Sunday, July 13, 2008


I’ve pondered the next emotion to dissect, and love seems to be the one picking at my heart recently. For the Phantom of the Opera, I want to focus on the types of love found in the story, but to understand love, you have to understand its meaning. The word for love in the original Greek language actually describes three types. When we read love in the English language, we see a four letter word describing all aspects. The English word for love narrowly defines its meaning and does not do it justice.

The Greek language defines love as follows:
  • Eros – the type of love that is sensual with desire and longing. It denotes passion rather than affection like Agape.
  • Agape – the type of love associated with our spouses, children, parents. It denotes affection, rather than passion, like eros.
  • Philia – a term used for platonic love, such as friends, family, community. It’s a concept of loyalty.
We all know the famous words describing love in action: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (I Corinthians 13:4-7)"

NOTE: The word for love is this text is Agape love, which is also the definition used to describe God's love for mankind in scripture. We can read the words above and see a description of love in its perfection, but I dare say not many of us have experienced such perfect love from humans in our own lives. Our concept of love as individuals is molded by our experiences from how others treat us. There are times that love hurts. For some it's easy to see love and life through rose-colored glasses. Sorry, I'm not that way. I definitely have the dark shades on.

In the Phantom of the Opera, we see different types of love, do we not? There is the passionate sensual love filled with desire and longing the Phantom has for Christine - Eros. Then we have the caring and loving affection of Raoul for Christine, who portrays salvation and light - Agape. Then we have Madame Giry, who befriended our Phantom - Philia. What is Erik's perception of love? For him, as we have discussed, he was unable to discern true love. As posted below regarding Obsession, it wasn’t until the eros obsession he had for Christine was lain down, that he experienced what true love was through his sacrificial act of letting Christine leave with Raoul.

Each of my readers here have different perceptions of love. Our concept of love is formed from our life experiences. Whether we are children or adults, how we are treated by others close to us that profess love, paints a picture. For me, my romantic life has been the pits, riddled with personal heartbreak. Every man that has uttered the words, "I love you" has either betrayed me, been unfaithful, lied, or abused me emotionally or physically. Because of these experiences, do you think that my view of love might be a bit distorted?

How about your own? How about the Phantom’s? Erik in his humanity never received love from another human being. He was betrayed and abandon by those he loved, which naturally distorted his view as well. If you see in this post a little personal frustration, you are quite right. There is an underlying personal theme in what I write here. It’s a fact folks, there are those walking this earth that have never been loved romantically to such perfection as we dream about. Why do you think 80,000,000 have flocked to see a play portraying a poor man rejected throughout life - it's because they identify. Why do millions of women run to buy romantic novels? It's because it lacks in their own lives. Every human longs for perfect love, but not many obtain it.

Again, if you are one of the fortunate ones in life, count your blessings. For those of us who are not, I’ll keep shining my dark shades in the hopes they turn into rose-colored glasses some day. Does anybody have any lens cleaner?

As always,
Your Obedient Servant

PS -- I love you guys...just to clarify that's Philia love.

Order Lessons From the Phantom of the Opera in Paperback Here


sami said...

I liked your post alot. Thank you dear. But I got a question: do you think that we can love deliberately? or it happens by itself?
I got a blog and I have wrote about love when I was in love with a lady. I still love her, but she wants me only as a friend, not lover.
I will feel happy if you can find time to visit my blog:

Cassie said...

I like how you've laid out the different meanings of love here. This concept struck me a few years ago and I've been keeping it in the back of my mind as I read books and notice how "love" is portrayed.

I also have not experienced that perfect love, but I am still hoping for it someday.

Anonymous said...

Firstly, this is a wonderful blog (and a marvelous post!).

On a personal note, I doubt that ideal love is findable; that we must make the best of what we have and work at maintaining it for the rest of our lives. Unfortunately I have no Greek words for describing this...

While I believe Erik's love for Christine is genuine, his life has been so toxic and brutal that he is unable to express it in any healthy way. Until the very end his perception was love=control. Only after a display of true compassion can he come to grips with how love is genuinely expressed.

The overly romantic 12-year-old in me would like to think that Christine returned his love but I can't say for sure. However, I do not doubt that Christine and Erik formed a powerful connection through music, madness, and finally compassion that Raoul could never come near (but I also believe that Christine's and Raoul's love is also genuine).

Well, even if your opinion is that Christine did not love Erik, then we can comfort ourselves with the fact that there are millions of women who do adore him.

Cameron Sharpe said...

This is a love between yourself and someone that is totally honest, open and comfortable. You really only have this kind of bond with a few people. You might know a lot of people and be "friendly" with them in a group situation but they are not the best friends I am talking about here.I have a theory that you can not truely be best friends with a member of the opposite sex. Down the line romance will always come up from either party and feelings will be misinterpreted and mistaken. When this happens, the friendship will change and possibly never be the same again