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The main conflict in the novel exists between Erik, the Phantom, and his pupil, Christine. It is from this where the other conflicts and subplots reveal themselves. Essentially, the conflict is whether or not Erik will let go of his love for Christine. He tutors her and trains her. He develops a love for her, only to find that she is in love with Raoul. This is where the conflict of the novel is present.
From this, the hiding in shadows, immersion into a life where appearances and reality differ, and one in which individuals must place a primacy on what they value become evident. The conflict in which the Phantom demands Christine's love is one in which he recognizes that he cannot stand in the path of true love. In sacrificing himself and always being reminded of what it means to nurse a broken heart, the Phantom provides resolution to this conflict. It is in the fundamental conflict between the Phantom's love and Christine's love where the novel takes place.
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