The Count of Monte Cristo is a very powerful book. So powerful in fact, that was controversial when it was first released. The Catholic Church in France condemned it because of its powerful message it presented to the reader. This theme was one of revenge and vengeance. Monte Cristo had two goals- to reward those who were kind to him and his aging father and to punish those responsible for his imprisonment and suffering. For the latter, he plans slow and painful punishment. To have spent fourteen years barely subsisting in a dungeon demands cruel and prolonged castigation.


The Count of Monte Cristo is set within the nineteenth century of France in large and populous cities. This was a time of great disruption. There was confusion all over the land in regards to who led France, King Louis, or Napoleon. The citizens of France became divided by the two ruling parties.

Royalists and the Bonapartists cut at each other’s throats in order to declare that their ruler was supreme. This situation has a profound effect on the events of the story. Dantes’ enemies used the rivalry between the two parties in order to convince the Royalists that Edmond is a Bonapartist, therefore it is the basis for his arrest and inevitable captivity in the Chateau D’If.


The Count of Monte Cristo is a story about a sailor, Edmond Dantes, who was betrayed during the prime of his life and career by the jealousy of his friends. His shipmate, Danglars, coveted his designation as the captain of the mighty Pharon.

Ferdinand Mondego wished to wed Mercedes, who was affianced to Edmond. Danglars and Ferdinand wrote a letter accusing Edmond of carrying a letter from Elba to the Bonapartist committee in Paris.

Caderousse, a neighbor, learned of the plot but kept silent. On his wedding day, Edmond was arrested and taken before a deputy named Villefort, a political apostate, who, to protect himself, had Edmond secretly imprisoned in the deepest dungeons of the Chateau D’If.

There Dantes’ incarceration was secured by the plotting of his enemies outside the prison, particularly towards Villefort, who wished to cover up his own father’s connections with the Bonapartists. Dantes suffered for fourteen grueling years. While in prison, he was determined to escape and began digging a tunnel in hopes that it would lead to freedom.

During this exercise, he met an elderly inmate named Abbe Faria whose attempt to dig his way to his salvation had led him only to Edmond’s cell. The two meet daily and an incredible relationship flourished. The old man taught Edmond history, mathematics, and languages. In Edmond’s fourteenth year, Faria became mortally ill.

The wise elder told Edmond where to find a massive buried fortune. When Faria finally did die, his body was placed in a burial sack. Edmond seized the opportunity of escaping and replaced Faria’s corpse with himself. Jailers threw the sack into the sea which allowed Dantes to escape. He is rescued by a passing ship which gives him a position on the boat. After paying homage for the noble act, Dantes recovered the buried treasure and became extremely wealthy.

He returned as the mysterious Count of Monte Cristo and dazzled all of Paris with his extreme wealth and social graces and also he ingeniously managed to be introduced to the cream of French society, among who he goes unrecognized. But, Monte Cristo, in contrariety, recognized all of his enemies, which now are all-powerful and influential men.

Therefore, he was slowly plotting the ruin of the four men who had caused him to be sent to the Chateau D’If. Ferdinand had married Mercedes and was now the Count de Morcef. Monte Cristo released information to the press that proved that Morcef is a traitor, and Morcef is ruined socially.

Then Monte Cristo destroyed Morcef’s relationship with his family, whom he adored. When they leave him, he was so distraught that he committed suicide. To revenge himself on Caderousse, Monte Cristo easily trapped Caderousse because of his voracious greed. Monte Cristo awakened this greed with the gift of a diamond.

Later, urged by his wife, Caderousse committed robbery and murder. Now escaped from prison, Caderousse unsuccessfully attempted to rob Monte Cristo. The Count watched as one of Caderousse’s companions mortally wounding him.

As the man lay dying, Monte Cristo exposed his true name- Edmond Dantes. To revenge himself on Danglars, who loves money more than life itself, Monte Cristo ruins him financially. To revenge himself on Villefront, Monte Cristo slowly reveals to Villefront that he knows about a love affair that Villefront had long ago with Madame Danglars.

He also revealed to him, by hints, that he knows about the illegitimate child whom he fathered, a child whom Villefront had believed to be buried alive. The child lived, however, and was now engaged to Mademoiselle Danglars, who is really his half-sister. Ironically, Villefront’s wives prove to be more villainous than her husband, for she poisons her parents and her daughter so that her real son can have the full inheritance.

Villefront, however, discovers the plot and Threatens to kill her if she doesn’t do it first, and so she kills herself and her son. The Count had rescued Valentine from a drug-induced coma and reunited her with her love, Maximilian, on the island of Monte Cristo leaving the two young loves his entire fortune. The Count sailed off into the sunset never to be seen again.

Major Characters

Edmond Dantes (alias the Count of Monte Cristo, Sinbad the Sailor, Abbe Busoni, and Lord Wilmore) Edmond Dantes is the dashing and idyllic champion of the novel. He is a sailor who, at the prime of his life and career, is betrayed by close friends because of their jealousy.

He is imprisoned for fourteen grueling years during his imprisonment he meets another prisoner named Abbe Faria, who teaches Dantes many languages, sciences, history, and other subjects, they become like father and son, and when the Abbe was about to die, he revealed to Dantes the hiding place of a long-secret buried treasure consisting of untold wealth, diamond, gold coins, and other precious jewelry.

After his miraculous escape from the prison, Dantes recovers buried treasure on the island of Monte Cristo. The rest of his life is spent, at first, performing acts of goodness and charity for the good people whom he has known, then he devotes his life to bringing about God’s retribution against the evil people who were responsible for his imprisonment.

Monsieur De Villefort is the type of person, as described early in the novel, who will sacrifice anything to his ambition, even his own father. Villefort, the prosecuting attorney, is most responsible for the suffering of Dantes because it was he who ordered that Edmond be sent to prison which ignited his spark for revenge.

Villefort is willing to have an innocent man imprisoned for life. Thus, he becomes the central enemy against whom the Count of Monte Cristo affects revenge. Fernand Mondego (alias the Count de Morcerf) during the time in which Edmond was a sailor, Fernand was a simple fisherman and sometimes smuggler who were in love with the same woman whom Edmond Dantes was engaged to.

Because of his jealousy, Fernand mailed the letter condemning Dantes, hoping that if Dantes was arrested, he would then be able to marry Mercedes. Fernand gained much wealth by smuggling and by betraying the great Ali Pasha. When all of his treacheries were exposed, he discovers that his wife and son have deserted him, thus he commits suicide.

author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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