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A Phantom of the Opera Reading Community
Discussion Post 11 
10th-Aug-2007 04:17 pm
a2a rabbit hole
Questions for Chapters 21 and 22:

-Leroux introduces the unusual presence of the Siren in this chapter. Leroux also refers to Erik as the Voice, as if this part of his personality was separate from the rest of him. Discuss the power of the Voice in Leroux's novel. Would this novel be able to stand on it own without this awesome power of Erik's? (I specifically say novel as many reinterpretations, mainly Webber's, clearly do not make the voice paramount)

-Just for fun.. what was Erik's daily life like? Leroux hints on Erik being a normal man in this chapter--with needs to attend on the streets of Paris. In historic context how would he be treated above ground?
10th-Aug-2007 11:16 pm (UTC)
I really enjoy Chapter 22 in particular for the insights it offers on Erik's character. He's described as someone who can manipulate the senses and elements to produce the most marvellous illusions. There's that fantastic description of his 'realm' in chapter 21, 'fantastic, sublime...frightening...' Old men turn into handsome princes and old witches into fairies. It all serves to tie Erik in with imagination and the fantastic. Given that Erik is described as being perfectly at home in this sphere, the idea of him without his 'Voice' is almost inconceivable. Leroux sets him up as proficient in practically any field he chooses - so the idea of him having a weakness in this sense would feel 'off'.

Also, I know he's a dangerous madman, but I find Erik's mention of going to do some shopping oddly endearing. I don't know why - maybe because he seems so matter of fact about it in the midst of such a bizarre situation.
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11th-Aug-2007 05:54 pm (UTC)
I would agree with that in some respects. I don't so much see him as socially backwards as much as rather eccentric and with 'issues', which is understandable given his past and unusual abilities. He seems under control of his own behaviour, though, as odd as it may be.

However, much like yourself I think that he has a very recognisable 'breakdown' of some sort towards the end of the novel, and that his subsequent behaviour is almost frighteningly erratic. Particularly during the last scenes in the cellars, where he moves from jokes to grief to rage at breakneck speed.
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