, Research Paper
The Count of Monte Cristo By: Alexandre Dumas
Type of Literary Work: Historical Novel
This book is an example of a historical Novel. It is historically accurate, and consists of characters that could have existed in the nineteenth century.
Theme:Judgment Day comes to us all inevitably. We all pay for all evil and injustices of our life, yet sometimes there will be someone so viciously wronged, that he will return like a wrath of nature, with and unquenchable thirst for vengeance. Such a vendetta is the building block for the theme of this novel. The Count of Monte Cristo is that wrath of vengeance that crushes those who plotted his demise.
Fernand Mondego and Danglars both wronged Dantes, and both were motivated by envy. Both men were filled with jealousy and never thought of the consequences of their actions. Villefort disposes of Dantes because of ambition. He would stop at nothing to climb the aristocratic ladder. Finally, Caderousse, a man that is simply ill natured, helped in the destruction of Dantes> None of these men could fathom how costly the price of these injustices would be.
The actions and painful consequences exemplify the novel s theme. Injustice toward the innocent for ignoble motives such as envy and jealousy will eventually be avenged severely. Live a life of virtue, not of vice, sot that one will not prosper in vain as did the villains of this novel.
Setting:France in the nineteenth century is a nation teeming with turmoil. Those loyal to Napoleon feud with those loyal to the French monarchy and Kink Louis. We are moved across this nation in this novel, and begin in a small port city in southern France, Marseilles.
Marseilles is where the characters are introduced, and where the conflict first. We quickly proceed to an island that harbors a prison infamous for nearly impossible escape, and sheer brutality, the Chateau d If . The novel places the characters in the dungeon, giving a sense of hopeless despair, yet from there we move on.
After a short stay in Rome at the time of the Carnival, we are settled in Paris. Here most of the plot is developed. The novel finally concludes in the Isle of Monte Cristo.
Basic Plot:The Pharon, a three masted ship is docked by a young, skillful, promising young sailor by the name of Edmond Dantes. When the ships owner, Monsieur Morrel, learns that the ship s admired captain passed away, he promoted Edmond to the position of captain. This young man, in love with his fianc e, Mercedes, and with a promising career as captain, has everything going for him. His good fortune, however, brings about jealousy. Danglars is green with envy over Dantes promotion. Fernand Mondego is jealous of the love Mercedes and Dantes have for each other. Caderousse is simply a avaricious, ill-natured man. Finally, we have the public prosecutor, Villefort. He ;learns that Dantes is carrying a letter to Villefort s father who is a Bonapartist. In fear that this letter might hurt his position, he throws Dantes into the weary depths of the Chateau d If. Justification for this action comes by the means of Fernand, Danglars, and Caderousse. They lie, claiming Dantes was a Bonapartist. For years Dantes is brought to lonely depth of despair in prison. He hardly keeps his sanity, and becomes suicidal. His sinking heart is resurrected with the sound of a fellow prisoner burrowing. He too digs, and meets the wise old Abbe Faria. Through the wise Abbe, Dantes learns a wide variety of subjects and becomes a thoroughly learned individual.
The two plan an escape, but shortly before the completion of their plan, the old Abbe dies, but not before revealing the whereabouts of a hidden fortune.
The death of the Abbe became Dantes ticket to freedom. He hide in the burial sack meant for the Abbe, and is thrown into the shadowy depths of the ocean. After nearly drowning, Dantes breaks free, and is rescued by a ship of smugglers.
Dantes works for the smugglers until he finds the opportunity to be let behind in the Isle of Monte Cristo. There he finds the fabled fortune. Dantes marvels at the extent of wealth found on this Island. This wealth allows him to become the Count of Monte Cristo.
Dantes emerges once again into society as the Count of Monte Cristo in Rome, just in time for the Carnival. He is motivated by two ambitions: to reward those who were kindhearted and loyal to him and his elderly father, and to punish those accountable for the agony in the Chateau d If. From then on the Count is planning a slow harsh, and painful vengeance on those who crossed him.
He first needs to be introduced into he cr me de la cr me of French aristocracy, and society. He achieves this by saving Albert de Morcerf, the son of a prestigious general, from bandits in Rome. Once made familiar with the elite of society, the Count recognizes many familiar faces of men who he yearns revenge from. The count is clever, and is not recognized y anyone, with the exception of Mercedes, who never vocalized this knowledge.
Fernand, has gained fame in the army and is known as the Count de Morcerf. He is married to Mercedes and ignobly earns all his fame, wealth and prestige. The Count is aware of these dishonorable and illicit actions, so he releases this knowledge to the press. This evidence depicts Fernand as the traitor he really is, and is ruined. This causes the family he adores so much to ostracize him, ultimately leading to his despair and suicide.
Danglars, and avaricious young man, with an obvious frailty, his love and worship of wealth. The Count is a man of such financial power and wit, that he strikes Danglars where it hurts most, his pocket. Danglars is hurled into financial ruin.
Caderousse is a man of unquenchable greed. The Count of Monte Cristo simply sets him up and watches one of his associates, Bendetto, murder him. Caderousse s avarice led him to self-destruction.
Villefort was a man with a tainted past. Only to reveal a fraction of his history would terminated his illustrious position. The Count knew of an affair between him and Madame Danglars. The result of this affair was an illegitimate son, which coincidentally brings Villefort s demise. His end comes in his own courtroom, with the public admittance of the affair and illegitimate son, who ironically was engaged to Danglars’ daughter, his half sister.
The vendetta against Villefort didn t halt there. His wife was more corrupt and perverse than he was. Because of her desire for her son to receive the greatest possible inheritance, she poisons Villefort s father, ex mother in law, servant, father, and daughter, Valentine. Her husband unveils her plot, and pushes her to the point of taking her life, and that of her son.
With the realization of the death of Edouard, Madame Villefort s son, the Count of Monte Cristo is concerned that his wrathful vendetta may have gone too far. His heart is consoled, thought, when he reunites a young couple, Maximilien Morrel and Valentine Villefort on the Isle of Monte Cristo.
The Count s mission has been accomplished and therefore sails away with his new found love, Haydee.
Main Characters:Due to the extensive length of this novel, the main characters are those that appeared throughout the novel and were essential in the development of the plot.
Edmond Dantes (aliases: Count of Monte Cristo, Lord Whilmore, Sinbad the Sailor, and Abbe Busoni)Dantes is the protagonist and hero of the novel, he experiences a substantial metamorphosis after imprisonment. Before he was unjustly jailed, he was a handsome, vibrant, and romantic young man. He is riding a wave of good fortune, when he is betrayed and incarcerated.While in jail he learns from a learned Abbe. Prison gave him an undying lust for vengeance. Once free from incarceration, Dantes is now the Count of Monte Cristo, dedicated his life to the consolation of his friends, and the downfall of his foes. He is now possessed with a thirst for vengeance, and uses his extensive knowledge to avenge himself.
Monsieur Villefort:This man can be summed up in one statement, would sacrifice anything to his ambition, even his own father. He would stop at nothing to advance economically, socially, and politically. This is evident when he imprisons Dantes to protect his own interest. Because of this, he is the focus of Dantes fury. He climes the ranks, and becomes the most powerful law enforcer in France. He bears an illegitimate child with Madame Danglars, which leads to his downfall. He is brought down by admitting to his affair, and suffers extensively with the poisoning of his father, mother in law, daughter, and son.
Monsieur Danglars:Described as an avaricious, envious, and almost hateful young man, Danglars works his way to become a wealthy banker, but in his clime, conspires against Dantes. His ruin came about financially, where it hurt the most.
Fernand Mondego (alias: Count de Morcerf): Fernand began in Marseilles as a simple fisherman who envied Mercedes love for Dantes. This jealousy led him to assist in the plot against Dantes. He ignobly earned great wealth in the army through treachery and other illicit means. His demise came about when the Count of Monte Cristo revealed his betrayal of Ali Pahsa, a high official in Greece. He was guilty of treason and lost his family, which led him to take his life.
Mercedes She may not have been a major character, but she was essential to the development of the plot. She was Dantes fiancee at one point, and the source of Dantes pain during incarceration due to their separation. She, upon the arrival of the Count of Monte Cristo, recognizes him, but says nothing. She leaves unscathed from Dantes vendetta.
Monsieur Morrel (the elder): He was not as major as other characters mentioned, but helped in the plot s development. It was because of him that Dantes held Maximilien in such high regard. Monsieur Morrel was a good, kind, and hones man. He promoted Dantes, and attempted to convince Villefort to release him from the Chateau d If. Allowing him to pay off his debts, and regain his good name and fortune rewards his good will.
Character most liked: In the novel, I grew especially fond of Monsieur Morrel. His heart was free from hate of thirst for vengeance. He was honest and thrived by helping others. He and his son were the only truly good-hearted men in the novel. He ran a firm with honest practices and persistently helped Dantes. When the Count repaid him for his kindness, the reward was truly deserved.
Personal Evaluation: After reading this book, I can see why it has such and enduring popularity. The plot is exciting, and absorbs the reader into a romantic adventure. The characters are clearly described, and are put into situations causing the reader to grow emotions toward the characters.
I would certainly recommend this novel for the sheer fact of how involved you become in the novel. I kept wanting to continue reading to see what twist would come up next.
If I could change one thing in the novel, it would be the Count of Monte Cristo in one respect. He claimed to be God s angle of vengeance, implying his actions were God s will. I believe God is merciful, and punishment come about as consequence of our own sinful deeds, and not because God wishes to punish us.