Vol. 76 No. 06 (2021): South African Dental Journal
The story behind the mask
The Phantom of the Opera is based on the novel written by French author Gaston Leroux. The story revolves around a character whose face is ravaged by grotesque disfigurements. He becomes known as “phantom of the opera” because he uses a mask to hide his defects from cruel onlookers. The mask symbolizes his vulnerability and the injustice he suffers from, as he is forced to hide his face because it causes too much horror in other people. When he finally removes his mask he reveals his own vulnerability. The plight of the phantom is something that we as health care practitioners need to be aware when treating facially disfigured patients. This topic is explored more in the paper titled “Looking beyond the physical management of patients with head and neck cancer”. Perhaps a good take home message is to consider the suggestion that “Since “healthiness” stems from “wholenesss”, “to heal”
really means “to make whole” - Unknown.