Provide an analysis of The Phantom of the Opera.

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The play version of the Phantom of the Opera is based on a French novel by Gaston Leroux, published in serial format from 1909-1910. The novel is in part based on true stories and myths about events that took place in the Paris Opera. 

Much of the analysis of Leroux's book and the play has been through a psychological lens. Christine, the main character, is asked to turn to the dark side in order to achieve greatness as a singer. She must abandon her regular life and her boyfriend to go to a literal and metaphorical land of seduction and darkness. Christine, who is a Christ-like figure, must sacrifice herself to Erik, who is a devil-like creature who dwells in darkness, to achieve greatness as an artist.

This story is the classical choice between good and evil, and it can be analyzed through the writings of Jung, a psychoanalyst who studied good and evil. Jung believed that evil was one side of the devil and that evil was not separate from humans but something that dwelled within them. People often cast the idea of evil onto others through a process that Jung referred to as casting a shadow. In a Jungian analysis, Christine's association with Erik, the phantom, can be analyzed as her process of casting her own shadow onto Erik. In other words, Christine has both evil and good within her. Her sense of evil comes from her willingness to do anything to become a great singer, while her sense of goodness comes from her love for Raoul, her boyfriend. In the end, by recognizing Erik, the phantom, she becomes whole again and is no longer threatened by him. Instead, Erik lets her go, with a promise that she will return when he dies. The phantom can be seen as an extension of herself and of her own evil desires.