Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Count of Monte Cristo: Not Just Revenge

It is very hard for me to at last write about this particular novel. I don't know how to describe everything I want to say in the length of a proper blog post. This novel left a deep impression on me, since the story, the characters and the philosophy inside are very much of my liking.

Some would say the novel talks about revenge, some would say it's about love, but for me it's much, much, deeper than that. I see a young man at the beginning of the novel, a young, naïve, handsome man, who had no ambition whatsoever but to live a happy seaman life with a beautiful woman he loved. But as the story goes, and misfortune befell him, he grew older, and became more mature, and he tried to find happiness in his own way.

The story begins with Edmond Dantes, a young man, who was about to become a captain of a ship. He was about to marry a beautiful woman, Mercedes, and to lead a simple but happy life with her. But “the course of true love never did run smooth”. Edmond was falsely accused of committing a treason, and sent to Chateau d'If, a prison, for years without even understanding his crime (which he didn't commit).

“I knew a man who like you had fixed all his hopes of happiness upon a woman. He was young, he had an old father whom he loved, a betrothed bride whom he adored. He was about to marry her, when one of the caprices of fate, -- which would almost make us doubt the goodness of providence, if that providence did not afterwards reveal itself by proving that all is but a means of conducting to an end, -- one of those caprices deprived him of his mistress, of the future of which he had dreamed (for in his blindness he forgot he could only read the present), and cast him into a dungeon.”

There he met a noble Italian, an Abbe, that was very learned, clever, and experienced. So instead of living years of idleness, he started to study the things that would later proved to be very useful for him. He studied history, mathematics, languages, manners, chemistry, and so on. But he always wanted to escape from that place.

One day, the Abbe told him about a treasure buried in a small island called the Island of Monte Cristo. The Abbe gave him all the treasure there if he could escape, one day. And yes, he did, in a very peculiar, interesting and thrilling manner he escaped the cold and dreadful Chateau d'If.

In a short time, he was born anew. He was now rich, and free. He inquired all the things that happened while he was imprisoned and he found out that the people he loved were all in misfortune, while his enemies led a rich, respectable lives. The woman he loved had married someone else, his father died, and his master bankrupt. Filled with rage and disappointment, he swore revenge.

Some usually stress how well-thought the revenge was, how well-devised, how well-planned and well-executed. They are right. The revenge was horrible. Dantes actually tried to hurt only those who hurt him in the past, but as we know, such thing never happens. Everyone has a family, has people to love and people who love them. Dantes' enemies did as well. When he avenged his misfortunes, he hurt as well those innocent people, who deserved more good things in their lives; and Dantes didn't feel very good after he realised that fact.

Twice, the novel says, he overcame his doubt. No, twice he ignored his conscience's voice. "Triumph" he called his journey was, and yet he wanted to punish himself for doing it. The Avenging Angel of God, he thought he was. Was he? Would God be happy to see an innocent young man deprived of his honour and wealth or a young boy of his life? 

This novel is about all that. How a man thought that by revenge he would feel better, he would be satisfied, but he at last he realised that he only caused trouble, and felt remorse and guilt. This story is about a man who after looking for so long, at last found happiness, far from his dreadful past, in a way he didn't expect, in a way he never thought about. I love him, I love him, I love him.

"God has sustained me in my struggle with my enemies, and has given me this reward; he will not let me end my triumph in suffering; I wished to punish myself, but he has pardoned me."

I know this short article is not enough to describe my feelings towards the Count and his beautiful story. But be rest assured, I will write more on this subject. As the Count says, just “wait and hope”.


  1. I remember listening to a really old grammophone record of this whenever I was ill as a child. I don't recall much of the content, but I know I loved it and your beautiful review just reminded me of that feeling.

    By the way, you have a wonderful blog! I can't believe I haven't come across it earlier :)

  2. Wow, you have a very lovely website! Did you know that there's a sequel to the Count of Monte Cristo and another called, That Girl that Started Her Country? There's a lot of mystique surrounding the author. Nothing is known about this person other than they go by the name of Holy Ghost Writer. I read both of the books and they are really good. Anyway, it is wonderful to meet another Dumas fan. :-)

    1. No, I have never even looked for a sequel. I'm quite hesitant to sequels that are written by different authors. For example, even now I still believe only on the Canon Holmes, and not reading anything not written by Conan Doyle. But if they're good, perhaps I'll give them chance.

      Thanks for the suggestion.