Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lust Vs. Real Love

Hello everyone!
(Spoiler Warning: I give away practically the entire story of "The Phantom of the Opera," including the ending, so if you don't want it ruined for you, I suggest you skip this post. ;) 

Lately I have become obsessed with "The Phantom of the Opera."  I watched the 25th anniversary production on PBS a few weeks ago, and I was thrilled!  It was much better than the movie I had watched, which was wrong for so many reasons.  But I will not go into that.  Today I am talking about why I love "The Phantom" so much and why I think it has a great message to it.

Now, as I have mentioned before, "The Phantom of the Opera" has reached it's 25th anniversary.  It has been wildly popular throughout those years.  It is the classic "Beauty and the Beast" type of story.  The Phantom haunts an 1870's opera theater and secretly trains young and beautiful Christine to become the lead soprano vocalist in the opera troupe.
 As the story progresses, the Phantom tells Christine that he loves her in the song, "The Music of the Night." See the video here:
However, Christine begins to fall in love with an old friend, Raoul and they become engaged.
I love this one.    

 The Phantom is infuriated, and begins to wreak havoc in the theater and killing two people in the process.  He does this all in the name of his love for Christine. At the climax of the story, the Phantom's disfigured face has been revealed. He has Raoul with a rope around Raoul's neck and tells Christine to run away with him in order to save her beloved.  If she refuses to do so, the Phantom says that he will strangle Raoul to death.  Christine stalls and tells the Phantom that she hates him for being so cruel.  The Phantom replies simply by saying, "Make your choice."  It is then that Christine realizes what the horrible life the Phantom has led.  No one has ever loved him because of his face.  His heart hardened to the world, believing that no one would ever love him because he was so ugly.  His life has been a terribly lonely one.  Christine kisses the Phantom, not because she loves him, but because she wanted to show him that he was not alone in his struggles.  The Phantom has a change of heart, and lets Raoul free.  He tells them to both go and forget all that had happened.  The story ends there  and the Phantom disappears from all knowledge and Raoul and Christine get married. 
Now, the first time I watched "The Phantom of the Opera," I didn't understand what was so great about it. As I have seen it more than once now, in two different versions, I see the great human passion and conflict in it.  It all came to a head when Christine kissed the Phantom and his heart changed completely.  You see, up to that point, the Phantom said that he loved Christine tremendously, but it was never a gift of himself to her.  His love was based more on lust than on the true, self-sacrificing love that Raoul and Christine shared.  He was so  passionate in his lust for Christine that he was willing to harm people to get his way. But when Christine finally kissed him at the end, it was not for lust that she kissed him.  It was because she felt that the Phantom needed to be shown that did not need to struggle by himself.  The Phantom was taken aback because that was what love truly was.  It was not love in self-gratification, but love only for the other person.
As it is written in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, "Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
This is shown clearly in "The Phantom of the Opera." While the Phantom attracts because he is mysterious and passionate, that is not love.  It is only a shadow of something true and beautiful.  Another favorite verse of mine comes from Tobit 8:7 (in the Catholic Bible), "And now, O Lord, I am not taking this sister (wife) of mine because of lust, but with sincerity.  Grant that I may find mercy and may grow old together with her."  This verse gives another example of what love truly is. It is not for what one can get out of the relationship, but what can be put into it.
So I hope that you will get the chance to watch "The Phantom of the Opera" if you have not seen it already.  It is a great story, one that will last for many more years to come.

"Say you'll share with me one love, one lifetime.
Say the word, and I will follow you.
Share each day with me
each night, each morning.
Say you love me...
That's all I ask of you."

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Elaine! I appreciated your thoughts on the subject. :)

    By the way, I've nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. :) You can read more about it in my post here:

    Have a great week! :)