Sunday, January 16, 2005

Phantoms and Shadows

I have always loved the "Phantom of the Opera". My grandmother used to babysit me when I was little, and we would listen to the soundtracks of "Phantom," "Les Miserables," and "Cats." I miss those days.
I always thought that the "Phantom of the Opera" is more than just good music with a good story. It can be taken as a metaphore, a story about someone who forgot their childhood and the things they stood for when they were young, allowing pursuits of money or fame to overtake them. They are slowly taken over by this latest quest, until one day they are brought into contact with who they used to be and what they used to stand for. Realizing what was missing they try to break away from this unworthy thing which has drawn them off from their goal, but its power is strong and they keep bouncing from one to the other. Finally, when faced with the choice to break away from this imposter goal at the price of the death of their true goal or to live forever a slave to the imposter, they choose to accept a life of slavery to the imposter goal and thus allow the survival of their real interest. Upon this choice the person is released from the imposter goal and is free to pursue their true goal.
On the other hand, the Phantom is a tragic figure. Devoid of love from even his own mother, he is forced to find survival and acceptance where he can. Christine is the only one who seems to accept the Phantom for who he is, but she has her own childhood love, Raul. Once he returns on the scene she realizes how far she has sunk with the Phantom, that instead of pulling him up he has been pulling her down, and she decides to run off with Raul. This would be a sign of betrayal to the Phantom, driving him to the methods he knows -- death, destruction, and hate. When faced with a life with the Phantom or the death of her love Raul the brave Christine chooses to remain with the Phantom, sacrificing her life, in a way, for the literal life of Raul. Amazed at the compassion Christine still offers him, even after his threat on Raul, and for the amount of love Christine obviously awards Raul, the Phantom lets the two of them go. The Phantom sings to the empty air that he loves Christine, and that since she will not stay with him his music is over. The Phantom is left with nothing but memories, a really sad situation to find himself in. You cannot help but feel sorry for his situation, caused merely by an ugly face and hence the lack of love from his mother and anyone else for that matter.
How many of us have seen our own "Phantom of the Opera"? Share a little love around the world - you never know when you can make a change, cheer someone up, give someone confidence, and occassionally prevent a disaster. We have had our own "Phantoms" here in the United States. Does the name "Columbine" mean anything to you?
Make a difference. Save a life. Have a heart.



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