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The Count of Monte Cristo Summary

The Count of Monte Cristo Summary

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Setting

The novel is set within the nineteenth century of France in large and populous cities.

Main characters

Edmond Dantes- is the dashing and idyllic champion of the novel. Edmond is a sailor who, at the prime of his life and career, is betrayed by close friends because of their jealousy.

Abbe Faria- he is a prisoner who teaches Dantes many languages, sciences, history, and other subjects and they become like father and son.

Monsieur De Villefort- he is the prosecuting attorney who is most responsible for the suffering of Dantes because he ordered that Edmond be sent to prison which ignited his spark for revenge.

Fernand Mondego- he was a simple fisherman and sometimes smuggler who was in love with the same woman to whom Edmond Dantes was engaged to.

Plot Summary

The Count of Monte Cristo tells a story about a sailor, Edmond Dantes, who was betrayed during the prime of his life and career by his jealous friends. His shipmate, Danglars, coveted his designation as the captain of the mighty Pharaon. Ferdinand Mondego wished to wed Mercedes, who was engaged to Edmond. Danglars and Ferdinand wrote a letter accusing Edmond of carrying a letter from Elba to the Bonapartist committee in Paris. Caderousse, a neighbor, learned of the plot but kept silent. On his wedding day, Edmond was arrested and taken before a deputy named Villefort, a political apostate, who had Edmond secretly imprisoned in the deepest dungeons of the Chateau D’If, to protect himself.

Dantes’ incarceration was secured by the plotting of his enemies outside the prison, particularly towards Villefort, who wished to cover up his own father’s connections with the Bonapartists. While in prison, Dantes was determined to escape and began digging a tunnel in hopes that it would lead to freedom. During this exercise, he met an elderly inmate named Abbe Faria whose attempt to dig his way to his salvation had led him only to Edmond’s cell. The two meet daily and an incredible relationship flourished. The old man taught Edmond history, mathematics, and languages. In Edmond’s fourteenth year, Faria became mortally ill. The wise elder tells Edmond where to find a massive buried fortune.

When Faria finally dies, his body is placed in a burial sack. Edmond seizes the opportunity to escape by replacing Faria’s corpse with himself. Jailers throw the sack into the sea which allows Dantes to escape. He is rescued by a passing ship which gives him a position on the boat. After paying homage for the noble act, Dantes recovers the buried treasure and becomes extremely wealthy. He returns as the mysterious Count of Monte Cristo and dazzles all of Paris with his extreme wealth and social grace. Monte Cristo recognizes all of his enemies, who are now all-powerful and influential men.

Dantes slowly plots the ruin of the four men who had caused him to be sent to the Chateau D’If. Ferdinand has married Mercedes and is now the Count de Morcef. Monte Cristo releases information to the press that proves that Morcef is a traitor, and Morcef is ruined socially. Monte Cristo then destroys Morcef’s relationship with his family, whom he adores. When they leave him, he is so distraught that he commits suicide. To revenge himself on Caderousse, Monte Cristo easily traps Caderousse because of his voracious greed. Monte Cristo awakens this greed with the gift of a diamond.

Later, urged by his wife, Caderousse commits robbery and murder. Now escaped from prison, Caderousse unsuccessfully attempts to rob Monte Cristo. The Count watches as one of Caderousse’s companions mortally wounds him. As the man lay dying, Monte Cristo exposes his true name, Edmond Dantes. To revenge himself on Danglars, who loves money more than life itself, Monte Cristo ruins him financially. To revenge himself on Villefront, Monte Cristo slowly reveals to Villefront that he knows about a love affair that Villefront had long ago with Madame Danglars. He also reveals to him, by hints, that he knows about the illegitimate child whom he fathered, a child whom Villefront had believed to be buried alive. The child lived, however, and was now engaged to Mademoiselle Danglars, who is really his half-sister.

Villefort's wives prove to be more wicked than her husband, for she poisons her parents and her daughter so that her real son can have the full inheritance. However, Villefront discovers the plot and Threatens to kill her if she doesn’t do it first, and so she kills herself and her son. The Count had rescued Valentine from a drug-induced coma and reunited her with her love, Maximilian, on the island of Monte Cristo leaving the two young loves his entire fortune. The Count sailed off into the sunset never to be seen again.

Themes

  1. The Limits of Human Justice. Edmond Dantes takes justice into his own hands because he is angered by the limitations of society’s criminal justice system. Societal justice allows his enemies to slip through the cracks, going unpunished for the crimes they have committed against him. Dantes’ enemies have caused him years of emotional anguish and the most that they themselves would be forced to suffer would be a few seconds of pain, followed by death.
  2. Alienation. Dantes declares himself an exile from humanity during the years in which he carries out his elaborate scheme of revenge. He feels cut off not only from all countries, societies, and individuals but also from normal human emotions. Dantes is unable to experience joy, sorrow, or excitement. The only emotions he is capable of feeling are vengeful hatred and occasional gratitude.