The Count of Monte Cristo, which was first published as an 18-part series begun in 1844, was finally published as a complete works in 1846. There have been a number of iterations, plays and movies that share with the world a classical story that was actually bits and pieces of a police archivist’s notes fictionalized by Alexandre Dumas.
For me, the story was an interesting preview of what happens in the human mind when things like jealousy, greed and vengeance control behaviors. The story opens with all the joy and hope and optimism a nineteen year old can possess. Unfortunately, young Edmond Dantes is accused by three men, jealous of his job status, his love life, and just generally seeming to be lucky in life – set him up to be accused and ultimately convicted of treason.
Through a fluke, the deputy prosecutor who has the authority to set Dantes free finds a letter in Dantes’ possession actually would reveal the treason of his own father. Alas… Dantes is sent to a prison where the intention is of course that he never be set free. Fate takes her own course in his life, however, and connects the young man with an Italian priest who has been jailed for political crimes; the intellectual Abbe then turns Dantes into a well-educated man, and bequeaths a large hidden treasure on the island of Monte Cristo. The death of the Abbe Faria also is a play of fate, as Dantes is able to escape and claim the Abbe’s treasure, which Dantes ultimately feels is his reward and resource to punish those who harmed him.
The story moves forward with Dantes taking on many disguises and personalities all in a quest to force justice through an elaborate scheme to find his revenge. The story has many twists and turns as the myriad acts of vengeance are played out, tempered with other acts of outrageous kindness to those who bestow kindness upon the “Count of Monte Cristo.” Although filled with many dark scenes, much on the face of the human psyche, the story ends with this elusive protagonist finding the ability to love fully once again.
Although there is a certain haze over the story from the frequent change of names of the characters, as they attempt to shield their identity, the author is able to take the reader through the life of Edmond Dantes… an intelligent, honest, and loving man who turns bitter and vengeful, becoming the self-ordained agent of Providence, passing out rewards and punishment as he sees fit, and ultimately comes full circle to become an even more intelligent, honest and loving man who realizes the folly of an existence based solely on vengeance.
Has The Count of Monte Cristo been one of your favorite reads? If so, I would like to see your comments.Anna Weber
Voices In Print