The story describes the life of its main character Edmond Dantès. He is promoted to captain of his ship. This promotion ignites the jealousy of his fellow shipmate Danglars. Dantès is then falsely accused of being a Bonapartist. This means he sides with Napoleon Bonaparte and is committing treason against his own king. He is sent to a prison called the Château d’If. The Château d’If was surrounded by water and was known as a place of no return. When Dantès escapes, he takes revenge against his four enemies who conspired against him to send him to prison, in the manner of an eye for an eye. These four conspirators are Danglars, Caderousse, Fernand Mondago, and Villefort. In order to take revenge on his four enemies, Dantès uses a variety of names and disguises. The main new identity he uses for himself is The Count of Monte Cristo.
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Danglars, as mentioned above, was the Count’s shipmate when his name was still Edmond Dantès. When Edmond went to jail, Danglars ran away and became very rich. Caderousse was a tailor. He was also the Count’s father’s landlord and once the count was sent to prison, Caderousse allowed Dantès’ father to starve to death. Fernand Mondago was in love with the count’s fiancee Mercédès. When the Count was sent to jail Fernand married her on the pretext that the count would not return. These three enemies all got together one night and were all responsible for writing an incriminating letter about the Count to his fourth enemy, Monsieur De Villefort, who was the city’s temporary prosecutor at the time. He was responsible for the actual sending of the Count to prison.
After the Count escaped from prison, he discovered that all his enemies had moved to Paris. He became acquainted with people from that city and eventually moved there so that he could have his revenge. The revenge taken on Danglars matches the crime which he committed toward the Count. When Danglars wrote the incriminating letter about the Count, calling him a Bonapartist, his intention was to get the Count’s position as Captain of the ship for himself. This shows how power hungry he was. In order for the Count to take proper revenge on this man, he recalled Danglars’s great lust for power and decided to gradually diminish Danglars’ wealth. This in turn made Danglars lose his reputation as a good banker. As a result, Danglars had to run away from the embarrassment of losing all of his power and high stature.
We see the same concept of ‘an eye for an eye’ played out in the Count’s revenge toward Caderousse. When the Count escaped from jail he remembered what a love for money Caderousse had. Therefore he brought Caderousse a diamond. When an appraiser came to Caderousse’s house, he paid for the diamond and then stayed for the night. In middle of the night Caderousse killed the appraiser and took both the diamond and the money paid for it. He was caught and sentenced to hard labor in prison. The Count chose this form of revenge because he knew that Caderousse could not resist the temptation of extra money. The Count punished him in this fashion because Caderousse took away all the money that Dantès left for his father. This loss of money caused Dantès’ father to starve to death. The Count understood Caderousse’s greed and punished him through it.
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The Count took revenge on Fernand Mondego by causing his wife Mercédès and son Albert to leave home. To do this, the Count introduced Albert to Danglars’s daughter. The couple became engaged. A few days before the wedding was to take place, Danglars asked the Count for information about Fernand. The Count told him to send a letter to where Fernand worked as guard for the Ali Pasha. When Danglars received a reply to his letter, the news spread quickly that Fernand was a traitor and let the enemy become victorious. The Pasha entrusted Fernand with his wife and daughter. Fernand sold them indirectly to the Count. The main point of this punishment was to make Mercédès and Albert leave Fernand. This punishment relates to Fernand’s ambitions because the Count thought about how back in Marseilles Fernand took away his family (Mercédès and his father). In getting his revenge, the Count causes Fernand to lose his family.
Villefort was a loyalist, His father was a Bonapartist. He was always trying to get the favor of the King so that he could get an even higher position. One way to accomplish this task was to find Bonapartists and put them in jail. Villefort sent the Count to jail only because the latter knew that Villefort’s father was a Bonapartist. When he sent the Count to prison he thought he was covering up his secret about his father for good by burying the Count in the Château d’If. Then the Count reappeared. In his revenge toward Villefort, the Count uncovered a secret which Villefort thought was literally buried many years ago. The Count discovered the secret of an illegitimate child which had been born of a union between Villefort and Madame Danglars. Villefort had buried the child alive, but someone had rescued him. The Count of Monte Cristo disgraced Villefort by revealing the secret of his illegitimate child to the public. This method of revenge was symbolic. Villefort thought he had buried the disgrace of his dead son forever. He also thought he had “buried” the secret of his father, the Bonapartist, by sending Edmond Dantès, the one who knew his secret, to the Château d’If. Edmond came back from the dead as did Villefort’s son.
We see from this story that it is not wise to take revenge. It is up to God to decide what each person deserves. In our story, a man named Edmond Dantès thought it wise to take revenge on his enemies. He took revenge on each person in a way that related to the way they originally conspired against him. However, at the end, instead of feeling good about himself, he felt confused. On the one hand he got back at his enemies, but on the other hand, he lost the affection of Mercédès, whom he loved. He then recognized that if a person does take revenge into his own hands, G-d now has a way of punishing him. Edmond Dantès ruined everyone who hurt him and in the process, he ruined himself.