Course Hero. "The Count of Monte Cristo Study Guide." Course Hero. 2 Sep. 2016. Web. 29 May 2020. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Count-of-Monte-Cristo/>.
Course Hero. (2016, September 2). The Count of Monte Cristo Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved May 29, 2020, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Count-of-Monte-Cristo/
(Course Hero, 2016)
Course Hero. "The Count of Monte Cristo Study Guide." September 2, 2016. Accessed May 29, 2020. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Count-of-Monte-Cristo/.
Course Hero, "The Count of Monte Cristo Study Guide," September 2, 2016, accessed May 29, 2020, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Count-of-Monte-Cristo/.
Happiness is like one of those palaces on an enchanted island, its gates guarded by dragons. One must fight to gain it.
Dantès's uneasiness at his betrothal feast about having so much happiness may be a premonition that it will soon be lost.
As for me, when I see a bright spark of hatred shining in the eye of an accused man, I feel encouraged, I rejoice: it is no longer a trial, but a duel. I go for him, he ripostes, I press harder, and the fight ends, like all fights, in victory or defeat.
Villefort, in telling guests at his betrothal feast how he carries out his magisterial duties, reveals his harsh, unbending approach to justice.
So all my opinions—I would not say political, but private opinions—are confined to three feelings: I love my father, I respect Monsieur Morrel and I adore Mercédès.
This response to Villefort's question about his political opinions—just after his arrest—shows caring, innocent, open aspects of the character of young Dantès/Monte Cristo that betrayal and imprisonment will soon destroy.
Danglars was alone, but neither troubled nor disturbed. Danglars was even happy, because he had taken revenge on an enemy and ensured himself the place on board the Pharaon that he had feared he might lose.
Danglars, the instigator of the conspiracy against Dantès/Monte Cristo, never has pangs of conscience about his evil actions.
Misfortune is needed to plumb certain mysterious depths in the understanding of men; pressure is needed to explode the charge. My captivity concentrated all my faculties on a single point.
If Abbé Faría had been free, he might not have accomplished so much; imprisonment forced him to focus.
The heart breaks when it has swelled too much in the warm breath of hope, then finds itself enclosed in cold reality.
Edmond Dantès has invested so much hope in finding the treasure that when he's on the brink of finding it, he hesitates, wanting to prolong the hope in fear he'll be crushed if it isn't there.
"And now," said the stranger, "farewell, goodness, humanity, gratitude ... Farewell all those feelings that nourish and illuminate the heart! I have taken the place of Providence to reward the good; now let the avenging God make way for me to punish the wrongdoer!"
Dantès recognizes that to carry out his plan of vengeance, he'll need to harden his heart and prepare to deal with the darker aspects of human nature.
What I mean, my dear fellow, is that I shall do more by myself with my gold than you and all your people with their daggers, their pistols, their carbines and their blunderbusses. So let me do it.
Dantès uses his wealth to bribe officials and save Peppino from being executed. He makes a habit of saving bandits and smugglers from the law because he identifies with their fear of being imprisoned.
The man often made me shudder; for example, one day when we were together watching an execution, I thought I would faint, much more from seeing him and hearing him discourse coldly about all the sufferings imaginable than from seeing the executioner carry out his task and hearing the cries of the condemned man.
A few of the other characters in the story have instinctively fearful reactions to Dantès, perhaps picking up on the fact that for all his charm, he has consciously shut down his emotions and is playing a part.
"I have seen the man I loved preparing to become the murderer of my son!" She said these words with such overwhelming grief, in such a desperate voice, that when he heard it a sob rose in the count's throat. The lion was tamed, the avenging angel overcome.
Mercédès, fearing that Albert will be killed in the upcoming duel, pleads with Dantès for her son's life after swearing that she still loves him and has suffered for him in all the years he was gone. In return, Dantès grudgingly agrees to limit his vengeance to the perpetrators only.
"Monsieur," said Albert, in a voice that was unsteady at first, but which became more confident as he went on, "I reproached you for having divulged the conduct of Monsieur de Morcerf in Epirus because, however guilty the Count of Morcerf might have been, I did not think you had the right to punish him. Now, Monsieur, I realize that you do have that right. It is not Fernand Mondego's treachery towards Ali Pasha that makes me so willing to forgive you, it is the treachery of the fisherman Fernand towards you and the unimaginable misfortunes that followed on that treachery. So I say, and I proclaim it aloud: yes, Monsieur, you were right to take your revenge on my father; and I, his son, thank you for not having done more!"
In forgiving Dantès, Albert opens the door to calling off the duel, which would have resulted in Dantès's death because he was determined to uphold his promise to Mercédès and spare Albert's life.
"Fernand!" Monte Cristo cried. "Of my hundred names, I shall need to tell you only one to strike you down. But you can already guess that name, can't you? Or, rather, you can recall it. For in spite of all my woes, in spite of all my tortures, I can now show you a face rejuvenated by the joy of revenge, a face that you must have seen often in your dreams since your marriage ... your marriage to my fiancée, Mercédès!"
Edmond Dantès, confronted by Fernand Mondego, reveals his true identity and vengeful mission, leaving the other man reeling. Fernand subsequently returns home to find his wife and son fleeing the shame he has brought on the family, and he commits suicide.
Monte Cristo shrank back in horror, exclaiming: "He is mad!" And, as if fearing that the walls of the accursed house might fall in on him, he rushed out into the street, wondering for the first time whether he had had the right to do what he had done. "Enough!" he said. "Let that be enough, and we will save the last one."
The unplanned, unexpected death of young Edouard shakes the confidence and the conviction of Dantès that everything he does has the blessing of God. Seeing Villefort gone mad, he determines that he will spare the remaining conspirator, Danglars.
I am the one whom you sold, betrayed and dishonoured. I am the one whose fiancée you prostituted. I am the one on whom you trampled in order to attain a fortune. I am the one whose father you condemned to starvation, and the one who condemned you to starvation, but who none the less forgives you, because he himself needs forgiveness. I am Edmond Dantès!
Dantès, in completing his revenge against Danglars, sums up why Danglars has been punished and explains why he is now being forgiven.
As for you, Morrel, this is the whole secret of my behaviour towards you: there is neither happiness nor misfortune in this world, there is merely the comparison between one state and another, nothing more. Only someone who has suffered the deepest misfortune is capable of experiencing the heights of felicity. Maximilien, you must needs have wished to die, to know how good it is to live. So, do live and be happy, children dear to my heart, and never forget that, until the day when God deigns to unveil the future to mankind, all human wisdom is contained in these two words: "wait" and "hope"!
Dantès writes to Maximilien to explain his bequests to him and Valentine and his patient philosophy of life.