Originally Posted by Designated Driver
I will agree that Erik learns to love as well as the terrible price that love sometimes brings; just because he loves doesn't necessarily mean he's loved in return. So he does a good thing by letting Christine go so she can be with Raoul, her true love. But I'm not so sure that's really redemption, at least to me anyway. He still ends up murdering Count Philippe (and letting Raoul take the blame for that). The way I see it, for him to be really and truly redeemed, there should be a profound change in him, one that is good toward all humankind, not just Christine.
I was thinking about this thread today and came across some interesting symbolism. When Erik takes Christine down to his lair for the first time, he is singing the Ressurection of Lazerus. In the biblical story of the Ressurection of Lazarus, Jesus is moved by the weeping of the Jews and weeps himself. He proceeds to raise Lazarus from the dead, when all hope was lost.
After Erik is crying from Christine's kindness towards letting him kiss her, he begins to cry. Christine is deeply moved and cries herself out of compassion and cries "poor, unhappy Erik!" This compassion reminds Erik of his humanity, because in that moment, Christine has acknowledged that even though he was so horrible to her, he is worthy of compassion; and in that moment, Christine sees him as not a monster, not and angel, and not the Opera Ghost, but merely Erik. This realization of humanity compells Erik to release Christine, because he is finally accepted for himself and realizes that he cannot hurt someone as good as "brave and honorable" as Christine.
You could say that perhaps he let Christine go for practical purposes. He did acknowledge that he knew Christine loved Raoul, but he knew that when she decided to be his "living bride" or earlier. He intended Christine to stay with him even after that, not contemplating letting her go until she showed him compassion. Erik also mentions at one point that "all I wanted was to be loved for myself." And later, "If I am a monster, it is because society has made me so."
Jesus raises Lazarus even after the Jews believe that all hope is gone, yet through their faith Jesus is able to raise him. Erik believes that all hope is gone, and that society has made him a monster. But his faith that Christine (i.e. the potential Christine sees in him as she leaves for the first time, continuously playing the Ressurection of Lazarus) will be able to help him through her goodness allows her to show him that he is still human. He furthers this when he is pleading with Christine to marry him, promising that he would be "as gentle as a lamb" if she would love him for himself. In addition, note that Erik is described as a living corpse - something skeletal, as if this represented the monster Erik whose deformity had killed him.
To be clear, Erik's recognizing his humanity doesn't necessarily mean that he is a good person. All it requires is for him to recognize himself as human, and there is no evidence that he doesn't. He does, however, tell Christine to take the ring for her "poor, unhappy Erik." Yes, he's not happy. But he was still "given back" his humanity.
This is also a strong beauty and the beast story embedded into this. Because Christine was able to show him compassion, he sees himself not as a monster, but as a man...Christine saved Erik from considering himself a monster and only commiting bad actions. According to the Oxford dictionary, the definition of redemption is "The action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil."
As Erik considers himself human, or seeing himself as at terms with the world, is the act of him being saved from the sins he had done. That doesn't make him a good person, nor does it mean he wouldn't do anything bad in the future (aka Raoul's case), but he actually frees Raoul, lets them go, and offers to send Christine's belongings to the Persian. The fact that he realized he was capable of good after thinking all hope was lost is something that I would consider a great change.
Erik is saved from his consideration of himself as a monster by coming to terms with the himself - as you put it - by Christine's actions. I would actually argue that if the wrongs and rights are cancelled out, he really is nothing but human. As I said before, this doesn't mean that he wouldn't do wrong in the future. I do consider him redeemed.