Monday, 20 August 2012

A Paper Post III: The Count and His Awakening

Warning:  Spoiler alert for those of you who read books, as this is a technical, broad summary of The Count of Monte Cristo.

Villefort stepped forward: The corpse of Madame de Villefort lay stretched across the doorway leading to the room in which Edward's little inanimate body rested.  Haggard and mournful, Villefort related the incident to Edmond.  After observing the consequences of his wrath, Edmond, alias "The Count of Monte Cristo", "became pale at this horrible sight; he felt he had passed beyond the bounds of vengeance" (Dumas, 1403).  Only when disaster fell on those he had not planned to destroy did the Count arrive at the conclusion that he was neither Providence nor God's mighty judge.

Alexander Dumas' novel is one of intricacy and obsessive revenge involving a young sailor by the name of Edmond Dantes.  Falsely accused of being a Bonapartist, he was arrested on the day of his wedding and promptly imprisoned of the infamous island prision; the Chateau d'If.  With no hope of freedom, Dantes struggled against thoughts of starvation as he endured years of loneliness in his cell.  After Dantes' escape, he uncovered a vast treasure on the small island of Monte Cristo; a treasure which a fellow prisoner (Abbe Faria) had related to him.  With the aide of this vast, newly found treasure, Monte Cristo was prepared to ruin the lives of the men who had dashed his once bright future (Yamamoto 249). Edmond passionately believed he was an "angel of God" whose job it was to deliver punishment to sinners.

Disguised as "The Count of Monte Cristo", "Abbe Busoni", and "Sinbad the Sailor", Edmond devised a complicated plan to avenge himself by associating himself with his enemies' families as well as the enemies themselves. As the "agent of providence", the Count crafted traps in which his alter egos tripped themselves up.  However, when circumstances Dantes had not planned came about, he finally understood that he was not born to play the part of God's providence.  Because of Madame Villefort's wickedness and the death of her son Edward, Monte Cristo immediately realized he was not providence.  This spiritual awakening of Dante's character yielded an unforgettable ending to a timeless story.

The Count's reconciliation confirmed that providence alone possesses the authority to judge and punish wickedness.  Bound to his pursuit, Dantes sketched his masterpiece of revenge, which caused him to be emotionally detached from every other character.  Eventually, Edmond started to live a normal life again, but only when he realized he was not in control of either fate or the lives of others.

Whenever someone has been wronged, they usually feel the need to retaliate, or in Dante's case, justify him or herself.  Although it might seem logically sound, it is not.  People do, at times, go beyond the limit of vengeance or justification, as the Count did more than once.  Monte Cristo's supreme victory never was or will be the defeat of his many enemies: Rather, it is the spiritual awakening, the realization he was not the ultimate judge, that brought him to new heights.

Dumas, Alexandre. The Count of Monte Cristo. New York: Modern Library, 1996. Print.
Yamamoto, Mitsu, Mitsu Yamamoto, and Alexandre Dumas. The Count of Monte Cristo. New York, NY: Baronet, 1992. Print

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