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Phantom of the Opera Research Paper, Unfinished

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The phantom of the opera is a long lived novel written by Gaston Leroux in the early 1900’s with a French background. This classic work enjoys worldwide fame as a tragic love story containing amazing special effects on film and on stage as well as stunning music. Gaston Leroux wrote the horror novel “Le Fantome de l’Opera,” published in 1911. Leroux had heard stories of ghosts haunting the Paris Opera House and decided to base a novel around these tales. He even boasted having researched the opera house and finding evidence of dead bodies in the cellars. After receiving only mixed reviews, the novel was run as a series of short chapters in newspapers with accompanying illustrations. This made the story more successful. Eventually, Universal Pictures became aware of the story, and in 1925, the company created the first film version of the novel under the title “The Phantom of the Opera.” The silent film created a star of Lon Chaney, who starred the tormented phantom. Some consider this early film version to be the most true to the novel.

However, the director changed the ending from one where the phantom dies of a broken heart to one where he attempts to escape with Christine, his young protégé and love interest, but instead becomes victim to an angry mob that kills him. Andrew Lloyd Webber was the creator of the most successful stage version of “The Phantom of the Opera” in the mid-1980s. The musical opened in 1986 at London’s Her Majesty’s Theatre as a huge success. “Phantom” won every major British theatre award, and since its opening, every seat has consistently been sold out. When the music from the theater version was released in London, it went straight to number 1 on the charts. The musical opened on Broadway in New York in January 1988 and has set many attendance records since that time.

In the theater version, Webber took the character of Phantom, created by Leroux as a menacing horror character, and turned him into more of a tragic, hopelessly in love character. “The Phantom of the Opera” found further success in 2004 with a Warner Brothers film adaptation released to huge success. This film adaptation was in the works since 1988, when Webber contacted Joel Schumacher, the eventual director of the film, about a possible adaptation for the big screen. Although they spoke of it from time to time over the years, not until 2002 did work began in earnest on the film adaptation. Webber had a large part in the development of the film adaptation. Though his principle role concerned the musical score of the film, he assisted in the development of plot lines that explained the histories of the main characters as well as some of the minor players such as dancers and stagehands.

One of the main moral teachings of the story is that love between two people cannot be forced. It also highlights the need for every human to be loved. These two concepts meet in the form of Erik (the Phantom), who has a fierce, one-sided and possessive love for Christine. For example, he says: “Know that I am built up of death from head to foot and that this is a corpse that loves you and adores you and will never, never leave you!” Erik’s form of love is contrasted with the mutually reciprocated love between Christine and Raoul. This story also encourages people to refrain from judging others based on their appearance. Although Erik has a facial deformity that caused him to be cast out by his parents, he is a highly intelligent and highly emotional human. Some of the characters come to recognize this fact and sympathize him. An example is the character of Madame Giry, who refuses to mistreat the Phantom and instead befriends him.

Sacrifice is a key moral teaching in “the Phantom of the Opera.” For example, when Christine realizes that her beloved Raoul has become trapped in Erik’s torture chamber; she agrees to marry him on the condition that he will release Raoul. Despite the fact that she has aversion toward the Phantom, she kisses him to show her commitment. Erik comes to realize that he too is willing to sacrifice in the name of love. He knows Christine does not really love him, despite his feelings for her, and allows her to leave. The story also teaches that finding courage in the face of adversity is an important human attribute. Raoul bravely attempts to rescue Christine when he learns of her abduction by Erik. Near the end of the story Christine displays courage when she saves Raoul and the Persian through her agreement to marry Erik. At the same time, Erik shows courage in his struggle to redeem his soul from isolation.

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