Finding Literary Terms in Phantom of the Opera

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From Bernard Paris’s “The Uses of Psychology”:

“Aesthetic types—“villains, ingénues, ficelles, choral characters, nuntii, and so on”—serve mainly to create formal patterns and dramatic impact” (220). 

The word I chose to define is “ingénue.”  Hamilton did not have a definition for this word, so I resorted to Wikipedia instead. 

Ingénue, I already knew, is a French word meaning innocent.  I didn’t know that it could also serve as a literary term.  Wikipedia explains that, “The Ingénue is a stock character in literature, film, and a role type in the theatre; generally a girl or a young woman who is endearingly innocent and wholesome.”  When I hear the word ingénue, I think of The Phantom of the Opera.  In one of the songs, Prima Donna sung by the arrogant veteran singer Carlotta, one of the lines is, “Would you not rather have your precious little ingénue?” in reference to Christine.  So, when you hear the word ingénue, think of Christine.  Think of her blind, innocent trust in the Phantom.  As Wikipedia further elucidates, “Typically, the ingénue is beautiful, gentle, sweet, virginal, and often naïve, in mental or emotional danger, or even physical danger…”  All of these words exactly describe Christine. 

For your viewing pleasure, here is a YouTube video of the song I was referring to.

To learn more literary terms, click here. 

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