Saturday, November 8, 2008

Trap Doors

“I am a trap-door lover,
and I open and shut what I please and as I please.”
(Opera Ghost – Leroux)

So what was Erik’s fixation about trap doors all about? It’s an odd hobby, building trap doors everywhere to trip and trap unsuspecting individuals so they fall into holes and are swallowed up into darkness.

Trap doors are used by magicians and illusionists on a regular basis as tools of their trade, as well as stage productions. Leroux's version deals heavily with trap doors throughout the work, more so than the stage play or movie.
In the movie, there are incidents of trap doors. We see the Phantom utilize a trap door in the masquerade scene. He makes his dramatic exit, and Raoul drops down to the trap door hole to follow. He uses a trap door on the stage to abduct Christine, and Raoul nearly perishes falling through a trap door.

Trap doors were the entrance to Erik’s underworld, his kingdom and domain.
The doors had duel purposes. The first was to trap and harm those who would dare to enter his world; and the second, a tool for his own use to come and go unseen. His involvement in the architecture and building of the Opera House afforded him the opportunity to incorporate numerous hidden doors that only he knew existed or how to work.

Once again, as the Phantom equates himself as an “angel of hell,” you can see the familiar analogy drawn.
The Bible describes Satan as a master of deceit and disguise, setting traps to ensnare unsuspecting humanity. The Phantom uses trap doors as tools to bring unsuspecting individuals into torture chambers. One is described entirely of mirrors (such as the one portrayed in the movie) designed to create madness in the minds of its victims trapped within its walls. How interesting that he uses mirrors to torture others, for no doubt each time he gazes into one himself, his own soul is tortured, which in turn feeds the madness in his darkened mind.

When I speak of the Phantom, I know many of you conjure images of handsome Gerard Butler, but in Leroux our Phantom is described a little more on the dark side. The Persian calls him a “monster” and describes what horrors he is capable of inflicting upon others. If you have not read the original work, I encourage you to do so. Fans tend to romanticize the Phantom of the Opera greatly, and I too am guilty as charged. However, the story does portray a darker side of the Phantom and the evils he is capable of inflicting upon others. He tortures. He murders.

How do I deal with such stark reality regarding the darker side of our dear Erik?
I find relief in sequels to the Phantom of the Opera, many of which bring him to a point of redemption. The stories tend to lead him out of darkness and into the light of the world where he finally finds love and acceptance. It's just another human quality we can apply to our favorite story – our desire to find redemption from the darkness in our lives.

As always,
The Phantom's Student

1 comment:

Meg said...

Hello Christine, I am so glad to find a fellow Phantom fan blogging. :) Your blog inspired a posting on my own blog. Good luck with your writing. I have never been published, but I just finished my first historical novel (war, not romance - haha), and my goodness, what a ride. Thank you for providing such wonderful and thoughtful posts. The Phantom has been inspiring me nearly my entire life, so the symbolism, characters, libretto, and story have been gripping me for over 20 years. Did you ever notice it's the Beauty and the Beast fairytale? I like to muse about that comparison sometimes. :)