Apparently if you’re born ugly, you’re allowed to act like a total dick! That’s what we have learnt from today’s lesson in classic French literature from Chris from Cardiff, Australia:
In AMT225, you discussed whether the Phantom is good or evil.
I can’t speak for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s intentions, but having read the original novel by Gaston Leroux I can say that his impression of Erik (the Phantom) is that he was a genius driven to a violent distrust of humanity resulting from being so hideously deformed from birth, and thus that his actions were the result of desperation. Erik’s actions were undoubtedly evil, but nevertheless he deserves to be pitied for the life he was forced to lead by society:
Poor, unhappy Erik! Shall we pity him? Shall we curse him? He asked only to be “some one”, like everybody else. But he was too ugly! And he had to hide his genius or use it to play tricks with, when, with an ordinary face, he would have been one of the most distinguished of mankind! He had a heart that could have held the empire of the world; and, in the end, he had to content himself with a cellar. Ah, yes, we must needs pity the Opera Ghost.
Of course, it’s hardly surprising that he turned out evil… There aren’t many “good guys” who would build a vast underground forest out of iron in which people could hang themselves or be baked alive.
Good point, Chris, but we should also bear in mind that anybody who decides to spend considerable time and resources building a fancy subterrannean torture chamber is probably evil beforehand, rather than becoming so as a result of having access to such a place.
Unless the Phantom did have perfectly innocent reasons for building it. Perhaps he had expected the baking-hot room with the iron trees would be the perfect place in which to dry his laundry. Even ugly opera ghosts should have the right to wear underwear that isn’t damp!