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Additionally, Erik finds his own romance turned into a triangle when Raoul
arrives. Perhaps Christine could have become a loving wife (or a devoted daughter) to
the disfigured man with whom she shares a strong connection and a new passion.
Perhaps, in light of their love, she could have forgiven his criminal ways; perhaps he
could have changed, but Raoul reawakens former feelings in Christine, and Erik lashes
out in vengeance and with violence. All that is good in Erik is negated by the bad that he
does, and his archetypal story can end only in loss.
Who Erik is affects what he does as well as what happens in the story, which is
also the case for the other main characters, for characters and plots are closely connected.
Traditionally, certain kinds of characters and events are expected in certain kinds of plots.
For instance, if a plot introduces either the boy next door or a bad boy to a sweet young
thing—and introduces only one of them to her—he will probably pursue the girl—until
he loses her and has to win her back. If a storyline introduces the boy next door and a
bad boy to a sweet young thing, she will spend the rest of the story struggling to choose
between the two,
If you’ll recall the Genesis story, God had placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of
Eden with only one restriction: Although they could eat from the other trees, which
presumably included the tree of life, they were not to eat from “the tree of the knowledge
of good and bad,” and the consequences of doing so were being “doomed to die” (New
American Bible, Gen. 2.16-17). However, the Serpent entered their relationship and led
Eve to eat the fruit, which she shared with Adam, who rather passively accepted her offer
(Gen. 3.1-6). Once they gained “the knowledge of good and bad,” they recognized that
they were naked and seemed to feel shame for the first time (Gen. 3.7). Upon realizing
their disobedience, God banished Adam and Eve from Eden and placed angels at the
entrance to prevent them from returning and eating the fruit of the tree of life and being
able to live forever (Gen. 3.11, 22-24).
The tree of life and the tree of knowledge were the two unique features in the
Garden of Eden: One sustained life (and seemingly guaranteed it) and one provided
knowledge. Consequently, two relevant conclusions can be drawn about the situation.
First, if Adam and Eve were unconscious of their condition—their nudity, their physical
differences, and their sexual nature—before their fall, then they were animal-like—
instinctual and unselfconscious—or they were childlike—innocent and unaware. At best,
they were children and not adults; at worst, they were animals and not human.