Author's Note: When I was very young, my mother had bought me the movie, "The Phantom of The Opera". When I was younger, I didn't understand half of what was even going on, but the music in this movie just captivated my heart and my spirit. As I kept watching it through my life, I understood the story line and the emotion that is just poured out into this movie. The Phantom of the Opera has been in my family since the first musical was performed in 1986, when my mother saw it in London and New York with her mother. This piece is based off of the 2004 movie adaption and not the musical adaption. (I know there are many differences.) I wrote this piece to meet my symbolism goal. Please enjoy!
I have been watching a ridiculous amount of the movie, “The Phantom of the Opera”, lately. It’s just a very pure and intimate movie that it captivates your whole mind set. So much happens in this movie and it exclaims a whole story behind the strange affair which is the phantom of the opera of the Paris Opera house in 1870. I will set the stage to show the symbolism within this story, but you have to see it to believe it.
Christine Daae is an orphaned ballet student in the Paris Opera house at the age of 17, living in the dormitories of the opera house. When her father was dying she was only seven years old and her father said to her, “When I am in heaven child, I will send the Angel of Music to you.” Every night she has been visited by the angel who teaches her to sing. She is anointed with the opportunity to sing lead in the opera and the angel is pleased. This mythical man ,while only wearing half of a mask on his face, appears in the shadows and claims to be her angel of music. He takes her into his lair and shows her a whole new world of music and darkness. This man is the Phantom of The Opera.
Christine’s childhood friend, Raoul, hears her sing and immediately falls in love with her just like they had when they were young. Christine feels the same way. The phantom takes it as a threat and knows he loves Christine more than Raoul. The phantom tortures the opera house and sends them an opera to perform in his name. To protect Christine from the phantom, Raoul forces her to perform the opera so they can capture the phantom once and for all. She performs his play, “Don Juan”, and the phantom secretly takes the place of Don Juan in the performance. During the last note of their duet, Christine rips off the phantom’s mask to show everyone who he truly is. He kidnaps her while Raoul comes to find her. The phantom threatens to kill Raoul if Christine doesn’t marry the phantom. As a result, Christine kisses the phantom to save Raoul's life and they are both set free. The phantom knows he wants Christine to be happy so she lets her be with Raoul. The phantom never stops loving Christine.
The symbolism in this story is tremendous and the phantom shows most of it. When Christine first performs, the phantom sends her a red rose with a black ribbon as a sign that he is very pleased with her. As she sings her duet exclaiming her love for Raoul, she drops the rose as a sign that she loves Raoul more than the phantom. The phantom decides that he will never stop until Christine feels the same way about him as he does her.
When the phantom first appears to Christine in the flesh, he is wearing a white mask on only one side of his face. This also exclaims why he is banished to the labyrinth within the depths of the opera house, he has a birth defect on only one side of his face. This forces him to live in the shadows so nobody can see who he really is underneath the mask. With the mask on, he is a swift phantom who can do whatever he wants to the opera house, but with the mask off, he is helpless, defenceless, not worth of Christine’s love.
After she is brought to the phantom’s lair for the first time, she faints at the sight of a wedding dress that the Phantom had made for her. A small music box, with the figure of a monkey, wakes her up with the sweet instrumental of the song “Masquerade”. The music box that the Phantom has made, exclaims that he does have a gentle side to his dark and scary appearance.
During the time when Christine and Raoul were falling in love, he proposes to her. Christine knows that the phantom will not approve of this and will hurt her if she accepts. She does not wear the ring around her finger, but around her neck to show that she is not officially Raoul’s. “It’s an engagement, not a crime. Christine what are you afraid of?”, Raoul says as he still does not know about the phantom. As the phantom makes an entrance to their masquerade ball, he rips the ring off of Christine’s neck. “Your chains are still mine. You belong to ME!”, the phantom yells out of disappointment. The phantom isn’t losing Christine that easily.
Immediately after Christine rips off the mask of the phantom, the phantom grabs her and cuts the ropes to the grand chandelier that hangs above the opera house. As it smashed it starts the entire opera house on fire. The phantom smashed the chandelier in a sense that if things didn’t go his way, “Things beyond their wildest imagination will occur.”
This movie has an amazing storyline and even more amazing music, I believe that is why I watch it so much. The love triangle, if you will, shows so much emotion and raw passion that it makes this musical even better. The phantom knows that his love for Christine is infinite and will never end.