Phantom of the Opera

Ben Brown
November 17, 1999
Phantom of the Opera

In the novel, Phantom of the Opera, by Gaston Leroux, we are introduced to a character
known to everyone as the mysterious Opera Ghost. His character in this book is very complex.
Although the Opera Ghost is very ugly physically and mentally, through his actions, we can find
much beauty.
During the masked ball we are given, what the reader believes at the time, a very good
physical description of the Opera Ghost. At the masked ball the Opera Ghost does a perfect job
imitating death. “The Grim Reaper himself must have posed for it,” the on looking crowd would
comment. But the hideous thing that he wears upon his head is, in fact, only a mask. What he
hides underneath the mask is more wretched than anything imaginable to men. The Opera Ghost
was, “Made up entirely of death,”(138). He was so disgustingly ugly that, “his mother would
never let him kiss her, she would throw his mask at him and run away,”(263). Poor Erik’s life
knows nothing but ugliness.
We see more of the Opera Ghost’s ugliness when we read of the Persians description of
the Opera Ghost’s love of torture. Before the Opera, Erik designs torture chambers for a little
sultana in Persia. His design was just a small room with six walls, with each wall being a mirror.
There is also a tree with a Punjab Lasso. The Opera Ghost’s idea of torture was not so much
physical pain, but a torture in which a victim would go mad, and in their madness, they would kill
themselves. On the outside of each one of these chambers there is a place the Opera watches his
victims while they were going mad. Erik truly was ugly, not only physically, but mentally.
We are given our first example of Erik’s beauty when Raoul is spying on Christine in her
dressing room. He starts to hear a beautiful sound that seems to coming all around him. He sees
no one in the room, but the music starts to get louder and more definite. “A voice that unites all
extremes at once,”(103), Raoul tells, without knowing of the ugliness of the character from which
it comes. Raoul continues to praise the voice as, “heroically sweet..., so delicate in strength, so
strong in delicacy, and so irresistibly triumphant,(103). This clearly shows that, without knowing
the physical ugliness of the Opera Ghost, a body could enjoy his beautiful voice.
Another example of Erik’s beauty comes through his love of Christine. At the end of the
novel the Opera Ghost is talking to the Persian. The Persians asks Erik why he decided to spare
the live of himself, as well as the life of his enemy, Viscount Raoul de Chagny. “I(Opera Ghost),
felt her tears dropping on my forehead..., I took off my mask and she didn’t die..., I then heard her
say, ‘poor, unhappy Erik’ and from then on I was only a poor dog,”(263). “I (Erik), told her that
she could marry her young man..., it was like cutting my own heart into little pieces,”(264).
Through Erik’s selfless love for Christine we find his beauty.

Category: English