Monday, February 13, 2012
The Beauty Within a Beast or Phantom: Two Love Stories
In Beauty and the Beast, the characters involved are Belle, Beast, and Gaston. Belle is a unique girl during the time frame in which she is portrayed. She is beautiful and captivates most men, but she prefers spending her time reading a book than becoming a proper lady and wife. Gaston is the “perfect man”; the “pretty boy.” He is the man that all the girls want to marry, but he sets his eyes on the girl who plays hard to get. He drinks, shoots, and hunts, everything a man was expected to do at this time. His goal is to “tame” Belle so she will be a diligent housewife, when that is exactly what Belle doesn’t want. However, Gaston is secure financially, good-looking, and well-respected. He is desirable, but his ego is what truly makes him ugly.
Beast personifies darkness. Likewise, Gaston personifies light. Beast truly is the exact opposite of Gaston: ugly on the outside, beautiful on the inside. In fact, Beast was turned into an ugly beast because at one point he was similar to Gaston. As time goes on, Beast believes he will be doomed to remain a beast forever. When Belle enters his castle, he hopes that she will love him, but his anger clouds his manners and his judgment. He falls deeply in love with Belle, but Gaston, who also wants Belle, plans to stop him.
In Phantom of the Opera, the three characters that form the love triangle are Christine, Raoul, and Phantom. Christine is a girl with a fatherless past. When her father passed away, he sent her to an opera house, promising her he would send an “angel of music.” She waited, and soon a man came and taught her to sing; she believed he was her angel of music. Soon her singing was amazing, but she still had no idea who the man was or what he looked like. The mysterious man was actually Phantom, who wanted to be near her because he loved her. After her first solo in front of an audience, she finds her lost love and childhood friend, Raoul. Phantom, who is jealous, finally reveals himself, wearing a mask to cover his face.
Raoul is the light in this musical. In fact, many of the lyrics reference him as so. He is perfect, good-looking, rich, and everything else that is desirable in a man. Christine has always loved him and was happy when he decided to donate to the opera house. In the middle of all the action, he proposes to Christine, and they plan to wed. Phantom, on countless occasions, tries to kill the young lover but is unsuccessful.
Phantom is, of course, the darkness. He had been tortured as a child and believes that humans, in general, are evil. Once he escaped to the opera house, he made it his “artistic domain,” writing beautiful masterpieces that he heard preformed by many talented singers. He lived for the day when Christine, his only love, would sing one of the songs he wrote. He hides himself from her, hoping she will fall in love with his voice.
There are a few differences in the plots of the stories. In Phantom of the Opera, Phantom’s singing adds to the character of Phantom. In Beauty and the Beast, there is no significant singing. Phantom was born with permanent scars and hides his face throughout the musical until the end. Phantom is forced, whether he likes it or not, to live with those scars for the rest of his life. In Beauty and the Beast, Beast looks the way he does because of a magic spell, and he shows himself to Belle in the beginning. Once Belle kisses Beast, he becomes a prince again, and the ugliness disappears. While Raoul and Gaston are very similar, Raoul is compassionate and truly cares for Christine. Gaston, however, has a huge ego and believes women are meant to be stuck at home. Nevertheless, the biggest difference is the choice that the girl makes. In Phantom of the Opera, Christine chooses Raoul. In Beauty and the Beast, Belle chooses Beast.
As for the similarities, the characters are almost identical. The girls, Christine and Belle, are both drawn to the darkness. They love the fact that darkness is mysterious. They both learn to look past ugliness and see something beautiful. They are both portrayed as being sensual and sexy. They draw both sides of the spectrum to them: the dark side and the light side. They are equally ambitious. Christine strives for a singing career, which is helped by Phantom’s musical talent. Belle does not wish to be like the other girls but prefers striving to be an educated women rather than becoming a stay-at-home mother. She discovers she can be herself when around Beast. Both girls do not really have the choice to leave until the “beast” gives them permission to do so. Christine fears for her life if she leaves. In the beginning, Belle also fears her life, but she must serve beast as a “prisoner.”
The beasts - Phantom and Beast, are practically the same person. They both have a horrible past, filled with pain. They hide from civilization, one in a castle and one under an opera house, both of which are under their control. They both personify darkness. Phantom, in fact, sings about it in many of the musical pieces performed throughout the musical. They both love the girl from the moment they first lay their eyes on their pure and innocent faces. However, it takes them quite a while to realize it. The only reason they meet the girl in the first place is because of each girl’s father. When Christine’s father dies, and she is sent to the opera house, she first hears Phantom’s voice. When Belle’s father tries to find refuge in the castle, he is thrown into the dungeon. Belle saves him, but sacrifices herself in his place.
Another important similarity is the role of the rose. In Phantom of the Opera, Phantom gives Christine the rose as a sign that she had a wonderful performance. In the end, there is a rose on her grave with the engagement ring attached to it. In Beauty and the Beast, the rose is enchanted and is key to the entire plot of the story because it determines Beast’s fate. If Belle falls in love with him before the last petal of the rose has fallen, than Beast will become human again.
Once the story has ended,there is a lesson that the beasts learn and one that we all realize - That something ugly on the outside can be beautiful on the inside. It just requires the beholder to look deeper.