The Moral Values in "The Phantom of the Opera"
"The Phantom of the Opera" is a novel by French writer Gaston Leroux. First printed in 1909, the book has since been successfully adapted for the stage and screen. The plot, often described as a horror romance, centers on a phantom that haunts the Grand Paris Opera House. The phantom--who is really a disfigured man--falls in love with a young female performer.
Nature of Love
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.
Superficiality of Appearance
The "Phantom of the Opera" 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 being. Some of the characters come to recognize this fact and sympathize with his plight. An example is the character of Madame Giry, who refuses to mistreat the Phantom and instead befriends him. Later in the story Christine learns to value Erik as a person.
Nobility of Sacrifice
Sacrifice is a key moral teaching in "the Phantom of the Opera." For example, when Christine realizes that here 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.
Value of Courage
The story 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.
Justin Schamotta began writing in 2003. His articles have appeared in "New Internationalist," "Bizarre," "Windsurf Magazine," "Cadogan Travel Guides" and "Juno." He was a deputy editor at Corporate Watch and co-editor of "BULB" magazine. Schamotta has a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Plymouth University and a postgraduate diploma in journalism from Cardiff University.