Phantom of the Opera (book report)

Book Report in English

Part I:
Title: The Phantom of the Opera
Author: Gaston Leroux
-was born in Paris in 1868, was a French journalist, playwright, and detective/thriller writer. Beginning his career as crime reporter and war—correspondent, he lived an adventurous life that took him to Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and even into North Africa disguised as an Arab. His high-spirited, often dangerous, escapades and questioning nature provided much of his sensational mystery and adventure stories, particularly those starring his reporter-sleuth, Joseph Rouletable.

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One of his most famous detective novels, The Mystery of the Yellow Room, was published in 1907, and his works have been called “among the finest examples of the detective stories we posses.” But Leroux’s best-known story is The Phantom of the Opera (1911), whose macabre hero has been played in film by classic horror film stars Lon Chaney and Claude Rain. Gaston Leroux died in Nice in 1927. Publisher: Signet Classic

Copyright date: 1987
Characters:
Erik — The “Phantom” and “Opera-Ghost”, a deformed man (believed to be an Angel of Music) Christine Daaé — A young Swedish soprano.
Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny — Christine’s childhood friend and love interest. The Persian — A mysterious man from Erik’s past.
Comte Philippe de Chagny — Raoul’s elder brother.
Moncharmin and Richard — The managers of the opera house. Madame Giry — the suspicious caretaker for Box Five.
Meg Giry — Madame Giry’s only daughter, a ballet girl.
Annie Sorelli — The lead ballet dancer.
Debienne and Poligny — The previous managers of the opera house. Joseph Buquet — The chief scene-shifter.
Little Jammes — A friend of Meg and also a ballet girl.
La Carlotta — A spoiled prima donna; the lead soprano of the Paris opera house. Mercier — The acting-manager.
Gabriel — The superstitious chorus-master.
Mme. la Baronne de Castelot-Barbezac — Meg as an adult.
Mifroid — The commissary of police called in for Christine’s disappearance.Little Jammes mother Remy — The managers secretary
The inspector — An inspector hired to investigate the strange affairs in box five Shah and the Sultan — The two kings that tried to kill Erik after he made them a palace La Sorelli – the lead ballerina and woman whom Comte de Chagny spent time with.

Setting: In Paris- Opera house
Introduction:
-Filled with the color and theatrical spectacle of Paris Opera House in nineteenth century, and the ageless fascination of love transformed into murderous obsession, this classic work of mystery suspense remains a riveting journey into the dark regions of the human heart. The tale begins as an investigation into the strange stories of an “opera ghost,” legendary for making the performers at this great Paris art emporium apprehensive when they sit alone in thir dressing room or walk alone in the buildings labyrinthine corridors. Some even think they’ve seen the ghost in evening clothes moving in the shadows. But it isn’t until the triumphant performance of sensual Christine Daaé- and her startling disappearance- that a sense of dread begins to pervade the dim backstage areas and subterranean passages of the glorious opera house. In an ever- increasing pattern of fear and violence, the Phantom of the Opera begins to strike, but always with the beautiful young singer at the center of his macabre desires.

Summary:
Christine Daaé’s mother died when she was very young. She and her father, a famous violinist, travelled all over Sweden playing folk and religious music. Her father was known to be the best wedding fiddler in the land. During Christine’s childhood, her father told him many stories. A character known as the Angel of Music figured heavily in them, especially one about a girl he called Little Lotte, who was able to hear the Angel of Music. When Christine meets her bestfriends Raoul, he also enjoys her father’s many Stories. Later, when Father Daaé is passing away- probably in
tuberculosis- he tells Christine that when he dies he will send the Angel of Music (the phantom) to her. Christine grieves for her father endlessly. She lives with an elderly woman whose now deceased husband had been her father’s benefactor. Christine is eventually given a position in the chorus at the Paris Opera House. Not long after she arrives there, she begins hearing a voice which sings to her and speaks to her. She believes this must be the Angel of Music and ask him if he is. The voice agrees and offers to teach her “a little bit of heaven’s music.” The voice, however, belongs to Erik, a disfigured genius who was the construction crew when the Opera was built and who secretly built on the cellars a home for itself. He is the Opera ghost (“Fantôme” in French can be traslated as both “ghost” and “phantom”) who has been extorting money from the Opera’s management for many years. Unknown to Christine, at least at first, he has fallen in love with her. With the help of the voice, Christine triumphs at the gala on the night of the old managers’ retirement. Her old childhood friend Raoul hears her remembers his love for her. After the gala, Erik takes Christine to live in his home on the cellars, but after two weeks, when Christine requests release, he agrees, on the condition that she wears his ring and is faithful to him. Up on the roof of the Opera, Christine tells Raoul of Erik taking her to the cellars. Raoul promises to take Christine away where Erik can never find her. Raoul tells Christine he shall act on his promise the following day, to which Christine agrees, but she pities Erik and not go until she has sung for him one last time. The two leave, unaware that Erik was listening to their conversation. During the week and that night however, Erik has been terrorizing anyone who stood in his way, or in the way of Christine’s career, including the managers. The following night, Erik kidnaps Christine during the production of Faust. Back in the cellars, Erik tries to force Christine into marrying him. If she refuses he will destroy the entire Opera using explosives planted in the cellars, killing everyone in it including himself and Christine. Christine continues to refuse, until she realizes that Raoul and a man known only as ‘The Persian’, in an attempt to rescue her, have been trapped in Erik’s torture chamber. To save them and the people above, Christine agrees to marry Erik and kisses him. Erik, who admits that he has never before in his life received a kiss – not even from his own mother – is overcome with emotion. He lets Christine go and tells
her “go and marry the boy whenever you wish”, explaining that “I know you love him.” They cry together, and then she leaves. Three weeks later, a notice appears in Paris newspaper stating that Erik is dead.

Part II:
Evaluation/Comment:
So beautiful and hunting, this novel takes storytelling to a level all it’s own. Leroux’s work is genius. The phantom’s story is one of the anguish and love for the one person he could never have. It’s impossible to describe in words the perfection that was Erick. And every chapter of this story is really amazing! It’s unpredictable!

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