Ah, the Opera Ghost. Who is he? Anne Perry has a great description for O.G. “He is a very complex ghost, who loves and hates, who creates and destroys, who plays tricks, writes letters, demands money, who takes terrible revenge, who kills in anger and to protect, and who himself is tortured beyond endurance.” He wanders about the Opera House, a tortured soul, like other ghosts who continue to haunt places they once inhabited.
O.G., as we know him, is Erik’s persona. The word persona is a Latin word for “mask” or “character” that a person portrays. It’s the self-constructed image Erik chooses to embrace to express himself to the world around him -- one of a ghost -- a dead person. Psychologists would term this Erik’s “persona,” because it’s the role in life he chooses to play among the living. This is how Erik wants the social world to know him.
He prefers you address him as the Opera Ghost or O.G. He doesn’t make himself known as the Phantom of the Opera or the Angel of Music, as he does to others who are close to him. He wants you to know him as a ghost. He exists, but in a different dimension. After all, he’s dead. You cannot see him, but he can see you. He watches you from the shadows when you’re unaware. He slips through walls, rooms, and disappears. His voice travels as if he’s every where and any where. You cannot see him unless he lets you have a fleeting glimpse of something moving in the shadows.
He communicates to the living through his notes. He signs them with the seal of a skull to remind you that he is dead, but he oddly uses the phrase that he is your “obedient servant.” He communicates in the most amiable and polite nature when you please him, but takes terrible revenge and haunts you when you do not obey his commands. To those who occupy the Opera House, he’s O.G. This is his home, and he wants you to know he haunts it, but allows you to be there as his guest, living in peace, only if you do his bidding.
Erik clearly portrays his social standing in life as the walking dead. Even when he reveals himself at the masquerade, he appears to the crowd as Red Death stalking abroad. His persona speaks volumes about how he perceives himself among the living. As a ghost, it gives him anonymity, stealth, and power through intimidation. Your choice is to do his bidding or to fear his wrath.
Erik, our complex Opera Ghost. Erik in his humanity, lonely and lost. Erik in his persona, a ghost, wandering about the Opera House only known as death. This is his tortured existence -- death stalking about. This is his doom throughout eternity. Erik’s tortured soul grasps our hearts as we continue to understand the complexity of who he is. It’s another facet of his personality that we are strangely drawn to.
Do each of us have a persona that we project socially to the world around us? Perhaps. You may not be a ghost, or the walking dead, but there probably is another character you portray that makes you feel safe in social surroundings as well. Just a thought to ponder about yourself.
Your obedient servant,