The Count of Monte Cristo, Review

The Tree of Knowledge by Lucas Cranach the Elder

~ The Contributions is a collection of work not personally done by me but by friends who with sincere generosity have allowed for publication here.

Therefore, work found in the contributions may not be similar with my general line of thought. Thus, I will not comment, scrutinize, plagiarize, and justify anything that has been written here.

However, work posted in the contributions is in my sincere and humble opinion worth reading not only for knowledge but for pleasure!!

And like Voltaire, I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

~ ESZ, James Ee

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The Count of Monte Cristo, written by Alexandre Dumas is a story about the life of Edmond Dantes, a young and innocent man that was falsely accused and convicted for the offence of being a traitor to his country and was sentenced to life imprisonment on an island known as the Chateau d’If. In prison, Edmond met an abbe who imparted him with the knowledge of his imprisonment and he made him realized that it was his friends and the crown prosecutor that have betrayed him and confined him to prison. Thus, he began to feel vengeful towards the three men that were responsible for his incarceration. Through the revenge plan, Edmond has slowly changed from a nice, honest and kind man to a mad and cruel beast, as he become obsessed in seeking vengeance towards those that has done him wrong and caused his sufferings and pains. This story by Alexandre Dumas tells that revenge is a fruitless effort and it can poison the character of one very good man.

Edmond Dantes was firstly portrayed as a kind, honest and loving man in the beginning of the story. He loves his father unconditionally, respects his employer and adores his fiancée, Mercedes. These could be seen in the story when Edmond declined his employer’s offer to dine together because he was anxious to see both his father and his fiancée. “Please Monsieur Morrel, I beg you to excuse me, but the first thing I must do is to visit my father” (12). “I must beg you once more to forgive me, but after that first visit, there is another that is no less important to me” (13). Other than that, Dantes was also a very kind man as he even tried to think of nice and good things of Caderousse, a man whom he very much dislikes, and it could be seen in the story when he said, “There’s a fellow who says one thing, and thinks another. “No matter. He is a neighbor who has helped us in the past, so let him in” (18). According to SparkNotes, Dantes was naturally intelligent and a man of few opinion (2). All of these show that Dantes has a good nature in himself, and that he was well loved and respected in the beginning of the story.

Dantes undergoes a great change after he escaped from the prison. He became a different person and had gained a new appearance that reflected on his new personality and feelings. “The knowledge that he had acquired gave a look of intelligent self-confidence to his face” (214). Other than that, Dantes has also obtained a new appearance that reflects his anger towards the world and the society. “His eyebrows arched under a single, pensive line and his eyes themselves were imprinted with deep sadness, behind which from time to time could be seen dark flashes of misanthropy and hatred” (214). Dantes has become very obsessed in revenging his injustice that it was also being portrayed by his new look. “In addition, having been constantly in darkness or half-light, his eyes had acquired remarkable ability of seeing in the dark, like those of wolves and hyenas” (214). This quote from the story shows that Dantes has changed both physically, and mentally. It also tells that Edmond is angry and frustrated with the events that have occurred in his life and that he is so full of hatred and anger and wants nothing but to revenge.

As the story develops, Edmond Dantes became possessed in revenging. He began secluding himself from society and other human beings, except for those that were involved in his revenge plan. According to SparkNotes, “Edmond Dantes moves through the world like an outsider, disconnected from any human community and was only interested in carrying out his mission of revenge” (11). This shows that Edmond no longer has the ability of the capability to feel any emotions. He has become cold and emotionless due to the mental and physical torture he had faced in the 14 years of imprisonment at Chateau d’If. Edmond Dantes was so possessed in revenging over the wrongs that was committed against him that he became very irrational and used the treasure of Monte Cristo in his plan of revenge, although the abbe told him to spend it for his own enjoyment and not to use it for revengeful purposes, as he has already endured too much pain. “Hasten to Monte Cristo, take advantage of our fortune, enjoy it- you have suffered enough” (191). Dantes has become foolish and unreasonable because instead of spending the treasure wisely and for a better cause, he uses it only for his purpose of revenge. This could be seen when he spent a lot of money in buying unnecessary possessions, such as a shipping company, houses in France and Rome, wealthy carriages, horses and many more. “In Rome, you spent fifty thousand piastres in furnishing and apartment for yourself” (465). Through Dantes, it shows that revenge can change the true good nature of one man.

Edmond Dantes has also become very cruel and heartless as the story progress. Initially, Edmond planned to only seek revenge on the three men that had committed wrongs against him. However, as he goes along with his plan, he began to seek revenge on the family members of the man that had committed fault against him as well. An example of this would be on Monsieur de Villefort’s family. Monsieur de Villefort was the crown prosecutor who did wrong on Dantes by sentencing him to 14 years of imprisonment for a crime hat he did not commit. Dantes began to murder his family members by indicating to Madame de Villefort that the medicine would work as a poison, as he knows that she would easily be influenced. “Just remember one thing: in small doses this is a cure, in large ones, a poison. One drop may restore life, as you have seen; five or six would certainly kill, and all the more frightfully because, if dissolved into a glass of wine, they would not alter the taste in the slightest. But I must stop, Madame, or I shall seem to be giving you advice” (596). Dantes did not only commit these inhumane crimes on the Villefort’s, but also on the family members of Danglar’s and the de Morcef’s as well. This shows that Dantes has changed into someone cruel and heartless due to the obsession of wanting to revenge.

Towards the end of the story, Dantes began to realize that the things that he had done and the plan to seek revenge which he had spend so much time and money on was useless and effortless. It did nothing to him but to cause him more pain and misery. He realized that he was not at all happier after committing the revenge, but had made him more depressed and angry with his life so much that he felt he could no longer be happy. This can be seen from the story when he said, “What is happening to me is what happens to people who are wounded in a dream: they look at their wound and they feel it but they could not remember how it was caused” (1195). According to SparkNotes, “Dantes only managed to forgive the people who have committed the wrongs against him is when he realized that he had done wrong in killing many people, even those who had not committed any wrong against him”. From it also, Dantes realized that he had changed and had become a different person. Dantes became more depressed when he began to wonder if the ingenious plan for revenge he had has brought him nothing but madness in his life. “I cannot accept this idea, because it would drive me mad” (1195). This shows that Dantes had finally realized that there is no point in revenging towards the people that has done him wrong and he should instead live his life happily after all the ordeal that he has faced.

In the end, Edmond Dantes realized and understood that he had made some mistakes in choosing to revenge instead of enjoying his life and be happy. He finally chose to forgive the people that have done him wrong and to forget about the past. He realized that he was happier and much lighter without burden when he chose to forgive them. Edmond then gave up all the fortune that he had and the remaining of the treasure of Monte Cristo to Maximilien, the only guy whom he really trusted and his fiancée, Valentine. Edmond then managed to find love again with Haydee, and decided that it would be the best if he moves on with his life and live happily humanly again. In conclusion, through this story, Dantes shows that seeking vengeance is effortless and it can change the nature of one good man. Dantes also revealed that it would be much better for one to forgive and forget rather than to seek revenge and be unhappy and depressed.

~ Li Ann

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