Book Talk · Discussion

Is the Phantom of the Opera Romantic?

I got this discussion from Page Unbound Classic Remake.

Is The Phantom of the Opera abusive or romantic? (You can discuss the musical or the book version, or the difference between the two).

The Phantom of the Opera is in the gothic genre and if you have read gothic before. Whether that be Victorian gothic or modern gothic, the genre has dark themes.


Women in Distress – that would be Christine.

Anti-hero or hero with a dark past – I’m not sure on this one.

Death – The death of Christine’s father.

Supernatural Presence – The phantom

Romance – Raoul and Christine are in love with each other.

The Phantom of the Opera is romantic because it fits the themes of gothic literature. Gothic is also known as dark romanticism. Romance does not mean love. Ever heard the phrase “to romanticize”? It means to cast something or a person in a positive light or to hold something up to a pedestal.

This is what gothic, or dark romanticism is, to see the beauty of death and tragedy. To show what is true and beautiful in life. The beauty in the bad has to be seen as much as the good in life.

The bloggers that say it PrObLeMaTiC are pointing at the themes of gothic literature. If you are going to have a problem with Gothic literature, then you might as well have a problem with all other genres.

Gothic fiction is the foundation of spectacular fiction. Without gothic, you will not have the genres of mystery, horror, fantasy, and science fiction.

The book itself:

Throughout the book, it is shown that Raoul and Christine are deeply in love with each other. Therefore, I don’t believe Christine is in love with Erik. She loves him for his music and has sympathy for him. It is not an eros type of love. When everyone besides the Persian treats Erik like a monster.

Erik is abused not just by Christine but by everyone in a manipulating way. Making everyone think that there is a phantom haunting the theater and leaving the managers threatening notes to do his bibbing or else. Not to mention charming everyone with his music.

Why this book is a classic:

Erik is a complex villain. If you take out the abuse, the romance, and anything that is deemed “problematic” then you get a paper thin story that is a black and white morality tale. The villain would be bad just to be bad. That is not what makes The Phantom of the Opera a classic.

The Phantom of the Opera is a classic because of the complexity of its characters. Mainly the villain. Erik is intelligent and talented but is deeply flawed, just like any other human being. To add another Layard, Christine shows sympathy when no one else does. Sympathy is a human trait that is scarce.

What is really…the question?:

In sum, is The Phantom of the Opera abusive or romantic? The answer is both. It is romantic in its themes. The phantom is abusive but complex. To say that is “problematic” is to ignore the complexity of human nature.

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4 thoughts on “Is the Phantom of the Opera Romantic?

  1. Good analysis.

    As an empathetic person, when I first was exposed to the story (through the musical) my tendency was to sympathize with Erik because of his intelligence and his sufferings. We are supposed to feel sorry for him because of his unrequited obsession with Christine. Then, I realized that the story is about a wounded person who, because he happens to be in a position of power (in this case because of his intelligence), is able to inflict a lot of damage on everyone else and must be stopped, even if we feel for him. The other character like this that springs to mind is that girl in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

    It’s true that his obsession with Christine isn’t exactly love. Luckily, because she has Raoul she is spared from falling for it, believing it is love, and getting trapped in an abusive relationship, as happens to so many women who then come to believe that this is the only kind of “love” they are able to attract.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I might of over look the being Erik being in a high position of power. I have notice and pointed it out in other books before. I do agree with how someone in power can used that for their own gain.
      Society has deteriorated the understanding of what love is and can be.

      Have you read my Missing 411 posts? I think you might find them interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

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