Historical analysis of Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexander Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo is founded upon historical events and political intrigue. He not only uses historical facts to help the reader understand, he also weaves such details into the story to make it possible for his reader to have an understanding of the current events that were taking place in France, during that time (from approx. 1815 through 1838). Dumas would want his readers to be familiar with French history, and to have it in their mind as they read his beloved tale.
In the 1800’s Marseilles was one of the largest ports in the south of France with a “population between 93,000 and 110,000”, thus trade flourished and it was home to many merchants, and businesses (Marseilles). This is where our story of revenge begins. Marseilles was the hometown of Edmond who we meet as a naïve sailor who is later to become imprisoned as a political criminal, and altered for life. Marseilles was also the home to both Edmond’s father who dies of hunger soon after his son was imprisoned, and Edmonds beautiful, and noble fiancé Mercedes who was a poor, Catalan. After Dantes’ imprisonment Mercedes cared for his father until he passed. She lost faith of Dantes ever being released from prison and back by her side, there for she felt she had no choice but to marry Fernand Mondego when he asked for her hand in marriage. Fernand Mondego was the jealous fisherman who also betrayed Dantes because he too was in love with Mercedes. Mondego saw, and seized the opportunity to thwart their love for one another. Military success brought Mondego a fortune, which allowed him to change his name to Count de Morcef, making Mercedes the Countess. The Morrel family (the owners of the ship, Pharaon), were also residents of Marseilles. Mr. Morrel felt a great deal of compassion for Dantes’ family which compelled him to not only invest with great effort, his time and money in an attempt to keep Dantes from an un-warranted life in prison but, he also paid for Dantes’ father’s burial. The cards were stacked against Dantes, and even with the assistance of M. Morrel, his future was written. Once Edmond escaped from prison he visited M. Morrel who was in the depths of despair, and contemplating thoughts of suicide because he could no longer support him self financially. Dantes seeing him as a righteous man who had once gone to great lengths, and knowing the efforts taken by Morrel in attempt to save him from prison, Dantes felt compelled, and anonymously made a financial contribution to Morrel, which, saved him from ruin. While Dantes never revealed himself as the contributor Morrel suspected that it was he, and on his deathbed Morrel explains to his family that he believes that their finical savior was indeed Edmond Dantes. The prosecutor of Marseilles, who was ultimately responsible for Dantes’ incarceration, was Monsieur de Vellefort. Vellefort’s father was a known Bonapartist. Vellefort who disagreed with his father’s stance, and as the prosecutor decidedly took an extremely harsh stance on his policy in dealing with Bonapartist conspirators. Vellefort sought to protect his own name by placing Edmond in prison as a political conspirator because he knew, and feared the letter Dantes carried could be traced back to his (Vellefort’s) father so, he used his power in a misguided manor to which he would later suffer at the hands of Dantes. Danglars was a man driven by non-other than jealousy who also lived in Marseilles at the time. He despised that Dantes had been advanced to Captain of the Pharaon instead of him, and sought out a plot in which Dantes could be caught with the letter to tarnish his name, leaving Danglar’s the only choice to fill his role as captain. After Edmond’s imprisonment Danglars indeed became the captain and eventually graduated his position to a banker. As a banker he was able to acquire an incredible fortune where he then became a Baron. In the end Monte Cristo...
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