Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Christine in LND

This post will probably shock your mask off, because it’s going to be the most critical one I’ve written about the characters in Love Never Dies. I’ve had fun doing my psychological playground thing dissecting each character regarding their personality changes. Christine, however, remains an enigma. She is by far the most complicated of characters in the Phantom of the Opera and Love Never Dies.

If I had to use three words to describe Christine in this version, I’d say "twisted every way." I shake my head over this woman’s actions in the original and in the sequel. If you’ve never read my former posts regarding Little Lotte or Christine, follow the links and catch up. Christine is a product of her childhood in many ways. I see her as a woman who is indecisive, dependent, immature, confused, and torn.

Let’s take a look at her actions 10 years before her arrival on Coney Island. She was originally torn between two men. She loved the Phantom for his music and passion. She loved Raoul for the security and normal life he could give her. Twisted over her decision, she agrees to betray the Phantom in the Point of No Return so she can be with Raoul. Then in Love Never Dies, we hear that afterward (in the song Beneath the Moonless Sky), she returned to the Phantom and betrayed Raoul! When that doesn’t work out as hoped, she returns to Raoul, and betrays him again! And you wonder why the man drinks?

As you know, Beneath the Moonless Sky is a song about Christine’s indiscretion, if you wish to call it that, in returning to the Phantom before she weds the Vicomte de Chagny. Bad move. She succumbs to the unthinkable, has a one-night stand with the Phantom, and awakens to pledge her love only to find him gone. Rather than seeking him out until she finds him again, she returns to Raoul and proceeds to marry him under the guise she loves him. Does she love Raoul? Does she love the Phantom? Does she love both?

Christine has one big character flaw that her indecision breeds in her – she tends to betray the men she supposedly loves. Instead of being truthful with Raoul before the wedding about her one-night stand, Christine hides the fact and walks down the aisle vowing her love and devotion for Raoul at the altar. What kind of woman does that? What’s her motivation? Is Raoul the consolation prize? Is she in love with two men? Okay, of course, this is all just a story.

I suppose if we look deep enough into her motives, we might pity her instead. She’s torn between two men that have fought for her affections most of her life. She finds solace now in her son while she’s married to a man she really didn’t want 10 years ago. Did Christine ever make a true choice between the two? I don’t think so. In the play she sings totally unaware of the bet between Raoul and the Phantom. She didn't know the stakes, and she was manipulated again by her Angel and played by Raoul.

Frankly, the play couldn’t have ended any other way. Christine had to be taken out of the equation. In her dying breath, she professes again her love for the Phantom, while Raoul returns home with his tail between his legs.

As much as I love the Phantom story, I really think Christine's decision process is quite twisted in both the original and in the sequel; but it doesn't take away our obsession over those two star-crossed lovers who can never be together.

There I've said it.
The Phantom’s Student

NOTE: This will be my last post regarding the characters in Love Never Dies. I'm ready to leave it behind. As I said in my review, either embrace it, enjoy it, or reject it. I enjoyed the stage version, the actors, the singing, and took from it the good parts and left behind the bad. To be very frank and honest, I'm tired of the firestorm and criticism and just wish to move on to new and better things.

I'm finishing up my Phantom of Valletta story, which I hope to release this summer. Why? Oh why not, I say! Hey, there are tons of books already on the Phantom and I might as well throw another one on the heap. I've been so heavily involved in the Phantom community for so many years, I feel that I need to leave behind a rather unique story regarding the mask man that I love too. You'll find my book is unlike anything you'll read. It's not going to keep the conventions of what you feel should happen to the Phantom. And when it's released, it will either be embraced, enjoyed, or rejected. That's just the way it flows in the Phantom world. Hugs to all my readers.


Connie Rodenbeck said...

I agree with your analysis of Christine to a point. She is indecisive. She is weak. I don't see her as twisted. In POTO she was still very young and innocent. She embraced her Angel of Music as a father-figure, but she adjusted so quickly to the man instead of the Daddy, that I think there were already feelings of a less than daughterly nature slowly rising from the surface.
Of course Christine loved him. In her mind the Angel of Music was the perfect man: part father, part teacher, part motivator, best friend, etc, etc. In a few quick hours, he changes from the mysterious source of all things good and perfect, to a horrifying murderous monster with real impulse control issues. She couldn't adjust to such an abrupt change. She felt her instincts had betrayed her and she was now afraid to trust her feelings. Raoul was from her past (in her mind, her safe past)which made him the one person she could trust. He was the knight in shining armour, opposite of the tangled and tormented man that she couldn't decide whether to love or hide from. Everyone considered him a monster. They believed he had killed several people (and whether or not he had done so or if they had been accidents; to Christine he was the terrifying Phanton everyone said he was.
So how could she choose him? She saw what he almost did to Raoul whom she cared deeply for.
And yet the Phanton's soul had touched hers so deeply. Their one true kiss rocked her world in every way. She was shocked at the love she felt, especially at such a time. She chose Raoul because the Phantom himself begged her to leave. It wasn't her choice. But it seemed the only possible choice.

But then she couldn't stay away the man who called the depth of emotion inside her. And then he left her.She never REALLY had a choice

Ten years later, nothing had passed. She still loved him. She loved him even more because he flowed through her beloved son. She isn't thoughtlessly betraying Raoul. She is simply responding to her love and need for Phantom. And she tries to fight it. However, since neither man will give this poor women time to ever think throught her own desires, she makes her "choice" without knowing the price. She plans to stay with Raoul, still believing that if she can just try hard enough, she would fall in love with him up and that love would change. She never agrees to betray Raoul. She is trying to do the "right" thing without knowing what that really is. She wants to sing and she hopes friends and family are accepting of Erick
Her greatest flaw is an absolute inability to follow her own heart.
I agree that they were both too broken to set things up right away.

nicky said...

I agree that Christine was mostly indecisive in POTO. But I think all that changed in the ending when she finally made her own decision. I respectfully disagree with Connie that the outcome wasn't really Christine's choice. Of course it was. She chose the Phantom because she loved Raoul. She chose to stay with him and was willing to give up her freedom to save Raoul's life. That's why the Phantom let her go, because through the choice she made, she taught him the true meaning of love. That the other person always comes first. That it's not about coercion, but sacrifice. So in turn, the Phantom makes his sacrifice, too, and finally puts Christine's needs and happiness before his own. He lets her go so she could be happy with the man she truly loves. If Christine had remained indecisive in the final lair scene, I doubt the Phantom would have had a change of heart, and the story would not have such a powerful and gut-wrenching ending. She kisses him and shows him compassion. It's her decision in the end that brings about the Phantom's redemption.

I do believe it was Raoul Christine really loved. I thought it was very clear and obvious that while she deeply cared for the Phantom, it was Raoul who owned her heart. So why would she betray him in LND? That's a very good question. I wish someone would ask ALW that. I'm not trying to be snarky or anything, but an explanation for her betrayal would be nice since it makes no sense to me whatsoever.

catalina said...

To answer your question, "What kind of woman does that?"... My answer would be: One that is thoroughly pissed off. I like to think that her going through with marrying Raoul is a big 'screw you' to The Phantom. Granted, it's not the most mature of all decisions, but the poor girl got LEFT.

I think that she clearly makes her true choice at a few points in the two stories: by forgiving/redeeming/kissing The Phantom in the Final Lair scene, by going back to him in BaMS, and by singing the aria for him. It just seems that she is denied at every turn when: The Phantom sends her off with Raoul, The Phantom leaves her the morning after, and she gets shot.

All in all, I think that POTO and LND should be subtitled, "Christine Daae, God Hates You".

Anonymous said...

All in all, I enjoyed and agreed with your dissections of the characters, however, I disagree with the analysis of Christine. I do not believe that she intentionally betrays the men she loves or even necessarily betrays them at all. Raoul was her first love, her childhood sweetheart. When he returned to her it brought back a part of her childhood, memories of when life was good. Raoul represented light, love, beauty, and I believe that she thought being with him could return the happiness she had lost along with her father and childhood. The Phantom represented passion and darkness, something that had always intrigued her, but she never dared to explore. He was her "Angel of Music" made her spirit soar and made her feel alive, something Raoul could not do. Christine chose Raoul to bring back the happiness she had lost in her childhood, something she thought the Phantom and his darkness could not do, she was frightened of him and his ways at first, but did not betray him. Later she realized that Raoul's love could not return her happiness as the Phantom and his music could and that she had made the wrong choice. When do relationships from your past ever work out anyway? Very seldom. In an act of desperation she sought out the Phantom knew that she loved him and wanted to change the choice that she made( leading to the "moonless night") Fearing that she wouldn't love him in the morning the Phantom left her alone, leaving her heartbroken. She only went back to Raoul and led him to believe Gustave was his son because her true love had left her without an explanation. She felt stupid, ashamed, heartbroken, and wanted to forget him completely and move on with her life. Even though Raoul could never give her what she truly needed, she chose to settle and stay with him because the Phantom deserted her. This explains why she was so upset with him in LND. She was ready to leave Raoul and begin a life with him (Phantom), but he had left her and was trying to just walk back into her life after he broke her heart. Her only flaws are that she had a hard childhood that deprived her of happiness which causes her to make rash and/or wrong choices to try and get it back, and that fate just never seems to be on her side.