I Still hve sooo many questions about Phantom

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I Still hve sooo many questions about Phantom

Post  Christina Marie on Sat Sep 06, 2014 2:01 pm

Why oh why after delving into this topic for 7 years after all of the books, movies, PBS presentations Of POTO I still have so many questions. One notwithstanding... Did he actually exist at one time under another given name? Or is this truly "all in our mind?" Still a novice. Wink

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Re: I Still hve sooo many questions about Phantom

Post  MarySkater on Sat Sep 06, 2014 7:33 pm

I suppose you'd need a time machine to be sure, but in my opinion, no, the Phantom was never real.  He's a purely fictional creation of Gaston Leroux.  I know Leroux starts the novel by claiming that he was real, but that is a common literary device, not to be taken as gospel.  Leroux also gives a description of the basement of the Opera House in relation to the lake, which is simply not true.  He fictionalised it to suit his own purposes.

There are some people who very much want to believe that Erik was real, but I see this as a tribute to the power of Leroux's writing, not as proof of Erik's existence.  The story of the Phantom is an intriguing and captivating fiction.  I'm happy to enjoy it on those terms.

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Re: I Still hve sooo many questions about Phantom

Post  operafantomet on Sat Sep 06, 2014 8:24 pm

One thing I think it's important to remember, is that "Phantom of the Opera" was first published in parts, as a serial, almost like small newspaper articles, one at the time. It's presented as a journalist writing about his findings. When you understand THIS, you'll understand why Leroux claims it to be true, that the Phantom existed, and mixing in all the elements of truth people would have known about.

It DOESN'T mean the author himself believed it to be true, it's - as MarySkater writes - a literary device. He's changed his mind about many aspects of it while writing it, as Scorp in this forum found out when seeing parts of the original manuscript some years ago. It's a literary piece of work, and those thinking Gaston Leroux writes from experience here will be disappointed.

That said, there's been some incidents Gaston Leroux most likely knew about and incorporated into his novel. Stories about hopeless love in the opera, with people dying of heartache, committing suicide, being killed and whatnot in the name of love. These stories were famous, and can at part correspond with Gaston Leroux's own novel. But none of THEM can be proven to have taken place for real either, they were famous tales, so I don't think that really brings us any evidence in any case.

I hope someone more knowledgable will add their 5 cents as well.

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Re: I Still hve sooo many questions about Phantom

Post  Scorp on Sun Nov 23, 2014 1:50 pm

Christina Marie wrote:Why oh why  after delving  into this topic  for 7 years after  all of the books, movies, PBS presentations  Of POTO I still have so many questions.  One notwithstanding... Did he actually exist at one time under  another given name?  Or is this truly "all in our mind?"  Still a novice. Wink

I seem to keep getting asked this every day at the moment so I'm going to say it once and for all: NO. Soz.

It is probably a novel more influenced by real historical events than most and some of the characters were based on real people to an alarmingly high degree, but these were all historical people who didn't necessarily inhabit Paris at the same time. Also, the characters that are barely changed from their historical counterparts don't include the Phantom (Christine and the Persian, on the other hand, owe a lot to certain real-life individuals). And some characters are just creations of pure fiction. The inspector Mifroid appears in several of Leroux's other works.

The whole 'dear reader, I promise you this story is true' is a typical device and one that Leroux loved. Read any of his other novels and you'll see the same thing. Does that mean all his novels were real historical accounts? No.

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