Infatuation for Vengeance
Fascination is a human characteristic that is natural in proportion. However when a fascination grows stronger one becomes much more passionate, and often times obsessed with pursuing whatever it is they desire. Alexandre Dumas demonstrates in his novel, The Count of Monte Cristo that a fixation with revenge can frequently become addictive. Dumas shows this obsession through the character of Edmond Dantes. Dantes, a 19 year old boy growing up in the small town of Marseilles, leads an innocent life overflowing with good fortune, causing him to be unaware of hardship. However when wrongly imprisoned by those whom he thought were his friends, Dantes’s innocence is replaced with a longing for revenge. After escaping from prison and disguising himself as the rich Count of Monte Cristo, Dantes’s longing evolves into a deep fixation. Ultimately, this passion overcomes Dantes, causing him to punish his wrongdoers unfairly, as he goes beyond the boundaries of true justice. In The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas uses the character of Edmond Dantes to argue that when people who are blinded from the truth of life’s misfortunes are wronged, they are instilled with harmful desires, and must overcome these obstacles in order to lead happy lives. In the beginning of The Count of Monte Cristo, Dumas affirms through Dantes that people who are unaware of life’s misfortunes are often likely to encounter tragedy. More specifically, as the novel starts off, Dantes leads a carefree life, yet is at risk because he is oblivious towards hardship. For example, when arriving back from the Pharaon’s long voyage Dantes quickly visits his father and then goes to visit his love, Mercedes. Dantes is unaware of Mercedes’s cousin’s, Fernand Mondego, presence and the fact that he is holding a knife. The two lovers become overwhelmed with each others company: “At first, they saw nothing around them; their overwhelming happiness isolated them from the rest of the world” (Dumas 12). Dantes is so happy to see his love that he becomes blinded by their passion. The lovers’ happiness “isolated” them from the world around them, causing them to not only seem naive but puts them in a vulnerable position. To explain, Dumas makes it obvious that Fernand, who also loves Mercedes, appears to be gripping his knife, an obvious sign of his hatred towards Dantes. Dantes is unable to protect himself from a possible attack because he is too overwhelmed by his lover. Similarly, at Dantes’s engagement party, his friend Caderousse asks him why he seems to be ignoring all of his friends. Caderousse wonders if maybe Dantes is too proud to associate himself with them. Dantes replies that it is not pride that makes him unaware, but happiness. He then goes on to explain that “’happiness makes a man even blinder than pride’” (Dumas 16). Dantes’s happiness is almost too intense because it causes Dantes to be unaware of his environment and those around him. This lack of awareness poses as a dangerous threat as Dantes’ ignorance fails to protect him. Dumas, thus, emphasizes that blindness, caused by extreme happiness, leads to Dantes’s inability to foresee the tragedy approaching in his future. Subsequently, Dantes is arrested and finds himself on a boat headed towards the Chateau D’If: “’Oh, my God!’ he cried out. ‘The Chateau D’If! What are we going there for?’ . . . ‘I’ve committed no crime. Am I really going to be imprisoned there?’” (Dumas 32). Because Dantes is so wrapped up in his life he is unable to predict his ghastly future. Dantes finds himself wrongly imprisoned with little hope of returning to his blissful life. On the whole, as the novel begins, Dantes appears to have vast amounts of happiness, which lead to his unawareness towards life’s misfortunes, leading to adversity.
As the novel progresses, Dumas shows that this unfortunate event often causes one’s lack of knowledge to evolve into harmful desires....
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