Raoul de Chagny is the deuteragonist of Gaston Leroux's novel The Phantom of the Opera. He is a Vicomte (a French nobleman) and Christine Daaé's childhood friend. He acts as a foil and contrast to the Phantom.
Raoul de Chagny came from a wealthy family, raised by his older brother Philippe. When he was a young boy, he met the Daae family, and became friends with the young girl Christine. Years later, he met her as a young woman and went to proclaim his love for her. However, she denied that she knew him and sent him away. He was heartbroken, until he heard a man's voice on the other side of the door. Now, he was determined to solve the mystery of what was going on with Christine.
After long months of arguments, heartbreak, and misdirections, Christine told Raoul that she was speaking with a man named Erik, who was madly and obsessively in love with her. She had begun to realize how over-her-head she had begun, and told Raoul that they'd run off together. This was defying his brother's wishes, who didn't want him to marry below his status. Before they can, Erik kidnapped her and brought her to his lair. With the help of The Persian, Raoul traveled down to rescue her, but was caught in a torture chamber and nearly drowned.
After Christine promised to marry him, Erik let Raoul go free. He and Christine eloped to Scandinavia, and presumably lived out the rest of their lives together in peace.
Raoul is a common character to appear in adaptations, being the main character of the book. He is sometimes swapped out for a replacement, such as Harry Hunter in the 1962 film.
In the 1925 film, Raoul is played by Norman Kerry. He fulfills much of the same role as he does in the novel, though made to be more heroic and less emotional than his book counterpart. Coincidentally, he previously acted alongside Lon Chaney in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, playing the Phoebus to his Quasimodo.
In the 1930 animated film Spooks, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit takes on Raoul's role. After his girlfriend, Kitty, was kidnapped by the Phantom, he journeyed into his lair to save her. However, the Phantom chased after him, leading him on a wacky chase through the dark hallways.
In the 1943 film, his role is split between two characters - Anatole Garron, played by Eddy Nelson, and Raoul Daubert, played by Edgar Barrier. They both are love interests for Christine DuBois, and try to solve the Phantom mystery together. Though they share a name, Daubert holds little resemblance to Raoul from the novel.
In the 1987 animated film, Raoul took on the same role that he did in the novel.
In the 2004 film of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, Raoul is played by Patrick Wilson. His characterization remained mostly the same, from his stage counterpart. He was given a more active role, sword fighting against the Phantom, and running after the Phantom, following the masquerade ball. He mentioned that his parents were still alive, in contrast to them being dead in the novel.
In the 1990 miniseries based on the Yeston and Kopit musical, Christine's love interest and Erik's foil is Philippe de Chagny. Despite the name change, he fulfills Raoul's role and personality more than Philippe's.
In the Wishbone episode "Pantin at the Opera", the dog Wishbone portrayed Raoul. His role remained the same, though Wishbone's Raoul was more sarcastic and snarky than his book counterpart. He journeyed into the Phantom's lair alone, as well, without the help of the Persian. As usual, Wishbone was voiced by Larry Brantley.
In the Ken Hill musical, Raoul is nearly identical to his book counterpart, as he shares much of the same obliviousness and self-awareness. The biggest departure is that he is not a de Chagny. Instead, he is Firmin Richard's son.
In the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, Raoul's role remained mostly the same. He was more active in the story, setting the trap for the Phantom and being made more competent, in the Persian's absence. The role was originated by Steve Barton. In the 25th Anniversary production, he was played by Hadley Fraiser.
The mobile game Time Princess published a story which follows the events of the novel. Raoul de Chagny is one of the two companions along with The Phantom that the player obtains when unlocking the story. The story has several endings to unlock of which some deviate from the original story.