Saturday, 7 July 2012

A Lasting Impression: The Count of Monte Cristo

This prompt is hosted at November's Autumn, and I think it's a very brilliant prompt. I couldn't help joining. But once I decided to join I face a serious problem: Which Classic would I choose? As a young reader, I sometimes find myself lacking a sense of loyalty towards my favourites. I would spend a month or two deeply in love in one book, and intoxicated by the other book shortly after that period.

But talking about lasting impression, I have more limited choices. There are books that I won't forget in all my life such as Sherlock Holmes' series, Hamlet, Merchant of Venice, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Phantom of the Opera, and the book I am going to talk about.

If you look at my sidebar, here, on my blog, you would notice one author that has more posts than the others. It's Dumas, and that's because I love his novel The Count of Monte Cristo. I first read it when I was in high school, and this year I re-read it again for the Classic Club's Project.

The moment I find very touching is when Dantes as Monte Cristo revisited his jail at Chateau d'If. There he contemplated on his life, the misfortune that had befallen him, the path he had taken, the choices he had made, his friendship with the deceased Abbe, his lost love for Mercedes, and so many other things.

“Woe,” he cried, “to those who confined me in that wretched prison; and woe to those who forgot that I was there!” 

His horrible experience in dealing with human beings made him so disappointed that he lost all trust in humanity. One of the quotes I will never forget from the book is:

“But man — man, whom God created in his own image — man, upon whom God has laid his first, his sole commandment, to love his neighbour — man, to whom God has given a voice to express his thoughts — what is his first cry when he hears his fellow-man is saved? A blasphemy... Oh, man, man — race of crocodiles.”

I don't think I will ever forget such a bitter sentence, spoken by someone who has tasted so many bitter experiences in his life. Yes, I pity him, the Count who has been played by the world, and by human cruelty and greed.

As for the unforgettable character from the story, aside of the Count himself, is Haidee. The Greek princess has the Count's soul inside of her. Her indifference to things beyond her business, the hatred that burns within her heart, the passion for revenge that rages in her mind, all so much alike with the Count. But I'm so happy that the two poor creatures find happiness at last.

Through the story I realise that no matter what happens to you, revenge is not the answer. Even if you get what you want, and they get what they deserve, it wouldn't bring you satisfaction. On the contrary, it adds more pain to your past suffering.

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