Fandom

Public Domain Super Heroes

Phantom of the Opera

4,354pages on
this wiki
Add New Page
Talk3 Share

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.

The Phantom of the Opera
Phantom-Opera

Real Name

Erik

First Appearance

Le Fantome de l'Opera (The Phantom of the Opera) in Le Gaulois (September 23, 1909)

Original Publisher

Created by

Gaston Leroux

Synopsis

Erik was born in a small town outside of Rouen, France, but unfortunately, he was born with a hideous disfigurement. In the novel, he is described as having a corpse-like appearance, with no nose; sunken eyes and cheeks; yellow, parchment-like skin; and only a few wisps of ink-black hair covering his head. He is often described as "a walking skeleton" with a cold touch.

His mother, unable to bear his appearance, abandons him. His father, a master mason, never even met him. As a boy, Erik runs away and falls in with a band of Gypsies, making his living as an attraction in freak shows, where he is known as "le mort vivant" ("the living death"). During his time with the tribe, Erik becomes a great illusionist, magician, and ventriloquist. His reputation for these skills and his unearthly singing voice spreads quickly, and one day a fur trader mentions him to the Shah of Persia.

The Shah orders the Persian to fetch Erik and bring him to the palace. The Shah-in-Shah commissions Erik, who proves himself a gifted architect, to construct an elaborate palace, Mazenderan. The edifice is designed with so many trap doors and secret rooms that not even the slightest whisper could be considered private. The design itself carries sound to myriad hidden locations, so that one never knew who might be listening. At some point under the Shah's employment, Erik is also a political assassin, using a unique noose referred to as the Punjab Lasso. The Persian dwells on the vague horrors that existed at Mazenderan rather than going in depth into the actual circumstances involved.

The Shah, pleased with Erik's work and determined that no one else should have such a palace, orders Erik blinded. Thinking that Erik could still make another palace even without his eyesight, the Shah orders Erik's execution. It is only by the intervention of the daroga (the Persian) that Erik escapes. Erik then goes to Constantinople and is employed by its ruler, helping build certain edifices in the Yildiz-Kiosk, among other things. However, he has to leave the city for the same reason he left Mazenderan: he knows too much. He also seems to have traveled to Southeast Asia, since he claims to have learned to breathe underwater using a hollow reed from the "Tonkin pirates". By this time Erik is tired of his nomadic life and wants to "live like everybody else". For a time he works as a contractor, building "ordinary houses with ordinary bricks". He eventually bids on a contract to help with the construction of the Palais Garnier, commonly known as the Paris Opéra.

477px-ChaneyPhantomoftheOpera

The 1925 Universal Version of the Phantom of the Opera.

During the construction he is able to make a sort of playground for himself within the Opera House, creating trapdoors and secret passageways throughout every inch of the theatre. He even builds himself a house in the cellars of the Opera where he could live far from man's cruelty. Erik has spent twenty years composing a piece entitled Don Juan Triumphant. In one chapter after he takes Christine to his lair, she asks him to play her a piece from his masterwork. He refuses and says, "I will play you Mozart, if you like, which will only make you weep; but my Don Juan, Christine, burns." Eventually, after she has wrenched off his mask and seen his deformed face, he begins to play it. Christine says that at first it seemed to be "one great awful sob," but then became alert to its nuances and power.

Upon its completion, he originally plans to go to his bed (which is a coffin) and "never wake up," but by the final chapters of the novel, (during which Erik kidnaps Christine right from the stage during a performance), Erik expresses his wish to marry Christine and live a comfortable bourgeois life after his work has been completed. He has stored a massive supply of gunpowder under the Opera, and, should she refuse his offer, plans to detonate it. When she acquiesces to his desires in order to save herself, her lover Raoul (who, aided by the Persian, went looking for Christine and fell into Erik's torture chamber), and the denizens of the Opera, we find out that his part of the bargain was to take the Persian and Raoul above ground.

He does so with the Persian, but Raoul was kept "a hostage" and was "locked up comfortably, properly chained" in the dungeon under the opera. When he returns, he finds Christine waiting for him, like "a real living wife" and he swore she tilted her forehead toward him, and he kissed it. Then he says he was so happy that he fell at her feet, crying, and she cries with him, calling him "poor, unhappy Erik" and taking his hand. At this point, he is "just a poor dog ready to die for her" and he returns to her the ring she had lost and said that she was free to go and marry Raoul.

Erik frees Raoul and he and Christine leave. But before they do, Erik makes Christine promise that when he dies she will come back and bury him. Then she kisses Erik's forehead. Erik dies three weeks later, but not before he goes to visit the Persian and tells him everything, and promises to send him Erik's dearest possessions: the papers that Christine wrote about everything that had happened with her "Angel of Music" and some things that had belonged to her. Christine keeps her promise and returns to the Opera to bury Erik and place the plain gold band he had given her on his finger. Leroux claims that a skeleton bearing such a ring was later unearthed in the Opera cellars.

The Phantom of the Opera was, in fact, only human, but he was extremely clever, a skilled illusionist capable of setting very efficient death traps, and lurking about undetected. He was also a master musician with a magnificent singing voice.

Notes

  • While the original novel is in the public domain, later stage adaptations are not. The particular mask design, the music heard and other original elements in Andrew Lloyd Webber's version are definitely still protected by copyright.
  • The 1925 Universal Studios film of Phantom of the Opera was not renewed in 1953 placing it in the public domain. It can be downloaded free at the Internet Archive.

See Also

Wikipedia

Comic Vine

Also on Fandom

Random Wiki