The Phantom of the Opera Questions and Answers
by Gaston Leroux

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What is the central idea or theme of The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux?

One of the central themes of The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux is that there is a fine line between the natural and the supernatural worlds. The eponymous phantom, Erik, is a prime illustration of this, being neither an immaterial ghost nor an ordinary human being.

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The many strange goings-on at the Paris Opera House can be attributed to the trickery of Erik, the titular phantom. On one level, this means that all these weird events—such as the mysterious death of a stagehand and the incredible transformation of a moderately talented performer into a world-class diva—have a rational explanation. What at first sight appears to be an eruption of the supernatural is, on closer inspection, the work of an individual.

But this is no ordinary individual. Erik may not be an immaterial ghost in the technical sense, but he certainly looks like one, with his creepy, skeletal features. It would appear that Erik occupies a unique position between the realms of the natural and the supernatural. This means that, even when we discover his tricks and how he has performed them, there’s still more than a whiff of mystery about him, only some of which is related to the putrefying, stinky flesh that clings to his hideous, bony features.

The biggest mystery of all,...

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