The Phantom of the Opera Summary


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Summary

The Phantom of the Opera Summary


The Grand Paris Opera House managers hear from ballet dancer Meg Giry about the Opera Ghost’s private box, Box Five on the grand tier. They refuse to believe “such nonsense.” Meg’s mother, Mme. Giry knows of the ghost’s existence because she tends to his box each night. The Opera Ghost usually arrives by the middle of the first act, she says. Their discussion is interrupted by a commotion in the hall, caused by the discovery of the murder of Joseph Buquet, a very popular man of the Opera House. Though, due to the circumstances of his death, it was believed that his death was a suicide, but further investigation proved otherwise.

The Comte Phillippe de Chagny comes down after Christine Daae’s remarkable performance in Faust, as Margarita. She had taken the place of La Carlotta, who was ill. The Comete’s brother, the Viscount Raoul de Chagny, went to visit Christine, whom he knew from his childhood. She seemed not to even notice him when he came to her, however. She appeared to be distant, in a strange mood. Raoul followed her to her dressing room door and hears a man’s voice talking to her. When Christine exits, Raoul enters her dressing room, expecting to find the source of the mysterious voice. To his great surprise, he sees no one at all. Raoul leaves the opera house greatly disturbed, pondering the mysterious disappearing voice.

A farewell ceremony was held for M. Debienne & M. Poligny, who had been the Opera House’s managers. Although this party was to be a celebration of the manager’s retirement, there was the sadness over the recent loss of Joseph Buquet. In his book, Memoirs (as referred to the Phantom of the Opera), M. Armand Moncharmin states that the strange, evil events occurring in the Opera House were from the “Opera Ghost” himself. He then goes on to explain how the ghost has haunted the opera house for years, unnoticed by the majority of the visitors and staff.

The Opera Ghost sent several notes regarding his desire to see Christine Daae’s talent used for good on-stage. Also, he requests that Box Five on the grand tier be reserved solely for him. The managers disregard this and sell Box Five, to prove to themselves that there aren’t any ghosts in their opera house. At the performance that evening, the Opera goers in Box Five cause a strange disturbance and leave. They claimed to hear a voice saying “This box is taken.” When questioned, box keeper Mme. Giry simply states, “It was the Opera Ghost.” After further questioning, the managers feel that it is necessary to dismiss Mme. Giry of her duties.

Christine Daae writes Raoul a note saying that “she has not forgotten the little boy who went into the sea to rescue her scarf.” She tells him to meet her in Perros, where it is the anniversary of her father’s death. Upon receiving the note, Raoul immediately leaves for Perros and Christine. When he arrives, he tells her that he has always loved her. Christine, again in a strange mood, laughs at this and tells him “I did not make you come here to tell me such things as that.” However, her mood changes when Raoul tell her of how he heard a “mysterious man’s voice” coming from her dressing room. She excitedly asks him to tell all that he heard. After he does, Christine leaves and locks herself in her room, in a strange, unnatural mood again. That evening, they talk again. Christine says that she has come to the conclusion ther Raoul has also heard the Angel of Music. When Raoul claims that “somebody is making a fool of her,” she runs away and disappears. Late that night, from his bedroom window, Raoul sees Christine leaving the inn. He follows her to the graveyard at Perros, where her father is buried. She is singing to “the most perfect music” coming from a violinist, who is not to be seen. When she leaves, Raoul is knocked unconscious by the collapse of a portion of the exterior of a building in the graveyard. This collapse was caused by “someone” who didn’t want anyone to find out the truth about the strange occurrences at the graveyard and with Christine.

Managers M. Firmin Richard and M. Armand Moncharmin carefully inspected each and every inch of Box Five. They found nothing to hint of any living being in the box, certainly none of a “ghost.” Their only source was Mme. Giry’s word that she tends to the box and knows the ghost, though she has never seen him. Believing they were being made fools of, the managers decided to view Faust from Box Five on the Grand Tier.

The managers received a note from O.G. upon their arrival Saturday morning with instructions for them. Among these are to give him Box Five back, reinstate Mme. Giry, his concierge, and to have the part of Margarita in Faust sung by Christine Daae. Since the managers were tired of O.G.’s “nonsense” and his constant requests, they chose to ignore him, despite his threat of “giving Faust in a house with a curse upon it.” This decision was ill-made from the start. The managers had a plan of their own, although it is nearly impossible to fool the Opera Ghost. They watched the first two acts of Faust from Box Five that night. They believed that they wouldn’t run into any problems, because the ghost obviously wasn’t going to come, was late or (hopefully) didn’t exist. Feeling confident that their plan would work, they watched Carlotta begin singing in her crystal-clear voice at the beginning of Act III. Without warning, Carlotta begins to “croak like a frog.” This sudden change of events causes the managers to leave the box.. When they return, they find that the box is occupied, as they assume from the voice inside it. They do not enter due to their fear of the ever alive opera ghost. While this is happening, Carlotta is desperately trying to reclaim her voice. “She is singing to bring the Chandelier down!” the Opera Ghost shouts from Box Five, throwing his voice. Without any other warning, the grand chandelier breaks loose from it’s chain and falls on the new concierge, Mme. Giry’s replacement, and injures many others. “Two Hundred Kilos on the Head of a Concierge” the morning papers read.

As the evening draws to a close, Carlotta is ill and Christine has disappeared. Raoul goes in search of Christine. At the home of Mme. Valerius, he was told that Christine was with her Angel of Music- “the good genius.” Later that evening, he sees her on a brougham ( a light closed horse-drawn carriage with the driver outside in the front.) Raoul calls to her, but she doesn’t seem to hear him. The next morning, Raoul receives a note from Christine, instructing him to meet her at midnight at the Masked Ball.

Raoul quickly dresses and goes to the Masked Ball to meet with Christine. She leads him around until they come to a private box to talk. On their way, a crowd has formed around a man claiming to be “Red Death.” Dressed in scarlet, the opera ghost cleverly disguises himself. Proving his strength to a foolish observer, Red Death nearly breaks the observer’s bones with one hand. Red Death follows Raoul and Christine (completely disguised themselves). Christine distracts Raoul from coming face to face with Red Death- her Angel of Music- by telling him of “their love.” Knowing it is a trap, Raoul tries to leave the room, but Christine prevents his departure. She then tells him she will never sing on-stage again, nor can she see him again. Left alone in the box, Raoul goes to Christine’s dressing room looking for her. He hides behind the curtain when Christine enters. She sits and writes something on four sheets of paper, then hides them. Out of nowhere, he hears a voice in the room. Looking out from behind the curtain, Raoul cannot believe his eyes. He sees no one but Christine. He hears the voice singing “Fate links thee to me for ever and a day,” repeatedly. Christine says “Here I am, Erik, but you are late.” She then approaches her mirror just as Raoul comes out of hiding, but when he goes to touch her, a cold blast knocks him back. Suddenly, he sees twenty Christines and then none. She has disappeared. But to where? And most important “Who is Erik?”

The following morning, Raoul went to Mama Valerius’ home to inquire about Christine. He was surprised to find Christine at Mama Valerius’ bedside, looking remarkably healthier than the previous night. He tells Mama Valerius of what Christine’s Angel of Music is doing. He says that her Angel of Music is taking advantage of her good faith. Christine is angered by this. She says “As to what I have done during the last fortnight, there is only one man in the world who has the right to demand an account of me: my husband! Well, I have no husband and I never mean to marry!” With this she throws out her hands for emphasis, causing Raoul to notice a gold ring on her finger. Christine is angered once again at his questioning. He then says “The name of your Angel of Music, mademoiselle, is Erik!” Christine tells him to “Forget the name of the man’s voice and do not even remember its name...You must never try to fathom the mystery of the man’s voice.” With this, she resolves to call him to visit her and tells him not to enter her dressing room without permission again. Raoul agrees and leaves, resolving to try to be patient.

The following day, Raoul and Christine met and set up a “secret engagement.” It had to remain a secret because Erik would be angry to find out that Christine had “betrayed him.” Christine then went away for two days. When she returned, Christine and Raoul were together every day. Christine took him around the Opera House, which she seemed unable to leave. One of those days, after seeing mostly all of the upper levels, they run into a trap door. Christine insists that it is best not to go down there, for the Angel of Music owns all of the underground area of the Opera House. The following day, Raoul insists that Christine tells him what Erik is working on down there. In fear that Erik has heard them, she drags Raoul to the roof. The Phantom of the Opera follows, unnoticed.

Christine and Raoul sit at Apollos Lyre (a statue) on the Opera House’s roof. She tells him of the horrors she witnessed the night she disappeared and during her two day absence. She told Raoul of her trip to the Underground Lake, led by Erik. She says “he is not an angel, nor a ghost, nor a genius...he is a man.” In addition, she tells of his hideous looking face that she unmasked. Her words of what Erik did made Raoul furious, to the point that he wished Erik dead.

A key point of her story is of how Erik told her of his musical piece, Don Juan Triumphant, which he has spent twenty years writing. “When I have finished, I shall take it with me in that coffin and never wake up again,” Erik said hauntingly. Raoul then questions his and Christine’s love, for which she states that she had to lie to him for his safety, and she truely does love him, not Erik. She can not love Erik because she see, feels and smells death when she is in his presence, and that, among other things, terrifies her.

As they rush from the roof, Raoul fears that Erik is behind them, because he had seen glowing eyes from the top of the Apollo’s Lyre. Christine says nervously that Erik should be working on Don Juan Triumphant, and nowhere near them. In her dressing room, they plan to run away the next evening at midnight, after her performance and her final meeting with Erik. Christine then realizes that she has lost her gold ring which was a ‘safety net’ of sorts from the evil side of Erik. The next day, Raoul spends until 9 o’clock in the evening making arrangements for their trip away from the Opera House. During Christine’s performance, the stage lights go out and when they are turned on again, she has disappeared.

Christine’s disappearance was believed to be with the Viscount Raoul de Chagny. Others believed that it was a trick of the Opera Ghost. The managers’ behavior was strange that night and they had locked themselves in their office, with Mme. Giry, who had also disappeared, but under different circumstances. As the commotion began to settle down, a sorrow-striken face came forward. The face of Raoul- alone!

Raoul madly calls for his beloved Christine. He searched everywhere he could think of; the stage, her dressing room, and all of the secret corners of the Opera House she had shown him. But she was nowhere to be found. He was certain that Erik had her. He was stopped by the Persian, the old wise man who serves no purpose for being at the Opera House other than just being there. The Persian said “Erik’s secrets concern no one but himself.” He then bowed and turned, leaving Raoul alone.

The Opera Ghost had been paid the twenty thousand francs, which he had requested. The managers called Mme. Giry to their office. She tells them of a list of people who the Opera Ghost has “helped” promote to higher places in society. The last person on the list was Meg Giry, Mme. Giry’s daughter. She was to become Empress. This made Mme. Giry fully believe in the Opera Ghost.

After reviewing the disturbing news that their twenty thousand francs had been stolen right out of M. Richard’s coat, M. Richard and M. Moncharmin locked themselves in their office. Placing the money in his pocket with a safety pin keeping it shut, they agreed that if the money disappears, then they will be forced to believe in the ghost. At the stroke of midnight, M. Richard checked his pocket. The money was gone! But the safety pin was never removed!

As Raoul tells the commissary of the Opera Ghost- the Angel of Music- or Erik, they begin to think of Raoul as less and less sane. They tell him that they believe that M. Le Comte de Chagny, Raoul’s own brother, took Christine, not some ghost. They believed this because M. Le Comte was opposed to the marriage of Raoul and Christine. Raoul believes them and angrily starts to leave the building. He is again stopped by the Persian- the man who knows all of Erik’s secrets.

The Persian tells Raoul that he doesn’t believe a word of how M. Le Comte abducted Christine. He knows that Erik took her because “No one in the world but Erik could contrive an abduction like that! And he recognized the monster’s touch!” He then takes Raoul to Christine’s dressing room and gives Raoul a revolver. The Persian then activates the mirror, so that they can exit to the underground world- Erik’s world- of the Opera House. Due to the slowness of the antique mechanism of the mirror, they believe it isn’t working. They almost shoot through the glass to reach the other side when it lights up and turns them “from the full light to the deepest darkness.”

“Your hand high, ready to fire” the Persian said. As he and Raoul made their way carefully through the labyrinth, they ran into several “demons.” One of these demons, “a head of fire,” the Persian had never encountered. The “head of fire” identified itself as a rat catcher and went on it’s way. Upon reaching the house by the underground lake, the Persian began to search the walls. Finding a hold of loose stones, he and Raoul make their way in , looking around the room, the Persian sees a Punjab lasso and is scared for his life. They soon come to the realization that this room is a looking-glass. A torture chamber of sorts. The “torture chamber” is a regular hexagon shaped room with cracked mirrors on all six walls. Also, there is an iron tree in the center, so when the room is lighted, the tree multiplies.

The Persian’s narrative begins. He tells of the monster (Erik) and of how his many attempts to enter Erik’s house have failed. The sole reason why the Persian was alive was because he had once saved Erik’s life. He tells of Erik’s mastering of the Punjab lasso and of how it was Joseph Buquet’s end.

In the six cornered room of mirrors, Raoul and the Persian were trapped. Erik, unknowing of their presence, is talking to Christine. “You must make your choice! The wedding mass or the requiem mass!” Erik said. After a few moments of only Christine’s sobbing, Erik left. The Persian and Raoul managed to communicate with Christine in Erik’s absence. Christine said that Erik had tied her because she had tried to kill herself, to rid herself of a possible eternity with the monster. Since Raoul and the Persian were also trapped, they were in deep trouble. When Erik returned, he began to sing. He stopped when he saw that his “bag of life and death” was missing.

Erik’s “torture chamber” was of mental torture, used mainly for offenders that faced death. As Erik saw why Christine was nervous about the room next door, he opened the door and shone a light into the room, causing the temperature in the room to rise. He had composed many illusions to scare the people to the point of death. The Persian searched the walls for a spring to release a door while Raoul begins to crumble under the power of the room. Finally finding the spring, a door opens leading to a cellar of barrels of gun powder!

The Persian’s narrative concludes. The barrels, full of gun powder, were to be the fate of anyone and everyone in the Paris Grand Opera House. That is, if Christine refused Erik’s offer of marriage by eleven o’clock that night. If she chose the grasshopper- meaning no- all is gone. But if she chose the scorpion- meaning yes- then all would live and she and Erik would be married. At the eleventh hour (literally) she chose the scorpion.

Erik saves Raoul and the Persian’s lives. After a long time spent recuperating, the Persian wakes up. Though he was still quite exhausted, he remembers Erik saying “You are now saved, both of you. And soon I shall take you up to the surface of the earth to please my wife.” Some time later, the Persian is at his flat, when Erik enters. The Persian questions him first of the health of Raoul and Christine. Erik says they are both alive. Then he asks of Raoul’s brother, Count Phillippe, and Erik asks not to speak of him. “His death was an accident” he repeats many times. Erik informs the Persian that he is about to die. He then gives instructions- some of which he has already told Christine- to post his death in the Epoque, a Paris newspaper. Erik says that he has left Christine so that she can be with Raoul whom is her one true love. Erik then leaves the Persian’s house in a cab to the Opera House. “Three weeks later the Epoque published this statement: “Erik is dead.”

The Phantom of the Opera was no ghost. Erik was human. He had human attributes, as does everyone. Erik knows of hurt, pain, and misery. Yet he also knows of joy. He received joy from Christine Daae. To know Erik’s pain and suffering throughout his long life is impossible to express. Being born with a face that even his mother couldn’t love and facing a world of cruelty is what drove him underground. Underground, in his dark labyrinth, Erik found many things. Power over everyone who dared cross his path. But, in the end, what is power without love? “A reputation can be easily attained” a stage hand once said about Christine’s singing ability. Erik’s reputation of being a horrid monster banned him from life as we know it. Erik fought battles within himself and with society. Cover-ups- the Angel of Music and the Opera Ghost- only made the public fear him. Could Erik control his evil actions? One can never tell. One thing is for sure: Erik was human. Humans experience birth, joy, pain- and in the end- death. Erik- the Phantom of the Opera- experienced all of these attributes to his death

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