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Differences between the book and the musical “The Phantom of the Opera”

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  1. Choose one of the following with which you are familiar: a film that is a remake of a previous film, a novel that is a response to an existing novel, or the staging of a play you have read. Analyze the differences between the two versions and argue how the adapted version adds meaning to the original. Support your argument with evidence from both versions. 

Here are just some of the differences: In the movie/play: The story starts in 1911 when the contents of the Paris Opera House are being auctioned off After the auction, the story flashes back to the opera’s golden days during the rehearsal of ‘Hannibal’ – a performance meant to be a grand opening scene with elaborate costumes and dancers. The stagehand Joseph Buquet is killed before the end of the 1st act (halfway into the musical). The new managers of the Opera House are introduced as Monsieurs Fermin and Andre. The former director was named Lefevre Christine gets her first chance to sing at the opera because Carlotta the lead soprano refuses to sing anymore after one of the props “accidentally” fall during the rehearsal. Christine tells her best friend, blond-haired Meg Giry, that she was able to receive singing lessons from her tutor “The Angel of Music.” When Raoul, the Viscount de Chagny, hears Christine sing during her debut performance he says that she is “no longer the gawkish girl” he once knew but does not explain when or how they met. There is no mention of Raoul’s older brother, the Count de Chagny The phantom is referred to only as “The Phantom” The Phantom takes Christine to his underground chambers on a boat. Because the passages are so vast Erik takes Christine first on a white horse, then on a boat. The Phantom’s face is disfigured only on one side, hence the half mask which has become a trademark of the musical. In fact, the rest of his face even looks handsome. The Phantom is a musical genius – a composer and singer. The famous scene of the chandelier crashing on to the stage happens after the phantom sees Raoul and Christine pledge their love in the rooftop of the Opera House (at the end of the 1st act) The chandelier crashes closer to the end when the Phantom kidnaps Christine. Carlotta loses her voice after something was put in her throat spray. The Phantom kidnaps Christine during the portrayal of Don Juan Triumphant – a score written by the Phantom but meant to be performed as part of the musical as well. Madame Giry, the mother of Christine’s best friend Meg Giry, is the ballet instructor who takes Raoul to The Phantom’s chambers to find Christine. Madame Giry plays a major role as the one who rescues the phantom as a child from being abused in a traveling circus and lets him live under the Opera House. She is also the one who takes Raoul to The Phantom’s chambers to find Christine. Madame Giry leads Raoul straight to The Phantom’s chambers. The phantom asks Christine to marry him or he will hang Raoul. Christine chooses Raoul Christine kisses the phantom. He is moved with emotion, so much so that he lets Christine and Raoul go. She gives the Phantom back his ring before leaving. The phantom disappears leaving only his mask.

Fast forward to the present time, Raoul, now old and on a wheelchair, visits his wife’s grave and sees a rose with the Phantom’s ring on the tombstone signifying that he is still alive and had always loved Christine during all those years.

In the book: There was no such auction. The novel opens with the author claiming that Erik, the “Phantom of the Opera”, was a real person. There was no such show or rehearsal. The stagehand Joseph Buquet is killed as soon as the story opens on Christine’s first night to sing at the opera. The new directors are named Armand Moncharmin and Fermin Richard, while the there were actually two former directors Debienne and Poligny. Christine was given the chance to sing because Carlotta was sick (of bronchitis). At her debut performance, Christine is considered by the public as a brilliant singer. Aside from these lessons from her tutor, she grew up singing at street performances alongside her father who was a fiddler while traveling all over Sweden.

Meg is not blond-haired but dark-haired. In fact, she is not portrayed as Christine’s best friend at all. The book details Christine’s childhood and how she met Raoul. After traveling through Sweden, Christine and her father move to the French countryside where she is seen by Raoul and they become friends. They listen to stories told by her father of ‘Little Lotte’ and the Angel of Music. Philippe, the Count de Chagny, plays a major role as Raoul’s older brother who dotes on Raoul and brings him to the theater where he hears Christine sing for the first time. The phantom is referred to as “Erik” throughout the book. Erik takes Christine first on a white horse, a prop used in the opera house, then on a boat. Erik’s entire head is horribly disfigured. His skin is yellow and the skull is exposed. The absence of a nose is grotesque. In fact, his face is described as a “living corpse” or a “living skull.” Aside from his musical talents, Erik is also a brilliant inventor, actor, ventriloquist, artist, magician, and architect. The chandelier crashes before Raoul and Christine meet at the rooftop after the new directors ignore the Phantom’s request to keep Box 5 empty and to keep Carlotta from singing during a performance. After Carlotta loses her voice in her performance of Faust, it crashes onto to the audience, (not on to the stage as in the musical) killing the woman who was to replace Madame Giry as the attendant of box 5 and injures several others. Carlotta “croaks” during her performance. Erik used ventriloquism to throw his voice and make it sound as if the “croak” is coming from Carlotta. There was no such performance. Don Juan Triumphant is mentioned only as a project that Erik was working on. Erik kidnaps Christine during one of the performances of Faust after which she and Raoul were planning to run away together. Madame Giry is but a box attendant in charge of leaving the phantom’s salary in Box 5 for him. She also fetches his footstool for him. For these small services, the Phantom tips her. It is the character referred to as “The Persian”

It was the man referred to as “The Persian” who rescues Erik from execution. Erik came to the Opera House already as an adult. Later the Persian discovers his way into his lair through the passages underneath. He is the one who later helps Raoul find his way into his lair to rescue Christine. On the way to Erik’s underground lair, Raoul and The Persian pass through an elaborate maze of passages, pivoting trap doors operated by complex systems of springs and counterweights, and a torture chamber with walls of mirrors, all devised by Erik. There is also a fiery head and strange shadows. This part of the story actually takes up until the following day. Erik lets Christine choose between “the grasshopper and the scorpion”. The scorpion means she will marry him, while the grasshopper means he will blow up the opera house using gunpowder, killing them all including Raoul and The Persian and the audience watching the show above. Christine chooses the scorpion, then she realizes too late that this choice will kill Raoul who almost drowns so she pleads with the Phantom to save him. Erik kisses Christine and she lets him do this without flinching. He is moved with emotion, so much so that he lets Christine and Raoul go. Christine leaves still wearing Erik’s ring. Erik kills himself after Christine and Raoul leave for the north. He asks Christine to return when she hears he has died, and to bury him in secrecy, buried with him the ring he had given her. Later, when she heard he has died, she returned and did as he asked. The writer tells us this is how he knows the skeleton that he found was Erik’s because the body had the ring.

  1. Read the following excerpt from Jonathan Swift’s ‘A Modest Proposal’:

I do therefore humbly offer it to public consideration, that of the hundred and twenty thousand children, already computed, twenty thousand may be reserved for breed, whereof only one fourth part to be males; which is more than we allow to sheep, black cattle, or swine; and my reason is, that these children are seldom the fruits of marriage, a circumstance not much regarded by our savages, therefore, one male will be sufficient to serve four females. That the remaining hundred thousand may, at a year old, be offered in sale to the persons of quality and fortune, through the kingdom, always advising the mother to let them suck plentifully in the last month, so as to render them plump, and fat for a good table. A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends, and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt, will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.

I have reckoned upon a medium that a child just born will weigh 12 pounds, and in a solar year, if tolerably nursed, increaseth to 28 pounds.

I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title to the children.

How does the author’s word choice in this excerpt implies a message other than the one explicitly stated? Analyze specific phrases within the excerpt and explain how they help the writing to function as satire. Support your answer with evidence from this excerpt and from your general knowledge of ‘A Modest Proposal.’ (10 points)

Swift knows that there’s something rotten in the state of Ireland, and it’s not the food. Nope. In A Modest Proposal, Swift is calling out the fat-cat landlords who stuff themselves silly as their tenants starve to death in the streets. Here’s the problem: those same wealthy jerks were also the ones reading Swift’s work. After all, the poor people were too busy figuring out how to survive to learn the alphabet. So Swift includes plenty of examples of suffering to clue his readers into exactly what’s going on in Ireland. Swift tries to spur rich readers to action by providing both sickening examples of suffering and a ludicrous solution since he knows that facts alone are ineffective. A common line of thought in Swift’s day said that a country’s riches were its people. By the end of A Modest Proposal, the narrator seems to suggest the opposite: the only way the Irish can contribute to their country is by dying.

  1. Discuss two themes in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. How does the author develop these two themes over the course of the play? Be sure to include specific examples from the play to support your answer. 

In The Tempest, magic is a dazzling art form that infuses the play with a sense of wonder and a whole lot of spectacle. This lends itself to a concept developed throughout The Tempest—magic is a craft not unlike that of the playwright. Although Prospero uses magic to control the natural and the supernatural worlds, the play also suggests his art is distinct from the kind of black magic practiced by the witch Sycorax.

Is man more ‘noble’ in a natural state than in a state of civilization? The Tempest returns to this question over and over again—in its portrayal of the ambiguous ‘monster’ Caliban and in Gonzalo’s utopian speech about the ideal state of the island. Throughout the play, Shakespeare also asks whether a man can be at one with nature, or whether he is destined to make whatever he touches unnatural.  

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