, not seeing that
she cannot be happy anymore in this relationship. Realising what she doesn’t, Erik
shows mercy in the end and frees Christine, showing he loved her so much he
cared more about her happiness and regainig her true personality than he cared
about himself. He loved her so much he was able to let her go.