Saturday, March 1, 2008

Obsession

Obsession. What is it? Obsession is defined as a persistent disturbing preoccupation with some one or something. Obsession becomes obsession when your desire becomes unreasonable and you lose a sense of reality crossing a dangerous line to obtain, through violence, that which you obsess over. Was the Phantom obsessed with Christine or did he love her?

Christine had been in Erik’s life for many years. Coming to live at the Opera House as a child, Erik took interest in her. He related to her, no doubt, because she was orphaned as he was. He became her protector, an angel, a guide in her father’s absence. He watched her grow. He spoke to her in the night, and came to her in her dreams. Through the walls, through the mirrors, and in the shadows he was there guiding her.

He recognizes her potential as a singer, and begins tutoring her. He develops her skill. He gives her a voice to sing, which expresses his genius in music. Christine in many ways is the Phantom’s creation. He needs her to sing his music. She’s his glory, his triumphant, that he doesn’t wish to share with another. Christine is his entire focus in life. She is constantly on his mind.

As she matures into a beautiful sexual young woman, he begins to desire her, worship her, and fantasize over her. He plans her future as a singer and his wife. He fills his lair with sketches of her, Opera scenes of her singing, and a wax figure of her in a wedding gown. He surrounds himself with reminders of Christine everywhere in his lair, and dreams of the day she will be his. What happened to Erik? Did he try to fill the void of his solitude with one thing alone -- Christine? Did those obsessive thoughts over Christine turn around and consume him in return? When does one cross the line from reality into obsession?

Obsession becomes disturbing and unhealthy when it leads us to places that are not reality and causes an individual to commit violent acts in order to accomplish the dream they are driven to have. Erik, having never loved or been loved, is immature and doesn’t understand what true love is. He’s not able to discern between obsession and love yet. His obsession drives him to commit violent acts. He believes he loves her, but it’s only when he crosses the line from his obsession to true love that he comes into the knowledge of what loving Christine truly means.

At the point when Erik lays down his obsession to keep her in his captivity and gives her freedom, is when he crosses the line back into reality and into the meaning of true love. Erik tells Christine in tears the last time he sees her before she leaves with Raoul, “Christine, I love you.” He did. He truly loved her at that moment. It was no longer obsession driving his actions, it was true love.

Obsession doesn’t sacrifice, it only takes.
Love sacrifices, it only gives

I’ve met, on my Phantom journey, many individuals who say they are “obsessed” with the Phantom and his story. Though I don’t believe it to be obsession in the literal unhealthy sense, I think it’s more of a “preoccupation” with us, because we so relate to Erik. Every once in a while though it’s probably a healthy thing to shake ourselves back into reality and not live so vicariously through the story. What do you think? Are you obsessed with the Phantom or do you just love him? I would be interested in knowing. I have a feeling I'm going to get a few comments on this post.

As always,
Your Obedient Servant

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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow. I have to tell you how much I LOVE your website. Your insight is so good into the POTO. I am really enjoying this. I think you should somehow publish this all in book form. I'd certainly buy it!!

I agree with you 100% about how Erik was obsessed with Christine then it changed to love once he let her go.

Needless to say I enjoy sequels to the story that have him with Christine!! I want him to have the "love of his life".

Thanks again for a wonderful site.

Vicki said...

Thank you so much for your comment. I do have plans to memorialize this on a regular website some time in the future, after I'm finished posting. I've already registered the domain name. I've toyed with the idea too of refining the posts further into a book form for further reflection. Comments like yours make me want to continue, when sometimes I have my doubts. However, O.G. won't let me quit and keeps inspiring me to post again. He's a great tutor!

Shaz said...

Wow,I've enjoyed the movie for a few years and went to see the theatre production, loved it so much and am going again soon. This site has shed such great lights on the story that I've never considered before or really thought about. I never knew the Phantom's name was Erik. I'm very interested in his past life. What acturally did happen to his face? Many people say he was born with it but at one point he says 'this infection which poisons our love'. He uses the word infection. Whatever can that mean?

I like what you wrote here about obsession and love and I think It's very true.

Gosh, I feel so sorry for the phantom... if he ever comes to me to take me down under the theatre I'd follow him in a heartbeat!

From yet another phantom-obsessed person,
Shaz

Anonymous said...

I always love the story of Phantom of the Opera, it connects to me in so many ways. I believe that I love Erik and I wish even I know that he is not real, I wish I could met him.

NatalieM said...

i also think that Erik was drawn to Christine because she was flawless in his eyes. because he thinks that he is pretty much one big flaw, he wants this one perfect thing all for himself.