The Conclusion of the Count of Monte Cristo

I finished the book by Alexandre Dumas. It took all week, every spare moment I had, and some moments that were not so spare.  It was wonderful to loose myself is a good book between studies, observations in the classroom, and my duties at home!

3/52

Photo CC- by Victoria Nevland

Here is a recap of last week:

Long book. Edmond Dantès is falsely accused, and sent to prison. He makes a friend, escapes, finds a treasure, then seeks revenge. This book is the epitome of classic literature.

The rest of the story

While in prison he learned from his friend, Abbe Faria, that, “…to learn is not to know; there are the learners and the learned. Memory makes the one, philosophy makes the other.” During the ten years of his stay in prison, Edmond becomes someone who is learned. He leaves prison with an education, and so he is able to assume the new role he has established for himself with credibility.

Marseille from Château d'If cell

A view of Marseilles from the Prison of Chateau d’If

Photo CC- by Dusty Dean

Dantès returns to Marseilles to seek out his betrothed, Mercedes, who married one of his betrayers. She is gone, and his father is dead. There is no one left who knows who Edmond is. Dantès goes into disguise, and over a period of ten years he creates a persona for himself: The Count of Monte Cristo.

Through time and inquiry, Dantès learns what his betrayers have done and where they live. He sets about the business of manipulating circumstances so that the greatest amount of destruction can happen in their lives when he meets them again.  Dantès moves to Paris where all live, and is rich, handsome, and quickly established as the foremost personage in the city. He quickly becomes a personal friend of his betrayers, and then systematically destroys them and their families.

Dantès views himself as a messenger of God, sent to seek vengeance on those who have wronged him. Some die by their own hand, and others are ruined through loss of fortune, family, or sanity. At the same time, he is seeking restitution for those who have done right or who are innocent.

Themes

The greatest theme in this story revolves around the nature of man. Those who are good, grow greater. Those who are bad, grow worse. No character is perfect.

The interesting thing about this study of human nature was the extent of the destruction that people brought upon themselves. The Count of Monte Cristo does manipulate circumstances to bring about the ruin of those who have wronged him, but they created their own circumstances. Monte Cristo simply brings their deeds to light.  Those who began with jealousy, moved on to betrayal, then found it easy to commit murder. They look pristine on the outside, but hidden beneath is a cancer that has destroyed all that is good in them.

Another theme is that the right always wins and those who seek the good of others will be repaid tenfold. This is a persistent theme in classics: the good wins out. Just as Monte Cristo seeks vengeance on those who have done wrong, he finds those who have been wronged like himself and creates beauty from ashes. These characters are few and far between in this story, but they are rewarded for the pain they have endured at the hand of another.

If you are looking for a good read, and like revenge, murder, and vengeance in an old fashioned story, The Count of Monte Cristo is for you. I learned from the study of human nature, and liked the story of restoration.

This coming week I will be reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. I am looking forward to a good laugh.

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