The Count of Monte Cristo


The Count of Monte Cristo is a very powerful book. So
powerful in fact, that it stirred controversies when it was
first released. The Catholic church in France condemned it
because of its powerful message it presented the reader; 
revenge and vengeance. Monte Cristo had two goals- to
reward those who were kind to him and his aging father, and
to punish those responsible for his imprisonment and
suffering. For the latter, he plans a slow and painful
punishment. To have spent fourteen years barely subsisting
in a dungeon demands cruel and prolonged castigation. 


The Count of Monte Cristo is set within the nineteenth
century of France in large and populous cities. This was a
time of great disruption. There was confusion all over the
land in regards to who led France, King Louis or Napoleon.
The citizens of France became divided by the two ruling
parties. Royalists and the Bonapartist cut at each others
throats in order to declare that their ruler was supreme.
This situation has a profound effect on the events of the
story. Dantes' enemies used the rivalry between the two
parties in order to convince the Royalists that Edmond is a
Bonapartist, therefore it is the basis for his arrest and
inevitable captivity in the Chateau D'If.. 
Basic Plot: 

The Count of Monte Cristo is a story about a sailor, Edmond
Dantes, who was betrayed during the prime of his life and
career by the jealousy of his friends. His shipmate,
Danglars, coveted his designation as the captain of the
mighty Pharon. Ferdinand Mondego wished to wed Mercedes,
who was affianced to Edmond. Danglars and Ferdinand wrote a
letter accusing Edmond of carrying a letter from Elba to
the Bonapartist committee in Paris. Caderousse, a neighbor,
learned of the plot but kept silent. On his wedding day
Edmond was arrested and taken before a deputy named
Villefort, a political apostate, who, to protect himself,
had Edmond secretly imprisoned in the deepest dungeons of
the Chateau D'If. There Dantes' incarceration was secured
by the plotting of his enemies outside the prison,
particularly towards Villefort, who wished to cover up his
own father's connections with the Bonapartists. Dantes
suffered for fourteen grueling years. While in prison, he
was determined to escape and began digging a tunnel in
hopes that it would lead to freedom. During this exercise,
he met an elderly inmate named Abbe Faria whose attempt to
dig his way to his salvation had led him only to Edmond's
cell. The two meet daily and an incredible relationship
flourished. The old man taught Edmond history, mathematics,
and languages. In Edmond's fourteenth year, Faria became
mortally ill. The wise elder told Edmond where to find a
massive buried fortune. When Faria finally did die, his
body was placed in a burial sac. Edmond seized the
opportunity of escaping and replaced Faria's corpse with
himself. Jailers threw the sack into the sea which allowed
Dantes to escape. He is rescued by a passing ship which
gives him a position on the boat. 

After paying homage for the noble act, Dantes recovered the
buried treasure and became extremely wealthy. He returned
as the mysterious Count of Monte Cristo and dazzled all of
Paris with his extreme wealth and social graces and also he
ingeniously managed to be introduced to the cream of French
society, among whom he goes unrecognized. But, Monte
Cristo, in contrariety, recognized all of his enemies, who
now are all powerful and influential men. This allows him
to slowly plot the ruin of the four men who had caused him
to be sent to the Chateau 

D'If. Ferdinand had married Mercedes and was now the Count
de Morcef. Monte Cristo's first act of revenge was to
release information to the press that proved that Morcef is
a traitor, and Morcef is ruined socially. Then Monte Cristo
destroyed Morcef's relationship with his family, whom he
adored. When they leave him, he was so distraught that he
committed suicide. 

To revenge himself on Caderousse, Monte Cristo easily
trapped Caderousse because of his voracious greed. Monte
Cristo awakened this greed with the gift of a diamond.
Later, urged by his wife, Caderousse committed robbery and
murder. After having escaped from prison, Caderousse
unsuccessfully attempted to rob Monte Cristo. The Count
watched as one of Caderousse's companions mortally wounding
him. As the man lay dying, Monte Cristo exposed his true
name- Edmond Dantes. 

To revenge himself on Danglars, who loves money more than
life it self, Monte Cristo ruins him financially. To
revenge himself on Villefront, Monte Cristo slowly reveals
to Villefront that he knows about a love affair that
Villefront had long ago with Madam Danglars. He also
revealed to him, by hints, that he knew about the
illegitimate child whom he fathered, a child whom
Villefront had believed to be buried alive. The child
lived, however, and was now engaged to Mademoiselle
Danglars, who is really his half-sister. Ironically,
Villefront's wife proves to be more villainous than her
husband, for she poisons her parents and her daughter so
that her real son can have the full inheritance.
Villefront, however, discovers the plot and threatens to
kill her if she doesn't do it first, and so she kills
herself and her son. 

The Count had rescued Valentine from a drug induced coma
and reunited her with her lover Maximilian, on the island
of Monte Cristo. He also left the two young loves his
entire fortune before he sailed off into the sunset never
to be seen again. 

Major Characters: 

Edmond Dantes 

Edmond Dantes is the dashing and idyllic champion of the
novel. He is a sailor who, at the prime of his life and
career, is betrayed by close friends because of their
jealousy. He is imprisoned for fourteen grueling years.
During his imprisonment he meets another prisoner named
Abbe Faria, who teaches Dantes many languages, sciences,
history and other subjects. They become like father and
son, and when the Abbe was about to die, he revealed to
Dantes the hiding place of a long-secret buried treasure
consisting of untold wealth, diamond, gold coins, and other
precious jewelry. After his miraculous escape from the
prison, Dantes recovers this buried treasure on the island
of Monte Cristo. The rest of his life is spent, at first,
performing acts of goodness and charity for the good people
whom he has known, then he devotes his life to bringing
about gods retribution against the evil people who were
responsible for his imprisonment. 

Monsieur De Villefort: 

Villefort is the type of person, as described early in the
novel, who would sacrifice anything to achieve his
ambitions, even his own father. Villefort, the prosecuting
attorney, is most responsible for the suffering of Dantes
because it was he who ordered that Edmond be sent to
prison. Villefort is willing to have an innocent man
imprisoned for life, thus, he becomes the central enemy
against whom the Count of Monte Cristo affects revenge. 

 Fernand Mondego (alias the Count de Morcerf) 

During the time in which Edmond was a sailor, Fernand was a
simple fisherman and sometime smuggler who was in love with
the same woman whom Edmond Dantes was ingaged to. Because
of his jealousy, Fernand mailed the letter condemning
Dantes, hoping that if Dantes was arrested, he would then
be able to marry Mercedes. Fernand gained much wealth by
smuggling and by betraying the great Ali Pasha. When all of
his treachery was exposed, he discovers that his wife and
son have deserted him, and he commits suicide. 

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