A Question About Compassion


In Phantom of the Opera,  Christine’s compassion for the Phantom leads to transformation:  the Phantom’s heart softens and he lets Raoul and Christine go free, he himself is set free from his bitterness and hatred, and he escapes the mob after physically transforming himself to elude capture.

Think about other stories you have read or seen in which a character  shows compassion for another.  How did that compassionate act change a character or move the story in a new direction?  Name the story or character and share your observations.

Another way to think about the question is to turn it around:  can you think about a story in which the withholding of compassion has turned a character or a story in a different direction from what it might have otherwise gone?

Can these questions apply to nonfiction as well as to fiction?  You may answer with a nonfiction example if you prefer.

Write a comment in order to respond to the question, or respond by elaborating on another student’s comment.


Image credit: Phantom of the Opera. Digital image. The Phantom of the Opera Official Website. Cameron Mackintosh, Ltd., 2008. Web. 26 Feb. 2014.

90 thoughts on “A Question About Compassion

  1. In the beauty and the beast belle see compassion and love to set the beast free from his curse and to her lover again. so she kiss him to make him human after the witches curse to make him a beast.

  2. In Disneys Beauty and the Beast, the Beast goes from being evil and cruel and shutting out the world to loving Belle and caring for her.

  3. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Sirius Black is convinced to kill Peter Petegru for his crimes in framing Sirius. Harry Potter convinces Sirius not to kill Peter because he dosen’t want his fathers friends to be murders.

  4. In Star Wars Han Solo showed compassion for Luke and Leia, and he decided to stay and help them instead of leaving because he wasn’t getting payed anything. In the Death Star attack, Han Solo shows up after initially leaving and then he comes back and saves Luke so Luke can blow up the Death Star and, Han Solo showed compassion for the whole Rebellion and he changed into a more nice and compassionate character.

  5. In the show Friends when Ross is kicked out of his apartment, Joey and Chandler lets them stay at their apartment, but Ross soon quickly starts to annoy them. Joey and Chandler try to find a new apartment and they do, but it is really small and not very good. Joey and Chandler convince Ross to move into that apartment even through they know he doesn’t like it, just because they want to get rid of him. Later in the show Joey and Chandler feel bad for treating Ross that way, so they had a change of heart and called and canceled Ross’s application.

  6. In the Christmas Carol Scrooge is withheld from compassion because the Ghost of Christmas Yet-To-Come keeps showing Scrooge his future. However the withholding of compassion makes Scrooge into a better person.

  7. In the famous original fairy tale of “Beauty and the Beast”, when Belle is first at the castle, the Beast is just a cold-hearted villain. Once the story goes on and developes, Belle shows compassion towards the Beast and scrapes away the cold-hearted figure he once was.

  8. In the book Eragon, the character Murtagh shows compassion for the Varden and helps them win a battle. His heritage is of evil, but when he warms up to the Varden he shows a soft, kind heart. Even though he appears nice in the end the falls into the grasp of evil. Soon he comes back to attack the Varden after becoming a dragon rider. He fights Eragon and revealed to him a surprising fact about his heritage.

  9. In Star Wars when Luke sees the goodness in his father and decides not to kill him, stopping the Emperors plan to kill both of them, though Darth Vader dies anyways.

  10. Yes. Even when he was born he had a “birth defect” which lead to even his own mother turning away from him in fear and making him wear a mask. Te other people hated him during his childhood. Now at the opera, he remains hidden because he is hated by people but makes himself known via Christine and various hangings and malevolent acts.

  11. In the lord of the rings Frodo feels compassionate for Golem because he is wearing the ring and knows what it can do and it Corrupted golem. He also used Golem to his advantage to get in to Mordor.

  12. In a Christmas Carol Scrooge is a mean old man but when the ghost of Christmas past the ghost of Christmas present and the ghost of christmas future come they all teach Scrooge a lesson and now he is a very happy man.

  13. In homestuck, even though Vriska has been one of the meanest trolls, instead of shunning her, Equius builds her a new arm instead of letting her suffer and is the only troll left that still (is alive) and shows compassion for Vriska.

  14. In Star Wars, Darth Vader decides not to kill Luke but save him and kill the main bad guy. Luke shows compassion to Darth Vader and helps him. He finally restores the force at the very end in exchange for his own life. He in some way becomes a Jedi again.

  15. Here’s the backstory. When Erik was born his mother turned away in fear and his father never saw him. Erik was not his birth name rather than an accidental name, which also made him have little compassion. He joined a band of gypsies and he was “The Living Dead.” Erik builds a palace that has so many trap doors that a single whisper would not be private. Then he builds the Paris Opera House with the same construction. He also hid a massive amount of gunpowder under the house while he was building it if he ever needed it. From all this I think he needs a little compassion 🙂

  16. In the Hunger Games, Katniss uses compassion to shoot Cato in the skull at the final battle because she did not want to see him suffer.

  17. In The Hunger Games, Katniss shows compassion and love to Rue when Peeta betrayed her. Rue shows the same exact love and compassion as Katniss showed to her. Also with Prim. Later on, when Katniss and Peeta team up. Katniss’s and Peeta’s compassion to each other is very alive.

  18. In the classic fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast”, when the beast captures Belle he is merely a beast with a stone cold exterior. However, as the story develops, Belle starts to show a little compassion to the beast and chips away at the cold exterior until he becomes a man again.

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