There are so many things I can say about The Phantom of the Opera: the awesomeness of the music, the beauty of the lyrics, the emotional turmoil! ^_^ It’s the perfect marriage between the opera (that I LOVE) and musical theatre. But today, I’m going to talk about Raoul, the childhood love of Christine Daae, and why that boy is a douche. 🙂
From the start, Raoul is painted as the wealthy patron of the theatre – a young man, who in his youth, would spend many summery vacations with his family on the same awesome summery grounds as Christine’s family. They had a cute little childish fling, and then they never saw each other again. He went on to do rich boy stuff, and Christine, who was orphaned when her father died, was taken in by Madame Giry and given the theatre role of lowly, awkward ballerina girl.
Hello, that’s the makings of a good plot right there! 😛
So, after her father dies, Mr. Phantom, the creeper, who’s been eyeing her for awhile, starts giving her music lessons in the hopes that she can become his song angel one day and sing the music he’s holed up in the darkness writing and poring his tortured soul into. Because no one is good enough for his music. Except perhaps Christine. (We sing this last sentence if you’ve seen the show.) ^_^
He’s SO CLOSE to luring Christine into a love trap when Raoul appears. Now that Christine is doing something she’s great at, singing, she’s no longer awkward and has blossomed into a beautiful young woman. Raoul, who all this time never saw her struggling in the background as a horrible ballet dancer, suddenly notices her there (and she’s been there for a while, mind you) and decides he must have her, because he likes weak and pretty things, and the battle begins.
So WHY is Raoul a douche? Lemme paint a pretty picture for ya!
FIRST, Raoul forces himself on her. Christine, as the Phantom’s student, has been on a strict schedule for a while now. Raoul completely ignores her when she’s tries to turn him down and insists she go out with him anyway, even though it’s super, super late, and she’s like tired and doesn’t want to.
Next, when Christine tries to tell Raoul how afraid she is of the Phantom (the Phantom being a murdering control-freak, but I still love him! Don’t judge! Lol!), Raoul tells her that she’s being childish and stupid, but he loves her (cough) and will protect her from the nothing she’s afraid of. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t find chiding someone for being afraid of the “opera ghost” when she’s freaking SEEN his lair and was kidnapped by him (kind of), and oh, he’s also killed someone! – I don’t think it’s very chivalrous to just treat her fears with less care than one would treat the monster hiding under a child’s bed.
He spends their entire “romance” telling her what to do and not listening to anything she’s trying to tell him until it’s almost too late to come back from it. But it’s okay because he means well?
Now, onto Love Never Dies, the sequel. I read the book long before Andrew Llyod Webber got his hands on it. I HATED the book. But anyway, we see in the sequel (that Webber did a fabulous job with, by the way), that Raoul has turned out exactly as I expected him to: he’s completely useless. He gambled away all of his own fortune, so now he pimps Christine’s voice out to the highest bidder and spends most of THAT money on booze. He’s disrespectful and moody and childish. What a winner.
Here’s where someone might say, “But the Phantom is a murderer! And isn’t he controlling, too?” NO, that’s not the point! The point is that the Phantom CHANGED. He’s never perfect, but who is? Sure he’s obsessive often ignores everyone else around him, but Christine brought the best of out him (made him the best man he could be anyway), whereas Raoul was so convinced he was perfect that he wouldn’t let anyone help him be a better person…until it was too late. (Dun, dun, dun…Lol!)
Think about the kind of life Christine could have had if she dumped that sorry fool on their wedding day like I think she should have. She could have given the Phantom time to get some of his crap together, and then they could have traveled the world together, two amazing talents, living their dreams. Instead she was stifled and emotionally worn down until she was just a shell with a beautiful voice. Raoul did that her. Raoul preyed on her weaknesses. The Phantom didn’t prey on her. He was just lonely. He didn’t know how to act! And still, he treated her like a princess, in so much as he understood the concept! Raoul didn’t grow up in a freaking basement. What was his excuse?
That’s right. He had none. He’s just a douche.
In any case, between the original books, which are so hard to read, being translated from the original French and all, and the stage plays, and the movie (which is alright, but I love it because I’m obsessed), I think this makes me qualified to throw Mr. Fancy Pants under the bus. Folks, I cried for an hour after I saw that movie. My grandmother gave me a hard time about it. She just didn’t get it! It’s so sad and beautiful. That’s why I put myself through the book sequel. I wanted to see why the Phantom never moved on. I needed some closure!! Which I did get, by the way. 😀
I just love the Phantom. ^_^