“The Count Monte Cristo” is Dumas’s most famous work. It was written in 1844 and published in sequels during the next two years. The plot is taking place before and after Napoleon’s reign from 1815 to 1844.
The main character is Edmond Dantes, a honest and honorable man who believed in the good in everyone, until he was wrongfully accused and imprisoned for alleged political actions. Prison changed him and made him a different man. Edmond started being led by the desire for revenge against people who wronged him. His vengeance is the main motive of the plot and he doesn’t give up until he gets what he wants. The development of the main character is important because he became a vengeful man out of a naïve, good and honest man. He hid behind aliases to complete his plan. In the end of the novel, after getting his revenge, he found a piece of himself. He also found happiness and love.
The novel also has a political background based on two divisions in France; one supported Napoleon and one didn’t. Dumas supported Napoleon. In the novel, there are many characters, such as Villefort’s father who received a letter from Napoleon and his son, who were against Napoleon. He, because of his political beliefs, denied his father and it was the cause of Dantes’s sentence.
The narrator is in the third person, and he was objective. Also, all the events have detailed descriptions. The main theme in the novel is tasting the boundaries of justice, and the main character takes on himself the duty to establish justice.
Time: 19th century
Theme: Edmud’s desire for revenge after being wrongfully convicted
The plot takes place in France, in port Marseilles, where a crowd waited for a ship to come. The crew brought the ship’s owner Morell some bad news: the captain died and the 19 years old Edmund Dantes took his place and proven himself to be a good captain. Danglars was jealous of Dantes’s success and he decided to make him look bad in Morell’s eyes. He told him that the ship had a stopping at Elba and that they lost a lot of time there. When Dantes was faced with that charge he told them he did it because he was commanded by the late captain after his conversation with Napoleon.
Dantes visited his father only to find out he was starving after Caderousse made him pay off his son’s debt. As well as Danglars, Caderousse wanted all the worse for Dantes. Dantes went to visit his love Mercedes and he found her with Fernand Mondego who was in love with her. He left furious and Mercedes and Dantes announced, before Danglars, Caderousse and Mondego, that they are planning on getting married before Dantes goes on another ship. Danglars suspected that Dantes’s reason for the next trip to Paris is giving Napoleon’s letter to his supporters. He, alongside Mondego and Caderousse, wrote a letter to the prosecutor saying Dantes supported Napoleon. The prosecutor Villefort’s father was Napoleon’s supporter but he denied him because of it and he swore to punish every Napoleon’s supporter.
Dantes gets arrested and he admits to having a letter received by Napoleon, but he also states his innocence because he was only trying to fulfill his captain’s last wish. Dantes had no interest in politics. He speaks on the behalf of the man who had to deliver the letter and he was Villefort’s father Noirtier. When Villefort heard it was his father he decided to punish Dantes so he would save face. Dantes was taken to the worse prison for conspirators and Villefort went to Paris to want the king about Napoleon’s attack but it was late because Napoleon was already headed for Paris and he took over France. Since Napoleon’s supporters were no longer perceived as criminals Danglars was scared Dantes will walk out of prison wanting to get his revenge so he left. Mondego finally won over Mercedes but he left soon to join Napoleon’s army. Dantes’s father died grieving for his son. Napoleon’s reign didn’t take long because King Louis took over again.
After spending several years in prison Dantes still didn’t know that envy was the reason he was imprisoned. He met the priest Faria who was arrested because of his political beliefs. He believed he was digging a tunnel to freedom but he actually ended up in Dantes solitary confinement cell. Dantes told him about his life and Faria realized immediately that Danglars and Mondego were responsible for his arrestment. Dantes was surprised by his opinion and he started thinking about revenge. Faria taught Dante many things he knew about philosophy, math, linguistics… The two of them planned an escape but Faria died.
Before he died, he told Dante about the treasure hidden on the Island Monte Cristo. Dante was devastated by his death, but he still kept on planning his escape. Dante hid his body in the cell, and he pretended to be his corps. He thought he would be buried in a cemetery and that he would dig his way out, but the guards threw him into the sea.
He managed to set free and swim to the nearby island’s shore. A storm started and the ship from which he was thrown off was sunk and the crew was dead. Dantes was found by Italian smugglers. They were headed for island Monte Cristo and Dantes tagged along. When they came to the island Dantes pretended to be injured and assured them they should leave without him and to come back in a week when he gets better. He was actually buying time to find the treasure. The treasure was more valuable then he imagined it to be. He sold a small part of it to be able to buy a boat and come back for the rest of it. He bought Jacopo, the smuggler, and the rest of his crew a boat so they could go to Marseilles and bring him news about his father and Mercedes. Jacopo came back with bad news: his father was dead and Mercedes was missing. Dantes decided to go to Marseilles.
Disguised as an Italian priest he went to a taphouse only to see Caderousse and his wife living in misery and he explains to him that Dantes died in jail. His last alleged wish was to share his fortune with people he loved, including Caderousse. Caderousse told him all about Dantes arrest and how he feels sorry for his actions. He also told him the whereabouts of the others. Danglars got rich in Madrid and became one of the most powerful people in Paris. Mondego got married to Mercedes and they lived in Paris thinking Dantes is dead. He told him what he already knew about his father. He died grieving for him and rejected Mercedes’s and Morell’s help. Morell was also on the verge of ruin. He only had one ship left which was late and because of it he had no money to pay off his debts. After finding out his ship was sunk Morell wanted to kill himself. Dantes decided to help him and save him by paying off his debts. He bought a ship which looked a lot like Morell’s and brought it to port.
Dantes appeared in Rome under the title Count of Monte Cristo. He saved Mondego’s son Albert from kidnappers and, out of gratitude, Albert presented him to the Parisian society. No one recognized him as Dantes. When Albert introduced him to his parents, Mondego didn’t recognize him, but Mercedes warned him to keep a close eye on his new friend.
Dantes bought a house. Supervisor Bertuccio told him about his brother, a Napoleon’s supporter, who was killed by the opposition. Bertuccio paid Villefort a visit but Villefort didn’t pay much attention to him because he was against Napoleon. Bertuccio swore to get his revenge and Villefort was so scared he ran away to Versailles. Bertuccio found out Villefort visited his lover’s house often so he waited for him there and killed him. He found out Villefort had a box and he had assumed there was gold in it but there was a child. He managed to bring the child back to life and he raised him. The child, Benedetto, was incredibly evil and he disappeared when he grew up.
Bertuccio was running away when he stumbled upon Caderousse’s taphouse where he saw him and his wife selling a diamond they got from priest Busoni. Caderousse was so greedy that he killed his wife and the man they were making business with, ran away with the money and diamond and Bertuccio ended up accused of the murders. Bertuccio knew the priest’s name and the police started looking for him. Busoni paid Bertuccio a visit and told him to search for a job at count Monte Cristo when he gets out of jail. Caderousse admitted his crimes and Bertuccio was set free.
In the Parisian society, Dantes met Valentine, Villefort’s daughter. She was forced to marry Franz d’Epiney even though her true love was Morell’s son Maximilian. She told her grandfather Noirtier all about her problems, and he decided to help her. He promised to give his fortune to the poor if Valentine married Franz. Villefort still doesn’t cancel the engagement.
Dantes gets his revenge against Danglars by spreading lies which made Danglars sell all of his Spanish bonds, and he lost a fortune.
Count Monte Cristo invited the members of Parisian society to dinner. Bertuccio appeared, and he recognized Danglars’s wife as Villefort’s mistress. He was even more surprised when he saw Villefort because he was convinced he had killed him. In the end his adopted son, Benedetto comes introducing himself as Andrea Cavalcanti.
Before all his guests Dantes told an invented story, that was actually a true story Bertuccio had told him, about two lovers who killed their child and buried him in the back yard. Afterwards Danglars faced his wife about her lovers from this and her previous marriage and he told her he knew that she was getting confidential information from one of her lovers. Danglars also knew she gave birth to Villefort’s child and that her first husband killed himself for it. He then asked Monte Cristo for some information about Cavalcanti and Monte Cristo told him something about Mondego and his mysterious fortune.
Villefort and Danglar’s wife talk about Monte Cristo and his knowledge of their crimes. They came to a conclusion they child should be alive because if he wasn’t the police would already know about it. Villefort decided to find out as much as he can about Monte Cristo. He found out he had some acquaintances, Busoni and Wilmore, so he goes to them. They were actually Dantes’s aliases and Villefort talked to Dante in disguise. Dantes was pulling all the strings. It is said Mondego earned his fortune by betraying Ali Pacha. He gave his castle to the Turks and his wife and children ended up as slaves. His wife died and his daughter Haydee was saved by Monte Cristo. Albert was also listening to this story but he didn’t know the traitor was his father. Soon the story was published in a newspaper and despite the name Fernand being mentioned, no one realizes it’s Mondego and his son believed it was all lies. Later on the allegations are revealed to be true and Ali Pacha’s daughter Haydee testified against Mondego.
Noirtier helped his granddaughter break off the engagements with Franz and he left her his inheritance. Someone tried to poison him and Valentina was the first suspect. Valentina was also poisoned but she knew she was the next victim so she protected herself.
Caderousse tries to rob Monte Cristo and Dantes caught him under Busoni’s disguise. Busoni promised him he’ll set him free if he explains how he got out of prison. He told him he was working with Bendetto and that they are still working together. Caderousse tried to kill him but fails and Dantes make him write a message to Danglars that Benedetto, also known as Andrea Cavalcanti and the future husband of Danglar’s daughter, is a prisoner. Busoni lets him go even though he knew Benedetto was waiting outside to kill him. Caderousse, in his death bed, signs a note saying Benedetto was his murderer.
Albert found out Monte Cristo revealed his father’s secret and he challenged him. Mercedes came to Monte Cristo begging him to spare her sons life and he reveals the true reason for which he is getting his revenge. Mercedes declares her love for him and he promised her that he will spare Albert’s life. Mercedes told Albert about everything and, when he came to the dual, he apologized to Monte Cristo. Afterwards Mercedes and Albert talk about running away and starting a new life away fromMondego. Monet Cristo helps them and gives them money. Mondego is angry because his son didn’t enter the dual against Monte Cristo so he goes to see him. Mondego found out Monte Cristo was actually Dantes and he ran away. In the end he took his own life.
Monte Cristo visited Valentine and told her to pretend she’s sleeping to find out who is trying to poison her. She found out it was her stepmother who wanted the inheritance for her son. Monte Cristo helped by giving her a pill which will make her seem dead. He promised to the love of her life, who was on the verge of suicide, that he would help him commit suicide if in a month he won’t be happy.
Villefort confronted his wife telling her he knows she is a murderer and tells her to kill herself with the poison she used against others. On trial Bendetto admits the true: he was Villefort’s son and he retells everything that happened after his birth. Villefort took the fault and decided to forgive his wife, but she already killed herself and her son. Villefort reveald Dantes’s identity and asked him if his vengeance was over. Dantes told him Valentine was alive but he didn’t believe it and he became insane.
Maximilian and Dantes go to Marseilles believing his revenge is done. In the meantime, Danglars was kidnapped, and he was forced to buy food with what was left of his inheritance. Dantes revealed his true identity and set his free. Maximilian and Valentine were together, and Dantes left them his fortune so they could start a new life together.
In the end of the novel Dantes found happiness with Haydee.
Characters: Edmond Dantes, Mercedes, priest Faria, Fernand Mondego, Danglars, Caderousse, Villefort, Morell, Lousi Dantes, Noirtier, Valentine Villefort, Benedetto, Bertuccio, Jacopo, Ali Pacha, Haydee
Edmond Dantes is the main character of the novel. In the beginning he is shown as a honest and respectful man who believes in the best in people. He treated well even those who try to harm him. He lived his life honorably and loved truly. Dantes was intelligent, didn’t impose his opinions on others and he wasn’t too interested in politics because of which he was wrongfully convicted. He was naïve enough to admit he was carrying Napoleon’s letter to his supporters and if he hadn’t told the name of the man to which he was carrying the letter he would never be convicted. It was the prosecutor’s father and he decided to put Dante in jail so he could save face.
After many years in jail, he came back without revealing his identity to others. He lived by the name Count of Monte Cristo and he had many other aliases such as Wilmore and priest Busoni. He started a complex and well-planned revenge and he promised not to give up until he gets back to everyone who harmed him. In the end of the novel he found himself again and found happiness in Haydee.
Danglars was a truly cruel and vicious man who betrayed Dantes out of envy. He was the main responsible for what had happened to Dantes because he wrote the letter accusing of a crime he didn’t commit. Danglars was a man capable of doing anything to get what he wanted and he was selfish. He didn’t care who he had to hurt or betray. From the three people who worked on getting Dantes accused only he knew what the charges will do to Dantes’s life and future. His true character is shown when he doesn’t care about ruining other people’s lives in order to get what he wanted.
He fulfilled his wishes and became a strong and powerful man. Dantes had no problem getting his revenge because Danglars was a greedy man and it was his weak point. Dantes made him lose everything, and he left him in poverty. His punishment was having his life spared and living it in misery. His greed was so strong that he rather starved than gave money for food.
Mercedes are described as the love of Dantes’s life and his fiancée who was always eager to see him after his ship came to port. They were truly in love and planned their weeding when everything turned against them and Dantes ended in jail. After his arrest, she marries a man who’s been courting her for years and she starts a family with him.
When Dantes came back as Monte Cristo she recognized him but didn’t betray him because she still loved him. Dantes had mercy for her and her son so he gave them money when they were running away for her husband.
Caderousse was a man dissatisfied with his life and because of envy, he let an innocent man be convicted. He didn’t save him or did anything to help him. His envy and desire for a better life make him commit crimes to upgrade his social status because he couldn’t stand everyone being better than him. He ends his life trying to steal from Monte Cristo.
Fernand Mondego helped Danglars accuse Dantes. His motive was hate because Dantes had Mercedes. After Dantes was arrested he managed to get Mercedes and marry her. He gets rich and later on Monte Cristo reveals he acquired his fortune by betraying Ali Pacha and his wife. Dantes got his revenge and Mondego, unable to live with it, took his own life.
Haydee is Ali Pacha’s daughter. After her father was killed she became a slave and Dantes liberated her. In the end of the novel the two of them found happiness in each other.
Alexandre Dumas Biography
Alexandre Dumas was a well known French writer he was born in 1802. His father was a reputable General in the French army with the influence of his father as a young man Dumas secured a job with Louis Philippe the Duke of Orléans.
He enjoy early success when he starts working as a writer in France, but later leave France for Belgium because of some difficulty with his job, he stayed in Belgium for many years before moving to Russia for some years and then moving to Italy were he founded L’ Independent newspaper, he was also the publisher of the newspaper. The paper is in support of Italians unification.
He is one of the most successful French writers, his write up have been translated to almost hundred languages. Most of his works were first published as serials. Including, the Three Musketeers. His books have used in producing almost two hundred movies dating back to the early 20 century. His last novel titled the Knight of sainte Hermiine was unfinished at his death becoming a bestseller after being completed by a scholar in 2005.
He wrote various travel books and magazine articles. He published one hundred thousand works; he founded Théâtre Historique in 1840 after returning to Paris.
He died in 1870 and was buried at his birth place.