The Count of Monte Cristo

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Critical Analysis #2

The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexander Dumas, is an adventure novel about a young man who is betrayed for reasons of jealousy and in the end gets his revenge. The novel addresses relatively evident themes. There are three main themes in The Count of Monte Cristo; they are revenge/vengeance, ideas of man as “his own authority”, and the importance of hope.

The story begins in 1815; Edmond Dantes is promoted to captain of a ship and is engaged to is fiancé Mercedes. But one of his fellow shipmates becomes jealous of his promotion and Mercedes cousin is jealous of her love for Dantes. Both the men get together to frame Dantes as one of Napoleon’s agents. Dantes is thrown in jail and forgotten about for 14 years. He is unaware that his father has died and that Mercedes is now married to her cousin. Dantes and his cellmate devise a plan to escape through a series of tunnels. Before can escape his cellmate dies and Dantes switches places with him and is thrown into the ocean where he escapes. He learned of a hidden treasure and became very wealthy, and he used his wealth to get revenge on everyone who had betrayed him.

The first major theme of the book is revenge or vengeance. Revenge itself is a major undertaking, and one that has severe repercussions for society and one’s own conscience. The decision to seek revenge will occupy decades of the Count’s life and alter his entire lifestyle and personality. The Count ran the man who was jealous of his promotion into bankruptcy. Then the Count publicly humiliated the man who was jealous of his fiancé so much that he committed suicide.

Another important theme is the idea of man as “his own authority”. The Count of Monte Cristo has strong Christian themes of God, vengeance and Providence. The novel tackles issues surrounding the independence of man to act as he sees fit as opposed to actions guided by the will of God. To get revenge on his enemies the Count did many things that could be seen as...
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