Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Phantom or Raoul? Eros or...

I do not understand why some elements are torturous for some and a source of pure energy and excitement for others. Especially those that are unpredictable and outrageously burdensome. Perhaps I can understand, somewhat, as I know people who think writing, for any reason, is outrageously burdensome, while it gives me a source of excitement.

If anyone has ever read, heard, or listened to The Phantom of the Opera, he or she is most likely to wonder what happened to Christine Daae at the end of the adventure in the Paris Opera house.

Because I love Sarah Brightman's voice, Andrew Lloyd Webber's music, and even the movie version of Miss Daae, I decided I should read the book. And I did. What was strange, however, was that while I looked at it from a Christian worldview the entire time, I was on Raoul's side only the first three quarters of Leroux's novel.  Another book, however, helped me discover the truth and message of the real Phantom.

The last quarter I was won over by the Phantom. Even though I did not want to be. Leroux even blatantly stated “...why is it that we all cheer on the Phantom...?” (My quoting is not exact, but pretty close: I'll find citing later).

So I actually thought about it for three days. And nights. Okay, I did get sleep, but I was really wondering why I had, for the majority of the book, rooted for the decent fellow, only to switch my loyalty to the dark mystery.

When I finished The Phantom of the Opera to the last triumphant chords of “Destiny” on the Prince of Persia soundtrack, I wondered: What had swayed my mind from Raoul's side to that of the Phantom?

Thanks to C. S. Lewis, all my problems involving the Opera Ghost dissolved. When about twenty minutes of light remained in the sky, I ran outside and swung while finishing Chapter Two of Lewis' The Four Loves. Reading jovially, I was caught unawares by a passage I did not understand at first. (Lewis' book includes six chapters; an introduction, and a chapter on each of the following; Likings and Loves for the Sub-Human, On Affection, On Friendship, On Eros, and On Charity).

The end of the second chapter read:
[affection]...can also be felt for bodies that claim more than a natural affection...Here it will be enough to say that Heavenly Society is also an earthly society. Our (merely natural) patriotism towards the latter can very easily borrow the transcendent claims of the former and then use then to justify the most abominable means (Lewis, 49).

I realized that the only reason I had turned from Raoul's side to that of O.G. was because of my sinful love for man; loving your fellow man is not wrong, but when it is loved to the extent of twisting what is right, it is not. Love merely for the fallen man is sin nature, and is natural, it just must be beaten down.

So. The Phantom. Bad or not? The fact that he was disfigured did not make him bad, nor did his surroundings or environment stamp evil upon him. He chose to do what he wished.

But then how could he love? The fact that he died from a broken heart – does that not mean he had feelings, love, life?


But...he was still wrong. That one love, nay, obsession over his own love for Christine and her voice does not, and will never, erase all the wrongs he did before. This is Eros love. “It's all for love, it must be right.”


That's what's wrong with The Notebook, The Phantom, The Iliad, Anna Karenina, Tristan and Isolde, and many, many other “great works”. It's all for love. So it's okay. No one else matters except us. It would be better to die together than spend the rest of our lives apart. We love.

Eros is not the ultimate evil except when it becomes a total god, as in the aforementioned works.

Eros is scary. It makes you change your mind. The Phantom may not seem that bad until you notice that his name is Erik (which is a little too close to Eros). Loving someone does not erase bad deeds (or worse, what could be about to be done). Unless that someone is God, and you love his grace that washes sin away, love can't erase evil. Only God's love can cover a multitude of sins.

Christine should have quit, run away, started a new life, and married the Persian.


  1. THE PERSIAN!!! XD But did she love him? Does the heart ever follow should'ves?

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