Christine Daae - I have probably agonized more over this post than any other. Why? Analyzing Christine has not been easy. Erik I understand. His humanity, his pain, his yearning. I feel somewhat removed from Christine, however, so this tends to be harder. I also know there are passionate feelings regarding Erik and Christine among fans and the ultimate outcome of the story. After all, Christine's decision not to choose Erik is a painful ending in many ways.
Christine has been portrayed in the original work by Leroux, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s play, and the movie by Webber and Schumacher. Each of them have identical elements, all with slight variations. For this post, I’m going to focus on the Webber/Schumacher version of Christine to find a single line of thought. Otherwise, if I don’t, I fear I may blur the lines of my interpretation. I’m also going to focus only on one aspect of Christine and her journey in this story. However, as usual, I leave room for comments from my Leroux friends to discern her character and motives from the original work, and for all others who wish to express their thoughts on beautiful Christine Daae, the object of the Erik's obsession and love.
We all know the story. Christine is an orphan. Her father has passed away, and she has come to live at the Opera House. With the passing of her father, she clings to a promise that he will send to her the Angel of Music to watch over her. She has been visited by the Angel of Music, who teaches her, protects her, and guides her. He, in a sense, becomes a father figure. When she learns that the Phantom is in fact her Angel of Music, Christine begins to relate to him as a man instead. He reveals his human side to her, and she is drawn to him as a woman with different desires.
It’s interesting to note that Joel Schumacher, the director of the movie, purposely played on this thought throughout the score in both her looks and dress. When Christine is with the Phantom, she is seductive, attractive, her hair flows freely, her makeup is darker, and her clothing more revealing. Schumacher’s intent behind her transformation from her dressing room to his lair was to show that she was drawn to him in a trance-like state, hypnotized, and fascinated by the Phantom. The transformation was in her mind, and this was the effect the Phantom was having upon her drawing out her womanhood. Of course, this theme carries throughout the movie and climaxes at the Point of No Return.
After Christine becomes frightened of the Phantom, she turns to Raoul for protection and security, and becomes romantically involved with him. Now he is her guide and her protector, and in a sense, her new father figure. Her appearance when in Raoul’s presence is always one of innocence and her behavior is childlike. Her hair is pulled back, her makeup is light, her clothing modest. This is the innocent Christine still looking for a guide and protector in life, which she no longer finds in her Angel of Music.
Christine is on a journey in this story, as well, and that is a journey toward self-realization and one of growth becoming her own person. For Christine, that turning point comes when Erik stands before her with a noose around Raoul’s neck demanding her to “Make your choice!” Up until this time, she’s always been guided and watched over by the Angel of Music or Raoul. Choices have been made for her. She’s looked to someone else to tell her what to do. Now she is alone, faced with a horrible decision she must make, and it’s that decision that releases her into maturity and womanhood. She finally becomes her own person, not dependent upon another, as she has been since her father died. She chooses her own path. What motivates the decision she makes, however, is another discussion in itself. Any of those motivations could have been birthed from fear, compassion, love, personal desires or ambitions. Those are the questions you’ll have to answer for yourself on how the story reveals Christine to you.
My opinion? I think for the moment Christine made the right choice for both her and Erik. Two emotionally incomplete people do not make a happy whole. Erik needed to learn true love and to be touched at his humanity so he could gain his own sense of person and self worth. Christine in her own way helped him come to that realization. Christine needed to mature, become her own person and less dependent upon others, growing into womanhood. Erik in his own way helped her come to that realization. If her life with Erik would have been based on either coercion or dependency, there would have been no happiness for either of them. Erik and Christine were both on a journey together and that was a journey to wholeness. Where that journey continues to lead them, is best left for your imagination or from the hearts of writers who continue to give us sequels into their lives.
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