In Paris in the 1880s, the Palais Garnier opera house is believed to be haunted by an entity known as the Phantom of the Opera, or simply the Opera Ghost. A stagehand named Joseph Buquet is found hanged and the rope around his neck goes missing. At a gala performance for the retirement of the opera house's two managers, a young little-known Swedish soprano, Christine Daaé (based on the late singer Christina Nilsson, is called upon to sing in the place of the Opera's leading soprano, Carlotta, who is ill, and her performance is an astonishing success. The Vicomte Raoul de Chagny, who was present at the performance, recognizes her as his childhood playmate and recalls his love for her. He attempts to visit her backstage, where he hears a man complimenting her from inside her dressing room. He investigates the room once Christine leaves, only to find it empty.
At Perros-Guirec, Christine meets with Raoul, who confronts her about the voice he heard in her room. Christine tells him she has been tutored by the Angel of Music, whom her father used to tell them about. When Raoul suggests that she might be the victim of a prank, she storms off. Christine visits her father's grave one night, where a mysterious figure appears and plays the violin for her.
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Excerpted from "The Phantom of the Opera"
Copyright © 2012 Gaston Leroux.
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Table of ContentsCONTENTS
CHAPTER I: IS IT THE GHOST? 5
CHAPTER II: THE NEW MARGARITA 9
CHAPTER III: THE MYSTERIOUS REASON 13
CHAPTER IV: BOX FIVE 16
CHAPTER V: THE ENCHANTED VIOLIN 22
CHAPTER VI: A VISIT TO BOX FIVE 28
CHAPTER VII: FAUST AND WHAT FOLLOWED 29
CHAPTER VIII: THE MYSTERIOUS BROUGHAM 36
CHAPTER IX: AT THE MASKED BALL 39
CHAPTER X: FORGET THE NAME OF THE MAN'S VOICE 43
CHAPTER XI: ABOVE THE TRAP-DOORS 46
CHAPTER XII: APOLLO'S LYRE 49
CHAPTER XIII: A MASTER-STROKE OF THE TRAP-DOOR LOVER 57
CHAPTER XIV: THE SINGULAR ATTITUDE OF A SAFETY-PIN 62
CHAPTER XV: CHRISTINE! CHRISTINE! 64
CHAPTER XVI: MME. GIRY'S ASTOUNDING REVELATIONS AS TO HER PERSONAL RELATIONS WITH THE OPERA GHOST 66
CHAPTER XVII: THE SAFETY-PIN AGAIN 71
CHAPTER XVIII: THE COMMISSARY, THE VISCOUNT AND THE PERSIAN 74
CHAPTER XIX: THE VISCOUNT AND THE PERSIAN 77
CHAPTER XX: IN THE CELLARS OF THE OPERA 80
CHAPTER XXI: INTERESTING AND INSTRUCTIVE VICISSITUDES OF A PERSIAN IN THE CELLARS OF THE OPERA 86
CHAPTER XXII: IN THE TORTURE CHAMBER 91
CHAPTER XXIII: THE TORTURES BEGIN 94
CHAPTER XXIV: "BARRELS! ... BARRELS! ... ANY BARRELS TO SELL?" 97
CHAPTER XXV: THE SCORPION OR THE GRASSHOPPER: WHICH? 101
CHAPTER XXVI: THE END OF THE GHOST'S LOVE STORY 104
Reading Group Guide
1. 1. Some modern critics feel the characters in The Phantom of the Opera are static and shallow, that Christine is too innocent, Raoul too noble, and Erik’s obsession with Christine never fully explained. Do you think Leroux purposely did this, and if so, why?
2. 2. The Phantom of the Opera was published as the romantic movement was slowly turning into the gothic movement. How would you classify it?
3. 3. Leroux wrote The Phantom of the Opera in a time when there was widespread French interest in Freudian psychoanalysis and particularly the libidinal/infantile/mother-seeking unconscious. How does Leroux work this into his novel? Are there characters that fit the infant or mother role?
4. 4. Some critics see the Phantom as simply the unconscious, the Freudian superego. Do you believe this is what Leroux was truly writing about, or did he give his monster more depth?
5. 5. Some see Erik as not shifting his class status, the theme of many gothic novels, but instead shifting his race. What scenes in the text help, or hinder, this assessment? Why would Leroux write of something so controversial?
6. 6. One of Leroux’s major themes in this novel is the changing of one’s class. Consider Christine, the daughter of a fairground fiddle player, now besting the most talented opera singer in Paris and winning the heart of a viscount. What is Leroux saying here? Is it meant to simply be a happy ending?