I just finished reading Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera. After many adaptions and movies, I realized the story had been skewed. To make the story “better” in the movies and musicals, they made the Phantom somewhat attractive. However, in the book, the Phantom was horribly hideous from birth. So hideous that his own mother didn’t kiss him and just threw a mask at him to hide himself from the world. Everyone he encountered was horrified of him. They stared and were scared of him, so of course he had issues with addressing people. He talked about himself in the third person and had no social cues. For example, he kidnapped Christine out of love, in a way, we do the same to other people, just not as extreme.
In every workplace, inside of every school, there is someone so broken that everyone can see it. However, nobody wants to help them. All they do is pull that brokenness apart and find their flaws. When they find those flaws, they poke fun at them and make that flawed person feel that they’re the only flawed one, like they are ugly inside and out. When that broken person is put down by everyone around them, they haven’t developed proper social skills, and they have issues addressing anyone without anger.
In The Phantom of the Opera, it is revealed that the Phantom is extremely talented. He is a talented singer and ventriloquist, but due to his “ugliness of a corpse,” nobody knows about the talents he had before he went to the Opera. They only cared about the external flaws the phantom expressed, not ever stopping to listen or help him, or give him any sign that he was an interesting man.
In a way, society creates Phantoms doing the same thing. Very few people stop to help or listen. Instead of focusing on skills, they focus on flaws and problems. If one is not guilty of helping to create a phantom, it could be because they, themselves, are phantoms, or they were phantoms at some point and they don’t want to be a part of the issue.
Edited by Rachel Menkhus