Shakespearean Influences on Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo

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Alexandre Dumas was a well known author who came along about two centuries after William Shakespeare, whom he studied well. In fact, connections of literary elements, symbolisms, and themes can be found between his works and Shakespeare's. However, Shakespeare was a playwright and Dumas was a novelist. In this paper, some of the aforementioned similarities will be revealed to you and evaluated; specifically, they will be between The Count of Monte Cristo and any of Shakespeare's works. Perhaps the most obvious usage appears at the end of The Count of Monte Cristo when Valentine is "poisoned" to appear dead, but in reality she is then stowed away on the Isle of Monte Cristo to await Maximillien. In this scenario Maximillien is much like Romeo and Valentine like Juliet.₁ Maximillien, believing his love to be dead, has the desire to commit suicide, but when the count gives him the poison to fulfill his promise, it only knocks him out. He then wakes up, seeing Valentine, and, of course, he is in a state of shock, yet of bliss. "This is the happy version of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, where the lovers actually live happily ever after in each other's arms – the ending we always want. . ."₁ Unfortunately Romeo arrives before Juliet has awoken, and believing her to be dead, commits suicide with deadly poison. So as you can see the use of poisons can trick the eye, bringing death, or its likeness, in order to create a tragic or comedic effect. The use of poisons works well in both books, but Dumas had many more uses of it throughout his novel. However, his book still unfolded very enjoyably and had a happy ending. In Romeo and Juliet, it allows the play to take its tragic turn, and being a play, these dramatic moments seem bett... ... middle of paper ... ...risto." The Gale Group, Inc., 2004. Web. 8 May, 2010. Bibliography Shmoop Editorial Team. "The Count of Monte Cristo Symbolism, Imagery & Allegory." Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 8 May 2010. Aubrey, Brian, Emily A. McDermott, and Robert Stowell. "The Count of Monte Cristo." - Novel Resource Guide and Literary Analysis. The Gale Group, Inc., 2004. Web. 8 May 2010. Jonathan, Bate. "Alexandre Dumas, beyond the Grave - Telegraph." N.p., 11 May 2008. Web. 8 May 2010. McSpadden, J. Walker. "Introduction to The Count of Monte Cristo." Cadytech. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 May 2010. Dumas, Alexandre, and Lowell Bair. The Count of Monte Cristo. New York: Bantam, 1988. Print. Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet. Ed. Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine. New York: Pocket Books, 1992. Print.

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