The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo

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In the beginning of the book The Count of Monte Cristo we meet Edmond Dantès; he comes across as a model of honesty, ability, and innocence. “He was a fine tall, slim young fellow, with black eyes, and hair as dark as a ravens wing; and his whole appearance bespoke that calmness and resolution peculiar to men accustomed from their cradle to contend with danger (pg 4).” Regardless of his youth, he is a useful leader to his sailors. He was also very devoted to his father and fiancée. Dantes was capable of looking into the good side of the people that disliked him like Danglars “a man of twenty-five or twenty –six…of unprepossessing countenance, obsequious to his superiors, insolent to his inferiors (pg6),” Caderousse “a man of twenty-five or twenty-six years of age (pg17),” and Fernand “tall, strapping, black eyed Catalan, with a red complexion, brown skin, and fierce air (pg21).”Even thought they were mean to Dantes he always treated them fairly and civilly Alexander Dumas shows us that when Morrel asks Dantès to evaluate Danglars’s work on the ship, Dantès could easily ruin his enemy’s career with a mean word but he chooses to put aside his personal feelings and honestly evaluates Danglars on a professional level. “If you mean as a responsible agent that you ask me the question, I believe there is nothing to say against him, and that you will be content with the way in which he has performed his duty (pg12).” Similarly, rather than reproach Caderousse for mistreating his father, Dantès politely welcomes him into his home and offers to lend him money. Dantès even manages to control his will toward Fernand, his rival for Mercédès feelings. Dantès is loyal to those he loves and sees the best in those who are flawed. While Dantès sits atop the pedestal of honesty and generosity, his three enemies could not be further from it. Unaware of Dantès’s kindness and tolerance, they have convinced themselves that he is very mean. When Dantès takes pride in his good luck, the other men feel injury to their own egos. There are only two enemies of Dantes, Caderousse and Danglars, actually dislike Dantès at this point; Fernand’s hatred of Dantès, by contrast, does not stem from any will of Dantès’s character. Fernand simply dislikes Dantès because he is the main obstacle to his own happiness with Mercedes.

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Alexander Dumas sets these three grudging men up as foils—characters whose attitudes or emotions contrast with and thereby accentuate those of another character—to the noble-hearted Dantès. Though the three men all participate in Dantès’s downfall, they are each guilty of a different crime that corresponds to their different attributes and relationships to Dantès. Duma also clearly portrays Danglars as the most villainous of Dantès’s three enemies, because he is the only one who acts on a plan. Perhaps the most important, since Danglars is the only one who suspects the contents of the letter that Dantès is carrying, he is the only one who understands the ramifications of the accusations planned against Dantès. ”Well , then, I should say, for instance, resumed Danglars, that if after a voyage such as Dantes has just made, and in which he touched the Isle of Elba, some one were to denounce him to the kings procedure as a Bonapartist(pg 39).” Fernand’s crime, on the other hand, is an impetuous crime of passion. Gripped with the overwhelming desire to have Mercédès for himself, Fernand takes Danglars’s bait and mails the letter and Caderousse is merely guilty of cowardice and weakness. He is not an active participant in drafting or mailing the letter. Yet, though Caderousse knows Dantès’s motives regarding the letter are innocent, he says nothing in Dantès’s defense when he is arrested. Though Caderousse feels pity for Dantès as well as guilt over his part in the crime, he is too fearful of implicating himself and chooses to remain quiet and let an innocent man go to prison. Danglars’s clear, calculating ambition, Fernand’s impetuous criminality, and Caderousse cowardice and spinelessness make Dantes joy dissolve.

6-23-05
Chapters 6-12

In this part of the book we see that France is divided by a deep political schism between revolutionary Bonapartist, who hoped to bring Napoleon and his liberal democratic ideas back to the French throne, and conservative royalists, who were committed to the old French royal family and their traditional rule. This is important role in the chapters of The Count of Monte Cristo. Characters associated with the Bonapartist cause, such as Morrel, Dantès, the dead captain, and Noirtier, are portrayed in a sympathetic light, while the aristocratic royalists, such as Villefort and the Marquise de Saint-Méran, and are cast in the roles of villains. This stark division between good Bonapartist and bad royalists is not surprising, since Dumas was a great admirer of Napoleon and had strong democratic leanings.

His father had been a general in Napoleon’s army, and Dumas grew up with a love of freedom and a respect for individual rights. Dantès is undone not only by the jealousy of dishonorable men but also by the oppressive political system of the post-revolutionary era, a system that routinely sentenced suspected radicals to life in prison with little or no proof of guilt. Dantès is a pawn in a game of political intrigue, and his rights as an individual are ignored as Villefort uses him to advance his personal political goals. Dumas shows us that Villefort dose not obey to the promises tat he made to Dantes of freeing him because that letter that Dantes was to take to Paris is for Villeforts father Noirtier who is a Bonapartist and that can ruin his personal goals. “Had a thunderbolt fallen into the room, Villefort could not have been more stupefied. He sank into his seat, and hastily turning over the packet, drew forth the fatal letter, at which he glanced with an expression of terror…Noirtier is the father of Villefort, I am lost! (pg 83).” Noirtier the father of Villefort plats the character of modern political regimes when he tells his son that “in politics . . . there are no men, but ideas—no feelings, but interests; in politics we do not kill a man, we only remove an obstacle.”() But sending Dantes to prison only made Villefort fill with vague apprehensions for he had destroyed an innocent man happiness. “Villefort, in his turn, burst into tears, and sank into a chair…The man he sacrificed to his ambition, that innocent victim he made pay the penalty of his father’s faults, appeared to him pale and threatening, leading his affianced bride by the hand, and bringing with remorse (pg98).” The political system’s prioritization of ideas over men and interests over feelings, along with its perception of man as an obstacle, is a natural outcome of its impersonal and dehumanizing nature. Like Napoleon himself, Dantès eventually emerges as a champion for the rights of the individual, working against the oppressive tyranny of the political system. Dantès simply loves and admires; he does not analyze or judge. Interestingly, when he emerges later as the Count of Monte Cristo, he is guided only by ideas. He is specifically motivated by one idea—revenge; consequently, he becomes incapable of feeling normal human sentiments. For the same reason, it makes sense that when Dantès later falls into error and sin, becoming a strange mixture of hero and antihero, it is his intellect that takes over as a dominating yet dangerous force. This dichotomy between emotion and intellect allows Dumas to show his belief in the supremacy of the Romantic individual over the rational human being.



6-24-05
Chapters 13-14

By giving Chapter 12 the same subtitle as Chapter 2—“Father and Son”—Dumas invites us to compare the two father-son pairs portrayed in these chapters. In Chapter 2 the father and son are Louis and Edmond Dantès, a pair bound by absolute love and devotion. In Chapter 12, however, the father-son pair of Noirtier and Villefort is bound by little more than mutual distrust. When Dantès hears of his newfound good fortune, his first thought is of how he might improve life for his father; he fantasizes about all the nice things his newfound affluence will enable him to provide for the old man. Villefort, in contrast, is prepared to sacrifice his father in order to increase his own fortune. Though Villefort warns his father that the authorities are searching for a man of his description, this act is motivated not by loyalty but by self-interest: Villefort knows that his own career will be ruined if his father is charged with murder. “But father, take care when our turn comes, our revenge will be sweeping (pg124).” Later, Villefort attempts to break all ties with Noirtier, even going so far as to renounce his family name. When his future in-laws ask him to state his allegiances, Villefort has no qualms about harshly denouncing his father. “Blanca’s, my friend, you have but limits comprehension. I told you Villefort was ambitious, and to attain his ambition Villefort would sacrifice everything, even his father (pg107)”. Here, filial loyalty serves to underscore the vast difference in character between Dantès and Villefort. Dantès’s devotion to his father reveals his kindness and basic goodness, while Villefort’s neglect and betrayal of his father expose him as a heartless conniver, looking out only for himself.

6-26-05
Chapters 15-20

The title of Chapter 15, “Number 34 and Number 27,” indicates yet another crime of society against the individual. As prisoners, Dantès and Faria are reduced to numbers and are no longer addressed by their names. “The disposal of Dantès’s name is the final affront to his rights as an individual; it amounts to a loss of his self. As an individual, Dantès is deemed worthless when Villefort sacrifices him for his own political ambitions; this denial of his worth is made official with the loss of even his own name. “At the bottom of his heart he had often compassionated the unhappy young man who suffered thus; and he laid the request of number 34 before the governor (pg 150)”.Dumas shows us that being treated as a number made Dantes wish for death. “Dantes said, I wish to die (pg 152)” Abbé Faria, “He was a man of small stature, with hair blanched rather by suffering and sorrow than years. A deepest, penetrating eye, almost buried beneath the thick gray eyebrow, and a long(still black) beard reaching down to his breast…The stranger might have numbered sixty or sixty-five years(pg165)”, who is also known merely as a number, saves Dantès’s life by treating him as a human being and free in equal conversation. Dantès rises out of his depression and finds new things to live for. Faria is well-educated, well-read man who believes strongly in the power of human reason and closely studies human nature and human societies. Faria is a great fan of Napoleon and a firm believer in the firmness of national and personal freedom. Faria educates Dantes and gives him the potential to reach the highest goal that his individual nature permits. Dumas shows us how smart was Abbé Faria. “Dantes was, in fact, busily occupied by the idea that a person as intelligent, ingenious, and clear-sighted as the Abbé, might probably be enable to dive into dark recesses of his own misfortune (pg183)”. When he enters the prison, he is a person without malice; it never occurs to him that people could act as cruelly and selfishly as his enemies have. When Faria reveals the true cause of Dantès’s imprisonment, Dantès’s blinding trustfulness is destroyed. Faria immediately apologizes to Dantès for telling him the truth about his history, knowing that he has transformed him. . “Because it has instilled a new passion in your heart- that of vengeance…a bitter smile played over the features of the young man (pg 194)”. Dantès initially does not understand why Faria is apologizing to him, for he is happy to finally have the truth revealed. Dumas shows us that Abbé has a great treasure that he is going to give half to Dantes. “Now my dear fellow, you know as much as I do myself. If we ever escape together, half this treasure is yours; if I die here, and you escape alone, the whole belongs to you (pg 218)”. With the information of an enormous treasure that may soon be his own, Dantès, much to his horror, finds himself thinking only of the amount of harm he could wreak with such a fortune instead of the pleasure it could bring him. “Edmond thought he was in a dream-he wavered between incredulity and joy (pg 219)”. Now aware of the evil deeds committed against him, he has become full with the desire for vengeance and has lost his capacity to enjoy life with the innocence of his past. Dumas compares Dantès’s imprisonment to death, which makes Dantès’s later actions and situation as a rebirth or resurrection. In Chapter 14, the narrator tells us that Dantès “looked upon himself as dead (pg 139)” while in Chapter 17, Dantès himself refers to prison as “a living grave (pg179)” This morbid language signifies a symbolic death: the happy, innocent Dantès of the early chapters dies and is replaced by the vengeful, bitter man of the remainder of the novel. This death is not just one of innocence, but maybe also one of humanity. The Dantès who comes out from prison is not simply vengeful: he is nearly superhuman in his mental and physical abilities, while subhuman in his emotional capacity. He is something both greater and less than a human being.

6-30-05
Chapters 21-23

Just as Dantès’s sentence is represent as a sort of death, his escape is release as a sort of rebirth. Dantès comes out into the free world by way of water, clearly a symbolic reference to the Christian tradition of baptism, in which a newborn baby is doused with water in order to dedicate its soul to God. “He swam on…and hour passed, during which Dantes excited by the feeling of freedom, continued to cleave the waves (pg 240)”. Dantès is reborn as a man with a single mission—to avenge the wrongs done to him. His baptismal oath, then, can be seen as a promise to carry out this vengeance, which he believes is God’s will. “He renewed against Danglars, Fernand, and Villefort the oath of implacable vengeance he had made in his dungen. The oath was no longer a vain menace (pg 249)”. Signs of Dantès’s transformation appear immediately, as we see when he boards the smugglers’ ship bearing falsehoods about his identity. The Dantès of the early chapters is a suddenly honest man, yet he now lies easily and skillfully about his identity. “Edmond thus had the advantage of knowing what the owner was, without the owner knowing who he was (pg 251)”. He puts up his first lie without a second thought, and he follows with a flood of other untruths. Dumas shows the smugglers as good, even admirable men. The smugglers’ actions have little to do with justice in a fair sense. Dumas’s message is clear: societal justice is really no justice at all, as it punishes moral and good people for petty crimes that have nothing to do with real justice, while rewarding the vile and unethical with wealth and power.







7-1-05
Chapters 24-25               

In Chapter 24, Dumas begins to explore an important difference between lives filled with hope and lives filled with hopelessness. Preparing himself for the disappointment of not finding the treasure, Dantès reflects that “[t]he heart breaks when, after having been elated by flattering hopes, it sees all these illusions destroyed(pg 272)” He thus acknowledges that hope is what keeps a human being going and that hopelessness is the only thing that destroys the human spirit. Dantès begins to understand that happiness and despair stem from expectations, not from what one actually has or does not have. With all his desires now join on pass his revenge, Dantès realizes that he faces the possibility of falling into despair once again if he finds no treasure and as a result cannot hope to carry out his revenge. “Now that I expect nothing, now that I longer entertain the slightest hopes, the end of this adventure becomes a simple matter of curiosity (pg 272).” He attempts to not bright his hopes in order to save himself the crippling pain that would result if he finds these hopes let down. When Dantès locates the treasure, he considers the event both “joyous and terrible,” because he knows that with this wealth, he must now begin the obsessive, dark endeavor that will consume him for the next decade. “He then set himself to work to count his fortune…It was a night, at once joyous and terrible, such as this man of stupendous emotions had already experienced two or three times in his life(pg 277).” Dantes must sever ties to normal human life and give over himself to destroying his enemies. This scary task is made possible by his fortune alone, and so the fortune itself frightens him. Only when Dantès prays is he able to feel the day is at all “joyous.” His prayer calms the feelings of horror and disgust that the sight of his treasure mix’s up and promises him that God supports his mission of revenge. Dantès prove to himself that only God could have plan the winning discovery of such an enormous treasure, and that the treasure exists for the very purpose of carrying out a terrible punishment on Dantès’s enemies. Dantès’s belief that God is using him as an instrument to carry out divine will continues to keep up his determination throughout the novel. Given Dantès’s religious understanding of his mission, it is significant that the island where he finds his treasure is called “Monte Cristo,” which in Italian means “the mountain of Christ.” This religious conception of his mission and Dantès’s certainty about its legitimacy allow him to overlook the “terrible” aspect of his discovery and bask in its “joyous” aspect.



7-4-05
Chapters 26-30

Dantès’s talks in these chapters makes it clear that he truly thinks himself an agent of Providence rather than a man merely carrying out a good cause. He feels qualified to tell Caderousse that “God may seem sometimes to forget for a while, whilst his justice reposes, but there always comes a moment when he remembers (pg297).” Here, Dantès means that the signal that God “remembers,” in this case, is that God has given him this vast fortune to use as a tool of reward and punishment. As Dantès departs Marseilles, he reflects, “I have been Heaven’s substitute to recompense the good—now the God of Vengeance yields to me his power to punish the wicked! (pg274)” In calling himself “Heaven’s substitute,” Dantès is clearer in what he has to do. So he considers himself God’s messenger on earth, it is that’s why he chooses to disguise himself as a priest when visiting Caderousse. Like in some traditions, the priest acts as a direct mediator between God and man—the same role that Dantès sees himself as living in his quest for revenge. Dantès’s different disguises join with the role that he plays while assuming that identity. He tends to dress as the Abbé Busoni when he is standing in judgment. He dresses like Abbé Busoni to disguise himself when visiting Caderousse, as he must decide whether Caderousse should be rewarded as a friend or punished as an enemy. When engaging in acts of excessive generosity, as he does toward Morrel, Dantès dresses as an Englishman whom we later learn he refers to as Lord Wilmore. Dantès tends to use the name Sinbad the Sailor when acting in a mostly odd manner, but he primarily makes use of this name when in Italy. Later, Dantès takes the name Monte Cristo when acting as an angel of vengeance. Like the God of the Old Testament, who uses a different name to refer to each of his different aspects—his punishing side and his compassionate side, for example—Dantès, a self-appointed emissary of God on earth, also fractures his personality into its various components: judging, rewarding, and punishing. Like God, he assigns each aspect a different identity.
Of all the names Dantès uses, Sinbad the Sailor bears its own original significance, as it is a familiar name. Sinbad the Sailor is a character in a famous Middle Eastern folktale about a merchant who goes on seven dangerous and fantastical journeys, ultimately ending up enormously wealthy. There are many similarities between Sinbad’s seven dangerous voyages leading up to his ultimate wealth and Dantès’s own dangerous journey through prison before the discovery of his treasure. Dantes is also similar to Sinbad because in his story, it focuses on a poor porter who envies Sinbad’s wealth and is unhappy with his own boring life. By the end of Sinbad’s story, which is filled with horrors and dangers, the porter is convinced his own life is not so bad after all. Each of Dantès’s three enemies betrays him out of greed and ambition, giving in to lust for what he does not have. Danglars betrays Dantès to win the captaincy of the Pharaon, Fernand betrays Dantès to gain Mercédès for himself, and Villefort betrays Dantès to increase his own power. By using the name Sinbad the Sailor, Dantès tacitly accuse these three men for their shortsighted greed. Also the red silk purse has a symbol of the connection between good deed and reward. Dumas shows us that he gets this purse by Caderousse who had it and exchanged it for the diamond. “Give me the red silk purse that M.Morrel left on old Dantes chimney-piece (pg 321).” First used by Morrel to help save Louis Dantès, the purse is now used to save Morrel in turn, telling that his kindness and generosity toward Louis are being repaid. Dantès’s uses of the purse dirty the pure act of self-sacrifice. By using the purse, Dantès reveals that on some level he wants Morrel to recognize him as the savior. “Morel took the purse, and started as he did so, for a vague remembrance reminded him that it once belonged to himself. At one end was a bill for 287,500 francs receipted; at the other was a diamond as large as a hazels nut, with these words on a small slip of parchment: Julies Dowry (pg 359).”The purse is not just a simple symbol of the connection between reward and punishment but as a more difficult personification of Dantès’s different reasons in acting as a support. Dantès has selfless gratitude for Morrel’s kindness but also a selfish desire to be recognized as the author of Morrel’s financial salvation.

7-8-05
Chapters 31-34

In the ten years that occur between the events in Marseilles and the meeting between Franz and Dantès, Dantès’s rebirth as the mysterious Count of Monte Cristo is complete. Dantès comes out from these ten mysterious years as an almost supernatural being: he comes across as an all knowing person and powerful, possessing all possible human knowledge and superhuman physical strength, and keeps a level of sneakiness that gives him a nearly magical aura. Even Dantès’s appearance is supernatural, sometimes compared to that of a corpse and other times to that of a vampire. His flesh too is described as oddly inhuman, “Although of paleness that was almost livid, this man had a remarkably handsome face (pg377).” causing Franz to shudder when he touches it. The transformation that begins in prison has now been carried so far that the Monte Cristo we find in Chapter 31 though he calls himself Sinbad bears virtually no resemblance to the Dantès we know in Chapter 30. Dantes lives surrounded by excellent food, beautiful women, drugs, and every imaginable physical luxury. But in the book it seams that he dose not enjoy the pleasures that surrounds him. Dantes seems to be occupied by thoughts of pain, death, and revenge. Dumas show us that the drugs that Dantès has are the only way of escaping his all- surrounding obsession for short periods of time. “At these words he uncover the small cup which contained the substance so lauded, took a teaspoonful of magic sweet-meat, raised it to his lips, and swallowed it slowly, with his eye half shut and his head bent backwards(pg383).” Part of the reason Monte Cristo surrounds himself with luxury is simply to impress other people. All the people that meet him are dazzled by his ability to recommend himself into any situation and carry out his plan of vengeance.
Dumas points out this connection between drugs and human transcendence when he has Dantès declare that drugs cause “the boundaries of possibility [to] disappear (383).” According to Dantès, drugs allow one to move beyond human limits by providing a form of experience in which these limits do not exist. “A grateful world to the dealer in happiness (pg384).”

7-10-05
Chapters 35-39

In chapter 35, they describe Monte Cristo as a vampire. “Is he a vampire or a resuscitated corpse? (pg 446).” Countess G describes Monte Cristo like a vampire, a man partly of this world and partly of another world, at the same time tempting and terrifying. Countess G calls Monte Cristo “no other than Lord Ruthven himself in a living form (pg 447).”According to the book The Count of Monte Cristo the name Lord Ruthven was know to people as a vampire or else they wouldn’t have called Monte Cristo as “himself in a living form.” When Monte Cristo, Franz, and Albert were talking they raised a number of interesting issues about the limits of human justice. Monte Cristo explains that his regret with human justice follow not only from the fact that the system sometimes allows the guilty to fall through the cracks, going unpunished for terrible crimes, but also from the fact that modern means of punishment are not enough. The worst punishment that the modern criminal justice system will force is death, yet death is nothing compared to the agony that many victims of crime suffer. Dumas shows us an example that Monte Cristo put in the book about the agony that many victims of crime suffer. “If a man had by unheard of the excruciating tortures destroy your father, your mother, your mistress, in a word, one of those beings, who when they are torn from you leave a desolation a wound that never closes, in your breast, do you think the reparation that society gives you sufficient by causing the knife of the guillotine to pass between the base of the occiput and the trapezal muscles of the murderer because he who has caused us years of moral sufferings undergoes a few moments of physical pain?(pg 463).” Monte Cristo wonders whether it is enough that a criminal “who has caused us years of moral sufferings undergoes a few moments of physical pain (pg 463).” In this part of the book there is a deep psychological close into Monte Cristo’s mind as a punisher. He cannot feel any happiness until his enemies suffer something as painful as that which they have inflicted upon him. Dumas shows in the book another example of how Monte Cristo would like to avenge himself. “I would fight for such a cause, but in return for a slow, profound, eternal torture, I would give back the same were it possible: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth (pg 464).” We can guess from Monte Cristo’s words that the revenge plan is no simple murder plot—like the plot come up with by Piçaud, the real life model for Monte Cristo—but rather an try to destroy his enemies psychologically and emotionally. Dumas shows
Albert as a playful child who honestly judges danger and adventure. When he first hears of the life of the famous Luigi Vampa, he wants to take off right away to fight the bandit chief. Albert is also anxious to have many romantic adventures while in Italy. Albert is very silly but it might have been because he is young. Albert’s bravery in Vampa’s lair show that he has the makings of a fine adult, “Vampa looked at Albert with a kind of admiration; he was not insensible to such a proof of courage (pg 507),”and gratitude toward Monte Cristo after saving him, “you are really most kind, and I hope you will consider me as eternally obliged to you, in the first place for the carriage, and in the next for this (pg 508).” Aside from Monte Cristo, Albert is one of the few characters in the novel to feel psychological development as the story continue.

7-14-05
Chapters 40-50

Dumas gives Bertuccio a long speech which gives Bertuccio the chance to tell all that we need to know about his life and his connection to other major characters, namely Villefort and Caderousse. The context of the speech is, admittedly, very forced: we know that Monte Cristo and Abbé Busoni is the same person, so we are aware that Monte Cristo already knows all the information he is forcing Bertuccio to reveal. It is by means of the dialogue over breakfast in Chapters 40 and 41, for instance that we learn about Maximilian’s bravery, “it was the 5th of September, the anniversary of the day on which my father was miraculously preserved; therefore, as far as it lies in my power, I endavour to celebrate it by some, Heroic action, interrupted Chateau-Renaud (pg 533),” and Monte Cristo’s true connection to Luigi Vampa, “I had know the famous Vampa for more than ten years. When he was quite a child (pg 544).” Then there is the sudden appearance of Maximilian Morrel at Albert’s house in Chapter 41 is a key in a plot twist. For ten years Monte Cristo has been preparing himself to feel and act upon nothing but hatred and vengeance. The appearance of Maximilian calls up a set of different emotions for which Monte Cristo is not prepared. “At the name the [of M.Maximilian Morrel]the count, who had hitherto saluted every one with courtesy, but at the same time with coldness and formality, steeped a pace forward, and a slight tinged of red colored his pale cheeks(pg 593).” He is suddenly filled with gratitude and warmth—two sentiments that he has prepared to leave behind. Being there Maximilian’s complicates Monte Cristo’s attempts to divide his life neatly into years devoted to rewarding and years spent punishing. When Albert was giving Monte Cristo a tour of the house Monte Cristo suddenly got attracted by a portrait of a woman, “[with a] picturesque costume of the Catalan fisherwomen, a red and black bodice, and the golden pins in her hair. She was looking at the sea, and her shadow was defined on the blue ocean and sky. Albert did not perceive the paleness that spread itself over the counts visage, or nervous heaving of his chest and shoulder (pg 554).” Dumas shows that by the way that Monte Cristo acted and the way the women was dressed in a costume that of a Catalan fisherwoman symbolically connects Mercédès to Dantès, who was a sailor during the period when the two were engaged that it was Mercedes. The portrait of Mercédès looking sadly out to sea hints that she has never forgotten, or stops to love, Dantès. Mercédès has spent years under the mistaken impression that Dantès died at sea when he was thrown from the rocks in Abbé Faria’s cover. In her sad gaze toward the sea, then, she is focused on what she believes to be Dantès’s grave. Dumas shows that Mercédès’s has a ability to recognize Dantès even through the changes of time and need also show the depth of her feeling for him. She has stayed so carefully connected to him in her thoughts that she is right away able to see through his new exterior. “[Mercedes was]pale and motionless; when Monte Cristo turned round…I feel some emotion on seeing, for the first time, the man without whose intervention we should have been in tears of desolation(pg 560).” Mercédès’s ability to recognize Dantès confirms what the portrait suggests: despite her marriage to Fernand, she has always remained loyal to Dantès in her heart. Even Fernand is clearly aware that the portrait signifies Mercédès’s lasting feelings for Dantès, since he has it throw out from his house. Not only did Mercedes recognize Monte Cristo but Monte Cristo also recognized her. “The counts bowed again, but lower than before; he was even paler than Mercédès (pg 563).” At the end of chapter 42 we see that Mercédès asks Albert a whole bunch of questions respecting The Cont of Monte Cristo which Dumas shows that Mercédès is freighted by what Monte Cristo might do to her son because she has married Fernand. “The countess bent her head as if beneath a heavy wave of bitter thoughts. I have always put you on your guard against new acquaintances. And my fears are weakness, especially when directed against a man who has saved your life (pg 566).” When Villefort is reintroduced in Chapter 49, he is shown as a firm and inflexible “statue of the law (pg 657),” challenging a form of justice that, according to Monte Cristo, is really no justice at all. Villefort is obsessed with laws and rules, and he lives for the trial of criminals. He cares little for human beings or for anything humanistic, such as art or entertainment; indeed, he is known as the “least curious man in Paris (pg 655).” Villefort is dishonest, boldly breaking the very laws he upholds, first by sentencing an innocent man to prison and then by attempting to kill his own newborn son. Villefort’s dishonesty also has a strong parallel in modern society, which rewards immorality on the part of the wealthy and powerful. Danglars, for instance, is rewarded kindly for his financial opportunism. According to Monte Cristo, modern societies are only thinly disguised tyrannies, oppressing the common man and refusing him his rights as an individual and his equal protection under the law. “That human nature being weak, every man according to your creed, has committed faults (pg 663).” Villefort, then, is the living personification of—as well as the agent of—this tyranny

Chapters 51-62
7-16-05

Dumas shows Haydée as a model of luxurious, sensual Oriental. Haydée’s apartments, filled with silk cushions and diaphanous curtains, are decorated like something out of the collection of Eastern folktales known as The Arabian Nights. “Monte Cristo [treated] Haydée with all the respect and deference they would observe to a queen (pg 669).” Haydée herself always dresses in her native Greek style, and even the food she eats is Oriental. Dumas’s description of Haydée as resting on the ground in a position that “though perfectly natural for an Eastern female, would have been deemed too full of coquettish straining after effect in a European (pg 669).” Haydée’s exotic nature rubs off on Monte Cristo, encourage his own aura. Not only does Monte Cristo brag Haydée as a member of his household, but his cave on the island of Monte Cristo is decorated in Oriental style, and he often claims to consider himself more Oriental than Western. Haydée, with her dazzlingly unfamiliar beauty and her foreign way of life, typifies this Romantic notion of the exotic. “The extreme beauty of the countenance that shone forth in loveliness that mocked the vain attempts of dress to argument it was peculiar and purely Grecian…Haydée was in the very springtide and fullness of youthful charms- she had not yet numbered more than eighteen summers (pg 670).” Dumas portrays Noirtier as one of the kind characters of the novel. Noirtier has committed many sins in his days as a revolutionary, by sacrificing human beings lives for big ideas. In Villefort’s words, he was a man “for whom France was a vast chessboard, from which pawns, rooks, knights, and queens, were to disappear, so that the king was checkmated (pg 800).” Meaning that Noirtier treated people by the wealth they had and, he considered it an important end. The telegraph in chapters 61 and 62 show the destruction of Danglars. Unlike the ruin of Fernand and Villefort, Danglars’s end is slow and boring. Since Danglars cares about nothing but his wealth, Monte Cristo attacks at his wealth, causing repeated losses that destroy Danglars’s credit. “When it was seen that Danglars sold, the Spanish funds fell directly. Danglars lost five hundred thousands francs; but he rid himself of all his Spanish shares….The founds rose one percent higher than before they had fallen. This reckoning his loss, and what he had missed gaining, made the difference of a million to Danglars (pg 842).” Then a variety of clients of Danglars suddenly borrowed large amounts of money and caused him bankrupt, by allow honoring their debts to him. All the people that were borrowing from Danglars were only one person under assumed names, Monte Cristo.

7-19-05
Chapters 63–67

Monte Cristo prepares a room were a secret was going to be revealed to all of his audience a secret staircase, an illicit love affair, and an act of infanticide. When Monte Cristo shows all of those things to Madame Danglars’s and Villefort’s they burst into terror. “Well, said Monte Cristo, you may believe me, if you like, but it is my belief that a crime has been committed in this house…Monte Cristo felt the arm of Madame Danglars stiffen, while that of Villefort trembled (pg 862).” By the way that they act and knowing what happens in Chapter 44 when Bertuccio tell his story we see that it was Villeforts and Madame Danglars illegitimate baby that Bertuccio rescued for they thought that no one knew their secret. In the chapters we see that Monte Cristo’s two most trusted companions, Bertuccio and Haydée, share his irresistible desire for revenge. Bertuccio wants to avenge himself on Villefort because of his refusal, as public prosecutor, to seek justice in the murder of Bertuccio’s brother. Haydée wants to take revenge on Fernand Mondego for betraying her father and selling her into slavery. These is important to Monte Cristo because they show revenge against the same people he dose and both have information and links that can help bring the downfall of their common enemies, and they are willing to do whatever is required of them to carry out this downfall. Yet it seems that Bertuccio and Haydée are not merely fitting to Monte Cristo but also very important to him as his only two true companions. So maybe it may be just their common lust for revenge that draws Monte Cristo toward Bertuccio and Haydée because Monte Cristo is himself obsessed with revenge that maybe he cannot be happy around anyone who does not share this obsession to some degree. For Monte Cristo describes in Chapter 49, to Villefort as “being of no country, asking no protection from any government, acknowledging no man as my brother (pg 656).” His refusal to allow himself as a member of any country, society, or fraternity indicates that he has cast off connection in every possible community. None of these communities, Monte Cristo mean here and elsewhere, live up to his strict standards of justice and propriety.


7-21-05
Chapters 68–76

In these chapters we see Monte Cristo with his many resources and hidden identities using his enormous gifts to fight crime and help the innocent with his disguise. Dressed as an Italian priest or an Englishman, no one recognizes him as the Count of Monte Cristo. In Chapter 70, we see his red wig and fake scar that convince Villefort that he is Lord Wilmore. Villefort does not even begin to suspect his true identity meaning how good the Count is in disguising himself. “Lord Wilmore having heard the door close after him, returned to his bedroom, where with one hand he pulled off his light hair, his red whiskers, his false jaw, and his wound, to resume his own black hair, the dark complexion, and the pearly teeth of the Count of Monte Cristo(pg 928).” The most impressive side of Monte Cristo’s disguises is that they fool even his closest companions. Bertuccio, for instance, never figures out that Monte Cristo and Abbé Busoni is the same person. Monte Cristo carefully gathers his enemies’ histories, by collecting clues and evidence and questioning his suspects and those close to them, talk out of them any information they can give. He cleverly controls those around him, forcing his enemies to their breaking point—tempting Danglars into betrothing his daughter to Cavalcanti, “You are not thinking of Mademoiselle Danglars, I hope; you would not like poor Andréa to have his throat cut by Albert?(pg 893)”. As we go back to chapter 53 we see that Monte Cristo cleverly controls Madame de Villefort to begin her fight of murders, “[Madame Villefort said] I have a passion for the occult sciences, e=which speak to the imagination like poetry, and are reducible to figures, like an algebraic equation; but go on, I pray of you; what you say interest me to the greatest degree (pg 710).”After that Monte Cristo explains everything about poisons to Madame Villefort. Eventually, Monte Cristo brings to light horrible crimes that, if not for his investigation, might never be open. Unlike his real-life model, Piçaud, Monte Cristo does not stoop to criminal actions when taking revenge. We see Monte Cristo telling in these chapters his difficult plan to destroy his enemies by exposing their own past crimes. Moreover, Monte Cristo does not rely on the crimes his enemies committed against him long ago, but instead draws on far greater crimes they have committed against others in the intervening years. Danglars is ultimately punished for his cruel financial opportunism, Fernand Mondego for his betrayal of Ali Pacha, and Villefort for his merciless and hypocritical wielding of the law. So knowing this it is not Monte Cristo who is the ruin of these men, but their own criminal or selfish actions. As we later see, he appeals to his enemies’ particular weaknesses in tempting them into ruin. For it is Danglars’s greed, that draws him to Andrea Cavalcanti—an attraction that later becomes the final blow in his destruction. “Danglars charmed with the ideas…of allowing [Andrea Cavalcanti] his son [and wining] 50,000 francs a year (pg 867)”. Villefort’s ruin, that is brought on by his strong, hard ambition, which prevents him from permitting a criminal investigation to take place in his house, and allowing the murderer to remain at large, poised to strike again. “[Doctor d’Avrigny said] bury this terrible secret in the deepest recesses of our hearts. If anyone should suspect this, that my silence on this subject should be imputed to my ignorance [Villefort said] thank you doctor. And as we feared Doctor d’Avrigny would recall his promise (pg 974).” Destroying each villain with his own weaknesses and his own crimes, Monte Cristo sets himself up as the point of justice rather than just a petty man getting back at old enemies. Then we see in Chapter 76 the connection between Noirtier and Franz d’Epinay’s father casts Villefort in an even worse light than ever before. We know that Villefort is aware of this connection, as it is the very murder he and Noirtier discuss in Chapter 12, when Villefort warns his father that the police are after him. Villefort wants the marriage to take place just because he thinks that it will promise that his father’s crime will never come to light. But once Franz is a member of the family no one would think to suspect Noirtier. There Dumas shows how Franz breaks the engagement because of what Noirtier told him. “Franz arrived at the word I…yes...You! Cried Franz…you, M.Nortier! You killed my father? (pg 1007).” This shows that Villefort is acting only for the sake of his own ambition, sacrificing his daughter’s future and the feelings of an innocent stranger to his own goals.




7-23-05
Chapters 77–85

In these chapters show how all of the enemies of Monte Cristo fall. At this part of the book every plan to set the downfall of the enemies of Monte Cristo is set. Danglars is losing his fortune quickly, and the disgraceful suitors Andrea Cavalcanti know as Benneto is going to marry his daughter Eugenie. This is the trap that Monte Cristo is putting to Danglars for he is the only one that knows that he is Benedetto. “Danglars felt as much with joy as the miser who finds a lost treasure, or as the shipwrecked mariner who feels himself on the solid ground instead of in the abyss which he expected would swallow him up (pg 1091).”Meaning that Danglars was happy when Andrea Cavalcanti told him that he would marry Mademoiselle Danglars and just when he was feeling that he would fall in bankruptcy. Then it is Fernand Mondego’s history is now known, and it is only a matter of time before it becomes well-known to the public which will also bring him his downfall. “An announcement has been made which implicates the honor of a member of my family (pg 1062).” Last is Villefort’s home that is overwhelmed by murders, “I suspect no one; death raps at your door-it enters-it goes, not blindfolded, but circumspectly, from room to room…(pg 1085).” and his illegitimate son, whom he has tried to kill, and is loose somewhere in Parisian society. There is also the death of Caderousse is the first time that Monte Cristo feels his vengeance and delivers justice “The count had watched the approach of [Caderousse] death… he whispered I am –I am and Caderousse, who had raised himself…Oh, my God, my God, said he, pardon me for having denied thee; thou dost exist; thou art, indeed, mans father in heaven, and his judge on earth…Pardon me (pg 1131).”Meaning that Caderousse knew who he was in that moment and asked for forgiveness. As Caderousse is at death’s door, Monte Cristo catalogues the man’s long history of regret. As we go back to when Busoni gives him a fortune Caderousse thought of his fortune that looked great at first, but Caderousse soon grew used to it and longed for more, so he resorted to murder in order to double his fortune. Fate then smiled on him again and saved him from prison. He could have lived happy, comfortable life getting off of Benedetto, but he again quickly became unhappy and wanted for more, deciding once again to chose to steal and murder. Monte Cristo’s message is that Caderousse can never be truly satisfied with what he has and will always want more. “when you betrayed your friend, God began not to strike, but to warn you; poverty overtook you; you had already passed half your life in coveting that which you might have honorably acquire, and already you contemplated crime under the excuse of want, when God worked a miracle in your behalf, sending you, by my hands, a fortune-brilliant, indeed, for you, who had never possessed any. But this unexpected, unhoped for, unheard fortune sufficient you no longer when once you possessed it; you wished to double it; and how? By a murder! You succeeded, and God snatched it from it you, and brought you too justice (pg 1128).”Meaning that Caderousse is lazy and dishonest, and will always resort to dishonorable means in order to get what he wants. Comparing Monte Cristo’s to a real priest we see the difference between Monte Cristo’s idea of his beautifully fated mission of justice and the traditional Christian concept of justice. When Abbé Busoni confronts the dying Caderousse with his fault, Caderousse talks softly, “what a strange priest you are; you drive the dying to despair instead of consoling them (pg1128).” This tells that Christianity talk forgiveness and condemns revenge. Just as Monte Cristo sets himself up as a force independent of and at odds with modern society, he also sets himself up as independent of and at odds with traditional Christianity.

7-25-05
Chapters 85–88

Albert’s reaction to the revelation of his father’s shameful past consists entirely of undirected rage and an overwhelming desire for violence. He makes it clear that he wants to kill someone and that he does not particularly care whom he kills. “My life has ended…But I must discover who pursues me with his hatred; and when I have found him I will kill him, or he will kill me (pg 1163).” Albert is even willing to kill his best friend, Beauchamp, for the simple reason that Beauchamp is connected with the newspaper in which the insult article first appears. Afraid that Danglars will refuse to fight; Albert challenges Andrea Cavalcanti to a duel, even though he knows that Andrea has nothing to do with Morcerf’s exposure. Finally, when confronted with the fact that Monte Cristo is his true enemy, Albert remarks, “I only fear one thing, namely to find a man who will not fight (pg 1170).” Albert’s reaction, though hotheaded and silly, fits well with the strong uniqueness messenger in the novel. Albert wishes to act like this because he does not want to be a put up of fate or of any other powerful, cold forces. His vast desire is not so much to kill but rather to avoid obedience: he will act simply for the sake of acting, even if there is no normal reason to do so. In this strong force to claim himself against the forces of fate that are trying to keep him down, Albert is similar to Monte Cristo. Initially, Monte Cristo shows a noticeably strong dislike to Albert, moving back when he first shakes his hand in Italy and clearly hating him for being Fernand’s son. Franz d’Epinay notices this dislike and warns Albert to keep his distance from the mysterious Monte Cristo. But as the story goes on we see Monte Cristo against his will growing fond of Albert and struggling with his positive feelings for him. When Albert reveals his strong devotion to Mercédès in Chapter 55, saying that he could never hurt his mother by marrying Eugénie, Monte Cristo seems annoyed by Albert being noble. Monte Cristo is forced to admit that Albert is a good man and should not be looked as a just through the lens of his father’s sins. When Fernand’s downfall seems threatening, Monte Cristo even begins to feel shake of pity for Albert. With Danglars’s revelation to Monte Cristo that he has succeeded in obtaining the information from Yanina, for instance, Monte Cristo finds it impossible to look at Albert, and he turns away to conceal the expression of pity which passed over his features. The fact that Monte Cristo whisks Albert off to Normandy just when the story about his father is about to break can be as a act of pity, like if Monte Cristo may be trying to spare Albert by not letting him witnessing pain by his father’s shame. But just as trip to Normandy can also be a attempt to rob Fernand of his son’s support just when he needs it most. In the next chapter we see that Monte Cristo really cares for Albert by spearing his life and sacrificing his own.


7-28-05
Chapters 89–93

In these chapters, Mercédès shows that she remains unchanged from the young woman she was in Marseilles, proving to Monte Cristo that he has been misjudging her all along. When Mercédès initially approaches Monte Cristo to beg for her son’s life, she tries to win his sympathy by reminding him that she is still the same woman he once loved. “You will see if my face is pale, if my eyes are dull, if my beauty is gone; if Mercedes, in short, no longer resembles her former self in her features, you will see her heart is still the same (pg 1189).” But Monte Cristo says that “Mercédès is dead (pg 1182),” By this Monte Cristo means that the Mercedes he knew innocent and good dose not exist because she is the wife of Fernand Mondego and maybe she never existed. But Mercédès tells him that he is wrong, ‘Mercedes lives, sir, and she remembers, for she alone recognized you when she saw you, and even before she saw you, by your voice, Edmond, by the simple sound of your voice; and from that moment she has followed your steps, watched you, feared you, and she needs no to inquire what hand has dealt the blow which now strikes M. de Morcerf (pg 1182).”She also reveals to Albert, Monte Cristo’s huge strength about his father’s sins against Dantès. They way she acts in this chapter show how much strength and courage she has. As it makes sure that any last sign of respect and love Albert puts up with his father will be destroyed. So maybe it could mean that Mercédès is allowing Monte Cristo to die rather than to harm her son’s mind, so she unselfishly chooses to spare Monte Cristo’s life. “But the dual will not take place, Edmond, since you forgive? It will take place, said Monte Cristo, in a most solemn tone; but instead of your son’s blood which will stain the ground, mine will flow (pg 1188).” Mercédès is often showed as the most intelligent character in the novel. Dumas notes that she is famous all over Paris for her intelligence, and she is the only character able to unravel the mystery of Monte Cristo’s identity fast. When Mercédès saves Monte Cristo’s life, she also proves herself the most noble character, the only one capable of forgiving those who may have done her wrong. She reminds even more kindness by abandoning her wealth and comfortable life, refusing to live off of a fortune dirtied by evil deeds. “Mercedes was doing the same in her apartments as he had just done. Everything was in order; laces, dresses, jewels, linen, money, all were arrange in the drawers, and the countess was carefully collecting the keys (pg 1206).” This convinces us that Mercédès’s has lasting goodness and innocence. Monte Cristo is now fully convinced and forgives her and that Mercédès is as good as ever. The first change between Monte Cristo and Mercédès shows an important shape in the novel: the meaning of names. When entering Monte Cristo’s room, Mercédès addresses him as “Edmond,” making him to fall in alarm. She then insists to call her “Mercédès” and not Madame de Morcerf, boldly defying Monte Cristo’s claims that Mercédès is dead. But what they really argue about is whether or not they remain, on the good and innocent people that they once were. In calling Monte Cristo “Edmond,” Mercédès is proclaiming her belief that the kind and decent sailor she once knew still exists somewhere within the vengeful and mysterious Monte Cristo. By insisting that “Mercédès” is still alive, she is also trying to convince Dantès that she remains the good woman whom he once loved—that despite his opinion, she has not become a greedy, haughty, and disloyal aristocrat. This argument between Mercédès and Monte Cristo means something when they want to be called by their old names which are the names of commoners while their new names are aristocratic titles. This links goodness with poverty and humbleness, as Dumas shows a contrast between sincere, good, common folk and aristocrats who have become tainted by wealth and power like Villefort. Both prove their lasting goodness: Monte Cristo by offering to die for Albert’s sake, and Mercédès by saving Monte Cristo’s life, both worthy of the identities and that their old names signify.

7-31-05
Chapters 94–102

In this chapter there is the news of Maximilian’s love for Valentine has a big effect on Monte Cristo, putting the scene for an emotional rebirth that is done several chapters later. In reply to Maximilian’s entrance, Monte Cristo “close[s] his eyes, as if dazzled by internal light (pg 1236).” This shows to an “internal light” suggests a sudden appearance of goodness. Maximilian’s love for Valentine opens up a chance that Monte Cristo has never worried to see—that Valentine is innocent and does not deserve to die for her father’s crimes. He has thought of Valentine as a placeholder, the child of Villefort, the “daughter of an accursed race (pg 1236).” He is now forced to acknowledge that she is an independent, good person, bound up in her own life and in the lives of other good people. Though at this point Monte Cristo is still a firm believer in the justice of his cause, this episode is the first one to show that he might not have quite lot knowledge to pull off his plan perfectly. In this chapter we see that he does not know everything about the people who will be affected by his actions. Danglars and Benedetto, who are nearly joined as father and son-in-law, make a surprisingly well-suited unit. They share many of the same decision making, caring about nothing only their money and willing to betray anyone who stands in their way of personal fortune. “[Eugénie said] I actually love no one, sir…but [Danglars said] because it [is] suited me to marry you as soon as possible, on account of certain commercial speculations I am desirous of entering into (pg 1248).” Showing that Danglars has no more doubts about selling Eugénie into a loveless marriage than he has about sending Dantès to a life in prison. Benedetto, for his part, has been capable of torturing and killing the woman who raised him for the sake of a few gold coins. He has also showed willingness to kill the man he thinks is his father—Monte Cristo—in order to receive what he expects a big heritage. Both Danglars and Benedetto are very skillful at playing roles, pretending to be much better people than they truly are. In Chapter 96, we learn that Danglars continues to play a part: “to the world and to his servants Danglars assumed the good-natured man and the weak father . . . in private . . . the brutal husband and domineering father(pg 1249).” Likewise, Benedetto brings phoniness to a whole new level, becoming an actual impostor in his disguise as Andrea Cavalcanti. Their similar behavior makes a clear point: that these two greedy and unreliable men deserve to be each other’s ruin. Then there is Valentine faced with the reality that her stepmother is trying to kill her, and she cannot even begin to figure out why. Monte Cristo is forced to remind her that if she dies, all of her inheritance would go to Edward. “But you are rich, Valentine; you have 200,000 livers a year…and this is why M. Noirtier was sentence the day he made you his heir; this is why you, in turn, are to die; it is because your father would inherit your property, and your brother, his only son, succeed to his (pg 1306).” When she finds out of this she lacks a desire for revenge that she cannot even find it within herself to accuse the woman trying to murder her. Her innocence is not just a meaning of youth and immaturity but a necessary character trait that she simply cannot overcome. This trait, most probably, is one reason Valentine is time after time referred to as an “angel (pg 1308).” Then there is Eugénie who poses a sharp and interesting contrast to Valentine’s innocent passivity. Both Eugénie and Valentine long for the same thing—the freedom to choose how they live their own lives—yet each woman goes achieving this goal in a very different way. Valentine stops at even the idea of opposing her father’s will, and it takes an enormous amount of persuasion on Maximilian’s part to persuade her to run away with him. Valentine in the end manages to marry the man she loves has nothing to do with her own actions, but depends entirely on the clever trick plan by other people, namely Noirtier and Monte Cristo. Eugénie, by difference, has no trouble standing up to her father, speaking boldly and calmly about her refusal to follow his orders as in chapter 96. She displays no fear at all as she prepares to run away with Louise d’Armilly, eagerly taking on the view of finding her own way through Europe and making a career as an artist. “I hate life…What I have wished for, desire, and coveted, is the life of an artist, free and independent, relaying only on my resources, and accountable only to myself (pg 1266).” while Valentine lives an entirely passive life, depending upon other people to help her overcome any difficulties, Eugénie takes an active part in determining her own destiny. Like Monte Cristo and Albert, she refuses to be a pawn of fate or any other external force, such as the hope of her father or of society as a whole.

8-5-05
Chapters 103-108

In these chapters Villefort’s and Danglars’s constant relate them to suffer more harsh punishments than they might have faced. “Look at the puritanical procurer du roi, who has just lost his daughter. And in fact nearly all his family in so singular a manner; and then myself covered with ridicule thought the villainy of Benedetto; besides…my daughter Eugenie has left us(pg 1328) Danglars’s too much greed motivates him to force his daughter into a marriage she does not want. He so loses both his daughter, as Eugénie rightly flees a family that forces her to settle down against her will, and his dignity, suffering the public shame of almost having an ex-convict for a son-in-law. Though Danglars would be financially ruined and totally overwhelmed even without these added blows, they surely make his pain that much greater. It is Similar, to Villefort’s big desire that leads to the end of his in-laws, his wife, his son, and—he thinks—his beloved daughter, Valentine. Villefort knows that a murderer is loose in his household, but he is also aware that, as a public prosecutor, common awareness of this murderer’s existence could do his career and reputation great harm. Fearing the loss of pride and the possible loss of his own power, he refuses to let an investigation take place until it is too late. “Give me your word of honour that this horrible secret shall for ever remain buried amongst ourselves (pg 1321).” In their reactions to Monte Cristo’s plan, we see that Danglars and Villefort are involved in their own downfalls, which point out just how fully the men deserve their punishment. They have regreted or improved as they have aged. Just as Eugénie and Valentine act as upset for each other, add to each other’s characteristics, Madame Danglars and Mercédès also cut a signal contrast. There are obvious similarities between their situations, as both are now husbandless and publicly humiliated. But their attitudes are different. Madame Danglars has actually played a large part in her husband’s ruin, she feels as if she has been treated unfairly by fate. On the other hand, Mercédès, who has had no part in her husband’s ruin, does not stumble in self-pity, although she does have a right to feel that fate has treated her unfairly. Rather than feel victimized, Mercédès feels that she has more wealth and luxury than she deserves. Even with her innocence, she in the end abandons her vast fortune out of commitment to her personal honor. Lucien Debray notes this contrast between Madame Danglars and Mercédès, reflecting that “the same house had contained two women, one of whom, justly dishonored, had left it poor with 1,500,000 francs under her cloak, while the other, unjustly stricken, but sublime in her misfortune, was yet rich with a few deniers(pg 1365).” Though Debray wisely notices the contrast, his focus is a bit off: what really tell apart the two women is not how rich they consider themselves, but how they react to their lowered status. Between Mercédès’s graceful reply and Madame Danglars’s angry reaction show with an idea well-known in The Count of Monte Cristo: the importance of attitude in shaping happiness or liking. Madame Danglars is in a much better position than Mercédès: she is still very wealthy—as she has been draw off money from her husband’s fortune for years—and will be able to return to her old life in Parisian society in a matter of years. Since Madame Danglars has no liking for her husband, his loss is not really painful for her. For when she tell Debray about it she says as it were,” a great event ha[d] happened (pg 1351).”Mercédès, on the other hand, is poor and will never be able to resume the comfortable life she once led. Though she is horrified by her husband’s bad deeds, she has loved him and feels his loss deeply. While Madame Danglars always regret her quite kind position, Mercédès is not somebody who appears unaffected by emotions, for her cries for her far worse fortune. “Albert continually watched her countenance, to judge the state of her feelings, she constrained herself to assume a monotonous smile of the lips alone, which contrasted sadly with the sweet and beaming expression that usually shone from her eyes (pg 1358).” She accepts the events of her life and even considers them her just punishment for betrayal to Dantès. In this value, Madame Danglars is a similar to Caderousse, making the worst of any situation, while Mercédès, like Emmanuel and Julie, shows the ability to defeat misfortune with courage and acceptance.







8-8-05
Chapters 109–117

Chapter 111 marks the second major turning point of The Count of Monte Cristo, the moment when Monte Cristo finally begins to doubt whether he is justified in taking the place of fate. “Monte Cristo became pale at this horrible sight; he felt he had passed beyond th
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