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A Phantom of the Opera Reading Community
Discussion Post 12 
17th-Aug-2007 01:26 pm
a2a rabbit hole

Opps! Last time we posted the summaries/questions for chapters 23-24, so we are moving ahead to 25 and 26.

Summary for Chapter 25:

After Erik finds The Persian and Raoul to be trapped in the torture chamber. They are subject to the horrors within. The Persian finds a way out to only be subjected to the fear of what Erik means to do.

Summary for Chapter 26

Now the hour has finally arrived for Christine to either choose the grasshopper or the scorpion.

Possible Discussion Questions:

-The Persian remarks how the mirrors in the torture chamber have already been scratched? Do think Erik only tortured Joseph Buquet or did he have a multitude of other victims?

-What do you believe the symbolism of the scorpion and the grasshopper holds?
17th-Aug-2007 09:29 pm (UTC)
First off I apologize for messing up the chapters and questions... seems I have too much on my plate over the last several weeks with my work on the novels and for the RWA. I will try to keep on top of things here.

The scorpion could have many themes in this novel, but I will focus on the two I think are the most significant. In history as long been the symbol that Death is a being that walks among us. This echo’s Leroux entire theme of Death in his novel.

The scorpion is Egyptian myth stand for Set, the trickster of life and death the nemesis of Osiris and Isis. Follow’s Leroux’s use of the scorpion and how Christine had to turn it. Looking at the scorpion as the trickster, if we review the novel Erik tricked Christine by asking her to turn the scorpion. Granted, if she turned the grasshopper she would have killed Raoul and blown apart Paris, but by turning the scorpion she also flooded the chamber he was in. Would that not have killed Raoul as well if Erik did not have a change of heart? So either way Erik would come out the victor.

The grasshopper is a known emblem of nobility and also sacred to the God of Music. Here we see a dual symbolism in the grasshopper, where it represents both Raoul and Erik as rivals for Christine’s love.

Biblically, we look to the locust and the original French translation. Leroux uses the word sauterelle which means ‘locust’. Wolfe in his edition goes into detail on the role of the scorpion and grasshopper in Revelation 9:1-3

“And the fifth angel sounded and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. (We remember here that Erik means ‘King’ and several keys were noted in the novel)
And he open the bottomless pit and there arose a smoke out of the pit as the smoke of a great furnace (recall the fiery heads stoking the furnaces in the opera) and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth and unto them was given power as the scorpions of earth have power.”

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