The Phantom Of The Opera Essay

1470 words - 6 pages

The Phantom of the Opera is a novel written by Gaston Leroux. The novel takes

place in Paris. The exact time is unknown but would be around 1910. The reviews from

the critics are very different. Although Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera has

not generally been highly commended by critics, many would agree that there are several

elements that prove Leroux to be a talented writer. One of the strongest elements in the

novel is the narrator's voice. The narrator is on a quest, starting out with the question of

whether the opera ghost was real and is trying to find evidence in order to reach a

conclusion. He takes the reader behind the scenes of the opera. He does this with the

themes of appearance and reality. He also uses other themes such as horror and

innocence. Another element of this novel is Leroux's sense of scene. He had a sense

of mystery while visiting the Paris Opera House, and thus presented culture from it.

Themes play an important role in most novels. The Phantom of the Opera is no

Exception. There are four themes in the novel. Appearance and reality are two themes

that are contrasting. The mask that Erik wears separates his appearance from actual

reality. “When he is wearing his mask, Christine can believe that he is a poor,

misunderstood man who has just not been given the attention he deserves. When he

represents himself to her as the spirit of music, she responds to his musical gift and really

does see him as angelic” (Newark). When she sees his face though, she is so terrified that

she can never think fondly of him again. “In addition to the Phantom’s looks, however,

his whole existence is one big charade. He is greatly gifted, but his talents are in making

voices seem to appear where no one is actually talking; incoming and going without being

seen, in overhearing conversations that seem to be private; and in making people see

things that they think are impossible” (Newark). Horror is another important theme. “The

most distinct horror device is Erik’s face. Though he is described as having a disease, its

manifestation gives him the exact semblance of a skull, so that even as a young man he

was able to travel to county fairs and bill himself as the living dead man” (Newark). The

last theme is innocence. “The phantom’s anger with the society that has rejected him is

balanced in this novel with the simple innocence of the love between Christine Daae and

Raoul de Chagny” (Newark).

The narration of a novel is also any important part of a novel. The narrator is

never known but it can be assumed that what he describes is accurate from the story he is

telling, even though he was never there when the events occurred. Leroux is pretending

that the story is being reconstructed from a variety of sources - newspaper articles,

memoirs, interviews with witnesses and archives. The narrator tells how he...

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