I just saw The Phantom of the Opera for the first time, not being previously particularly familiar with the story. Gosh, it's depressing.

Sure, the Phantom had serious issues, but every other character acknowledged that his bloodlust was due to a lifetime of persecution because of his appearance. I'm generally the last to excuse anyone's behavior just because they endured harsh treatment at the hands of others, but at least within the context of the story it's pretty clear that the Phantom wouldn't have become a killer if not for the evil carnie who enslaved him. Recognizing that fact doesn't absolve him of responsibility for his other crimes, yet I'm utterly sympathetic to his plight.

Am I the only one who thought Raoul was annoying and useless? Why did Christine fall for him? The Phantom invested years of his life into training and helping her, and she utterly rejected him when she discovered he was ugly (and he freaked out). Sure, she said she hated him because of his soul, not his looks, but somehow that hate never manifested during the years she knew him only by his voice and not face to face.

The Phantom wasn't a good man, and he wasn't worthy of Christine's love, no matter how much he longed for it. That's why the Phantom is so tragic: he represents the fear we all feel inside... that someday the people we love will realize that we really aren't worthy. Just like the Phantom raved when his face was revealed, we all dread the day when our masks are torn away and our souls are revealed for all the world to see.



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