Archetypal Characters and Symbols in The Phantom of the Opera

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Archetypal Characters and Symbols in The Phantom of the Opera

The story of The Phantom of the Opera appeals to many types of personalities and people of all ages because of its archetypal characters and patterns. Carl Jung theorized that we are born with innate tendencies to perceive things a certain way: "a kind of readiness to reproduce over and over again the same or similar mythical ideas . . ."1. These repeated ideas are archetypes. The basic legend of The Phantom takes place in 19th century Paris, and is that of a young and talented, but untrained singer named Christine. Erik, the Phantom, is a disfigured genius of many fields, including music, architecture, magic, and science. His fatal flaw stems from his
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The children's version, meant for 8 to 12 year-olds, is the most like the original 1920s Gaston Leroux version. One of the few things that is changed, other than the overall abbreviation of the novel, is simplification of the language. For example, Erik begins describing himself by saying, "I was ugly. Worse than ugly"3. This straightforward, childlike language puts the novel at the preteen reading level while preserving Erik's crucial description. The Phantom of the Opera is the most popular book in Random House Publishing's youth "Bullseye Chiller" series, above other tales of vampires, werewolves, mummies, and witches4. Even children can identify with the love triangle among the three main characters - Erik, Christine and Raoul. They probably still pity his unrequited love for Christine, and the way in which he was mistreated. Night Magic, another adaptation, is much lighter reading and aimed at a different audience than the more literary variations. Night Magic is the modern-day romance version of Phantom, spanning two decades. Erik becomes a reclusive scarred contractor, and Christine is now Marisa, a spoiled and orphaned teenager with a beautiful voice. The traditional Erik kills without a thought when he feels threatened, while Erik's most raging moment in Night Magic consists of him throwing a stool across the room when a client has been flirtatious with Marisa5. This adaptation is lacking the "dangerous" side of Erik, so as not to scare

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