Saturday, May 16, 2009

"My lies were hideous..."

"What more can I tell you, dear? You now know the tragedy.
It went on for a fortnight--a fortnight during which I lied to him.
My lies were as hideous as the monster who inspired them;
but they were the price of my liberty."

Reading Leroux once again is inspiration indeed! Just this morning a few statements made by Raoul and Christine flew off the pages revealing topics and character motivations I have not touched on before. Christine’s statement above was certainly one of them.


If you have not studied the original novel, Leroux will shock some of the die-hard fans of Webber’s portrayal of the story. I’ve used quite a bit of Leroux’s written work to expound on the motivations of the characters we see in Webber’s version, but there are other aspects of the story that might surprise you. Christine’s lies to the hideous monster might be one of them.

Christine is a very complex woman, to say the least, and so is her relationship with Erik. How she interacts with him throughout the original book is one bipolar experience to put it mildly. She thinks him a supernatural being, an angel from heaven, and then discovers he’s not an angel, but a man. She admires his genius, is horrified by his appearance, fears his actions, and declares to Raoul she does not hate him and that he fills her with horror. Christine confesses that horror was the motivation behind her lies to Erik in order to buy her liberty.

It's interesting that only a few chapters earlier Leroux pens these words when Christine answers a question from Raoul, “She was incapable of lying.” Was she incapable of lying to Raoul, but capable of lying to Erik? Or did she lie to Raoul that she lied to Erik? Now I have your head spinning.

Whatever the reason for her lies, we can conclude that any lying is birthed from some motivation, or the deceit would never fall from our lips. I can think of five reasons, and no doubt you can think of more!
  1. We lie to protect ourselves as Christine did in the situation with Erik. She feared for her life, so she lied in order to find favor.
  2. We lie to protect others so they won’t get hurt by some truth we feel would be detrimental.
  3. We lie with the intent to deliberately deceive others for our gain.
  4. We lie to cover our actions. Started with Cain and Abel, “Where is Abel your brother?” asks God. “I do not know,” responds Cain. Oh, sure, you just killed the dude. Liar.
  5. We lie because we are just habitual liars, which is an evil inclination. The Devil is the liar of them all, "...for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44)
Well, we’ve all been lied to, and we’ve probably all told lies either big or small. The resultant outcome of those lies can vary in our lives. I know I've been devastated by lies told to me by people I've trusted. So why do we do it? How come we just can’t come out with it! If truth sets us free, why do we bind ourselves in lies? An interesting analogy that Christine felt her freedom would come from lies instead of truth.

There are multiple inferences of lying throughout the story. So whom do we believe? Wait! There’s another post coming down the line as to what the characters believed to be truth, but in the meantime I leave you with this quote to ponder:
"A lie told often enough becomes the truth." (Lenin)
See you then. No lie.
The Phantom’s Student


Anonymous said...

You have inspired me to read the book again, after many years! I pulled it out today and dusted it off.

You're my inspiration in so many ways, Vicki. Keep up your exceptional work, mon ami!


Anonymous said...

I think you summed it up quite well, in the exposition of her "bipolar" nature. Indeed, many of us can relate to the Phantom's fear of an audience that can only throw rotten tomatoes at him... especially when they're wearing their own transparent masks, and hoping to hide behind the braver of the two monsters, in their perspective. However, the problem is that Christine may have done as so many broken characters have before: she may have lied to herself, to make her believe the lie... so she would be telling the truth, in both cases. After all, what is a lie, anyway?

Anne said...

I'm aware that this blog is extremely old...However, I still want to post my opinion...
First, I believe that if we can't trust Christine's word in "Apollo's Lyre," then there really isn't any point to reading the book. It's just so important. Gaston Leroux made it clear that Christine's nature is compassion, honestly, etc. She's an exceptionally good person - that her nature is to be honest. I honestly think Leroux meant by stating that in that moment, Christine couldn't lie. She lied in order to secure the safety of Raoul, herself, and many others at the opera while maintaining a relationship with her abuser, whom she felt immense pity and compassion for. I'm sure this was one of the times when Christine was so pressured down by her situation that she let down her act for that one moment. Leroux tells us that naturally, Christine was kind and gentle, with a heart "as pure as that of a fifteen year old." Sometimes people have to act differently in dangerous situations, something that I believe applies to Christine. But I think that the important thing about her character is that she's a "brave and honorable girl" who was able to look her captor in he face and show him compassion when no one else would have done so.

Anne said...

I know this blog is extremely old...Yet I still feel compelled to post my opinion.
If we can't trust Christine's word in "Apollo's Lyre," what point is there to the story? Gaston Leroux made it clear that Christine was, by nature, a very kind and good-hearted person who was honest. However, sometimes good and honest people have no choice but to lie. After all, Christine does show remorse ("my lies were hideous"). The thing about Christine is that she did what she had to do in order to protect Raoul, herself, and many others while maintaining a relationship with her abuser, for whom she felt immense compassion. Christine gave candies to the little ballet girls, Mama Velarius spoke well about her, and everyone at the Opera House went on about how good a soul she was (except Carlotta's clan and Phillipe, of course). She did what she had to do, and I personally think that the thing that makes Erik's redemption so powerful is that someone so good was able to show him compassion, despite all he had done to her. Erik even acknowleges this: "the angel cried;" "she is a brave and honorable girl." If Christine had a nature to lie, she would be a liar forgiving a bad person. Not quite as effective.
When Leroux said she couldn't lie, I think he meant just that: in that moment, she couldn't lie. The situation was weighing down on her so hard that for that one moment, she couldn't keep up her act.