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The Count of Monte Cristo | Study Guide

Alexandre Dumas

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Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe explains the symbols in Alexandre Dumas's novel The Count of Monte Cristo.

The Count of Monte Cristo | Symbols



Dantès's elixir or potion serves as a representation of God's strength—both in constructive and destructive ways. The elixir seemingly has the power to both give and destroy life. The use of the elixir conveys this god-like power to Dantès, who believes he masters these powers and therefore acts as an agent of God. However the elixir fails Dantès when he is unable to use it to bring the boy Edouard back to life. The limits of the elixir prove to be Dantès's limits, as well. Only God has the power to give and take life, just as only God, and not Dantès, has the power to mete out justice.

Red Silk Purse

Through the power of the red silk purse, good works are rewarded. Monsieur Morrel makes use of the purse in his attempt to save Dantès's father's life. In return Dantès employs the purse to save Morrel's life. The manifestation of the red silk purse in both scenes signals to Morrel the connection between the two events. Julie, Morrel's daughter, displays the purse to reiterate its power.

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