SheWunders's Reviews > The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
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's review
Sep 02, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: 2009-02, classics
Read in February, 2009

The Count of Monte Cristo is the classic tale of revenge and retribution. Set after the French revolution during periods of unrest caused by the usurper Napoleon The Count of Monte Cristo begins with political intrigue. A young sailor, Edmond, is detained at the Isle of Elba, where Napoleon is in exile, during a merchant voyage for the Morrel shipping firm. He received a mysterious correspondence, but has no knowledge of the contents of the letter. When arriving at port in Marseille Edmond immediately sets out visit his beloved father and then next to see his beautiful and loyal love Mercedes. Edmond proposes to Mercedes and she wholeheartedly accepts.

Mercedes’ admirer Fernand Mondego and Edmond’s jealous ship mate Danglers conspire to have Edmond imprisoned out of resentment. They forge the Edmond received letter that implicates the magistrate’s father, Noritier Villefort, is involved with Bonapartist uprising which is found in the hands of Edmond. At the betrothal breakfast of Edmond and Mercedes, Edmond is taken away by the police. The magistrate M. Villefort is afraid of ruining his political career so he has Edmond imprisoned in Château d'If.

Edmond is imprisoned for fourteen years. During his stay at Château d'If he meets a priest who is tunneling his way out. The priest is a godsend to Edmond. Together they have companionship and purpose, namely escape. The priest imparts knowledge of medicine, language, literature, and mathematics upon the sailor while they tunnel. The priest who is advanced in age does not live to see the end of the tunnel, but before the passes he tells Edmond of an enormous treasure that is buried on the Isle of Monte Cristo. The priest dies and is sewn up in sail cloth by the jailer. Edmond replaces himself with the priest body and is thrown into the Atlantic.

Edmond is rescued by a merchant boat and eventually finds his way to the Isle of Monte Cristo. Upon finding his treasure he takes it as a sign from God he is to use the money to punish Fernand, Danglers, and Villefort who betrayed him.

Edmond enters society again as the Count of Monte Cristo. He finds M. Morrel a bankrupt ship owner, M. Villefort a successful Parisian judge, M. Debarge a wealthy baron, and Fernand (M. Morcef) married to Mercedes. First the Count helps M. Morrel out of bankruptcy and dishonor by gifting him a large sum of money. Next the Count decides to exact his revenge by destroying the families of Villefort, Debarge, and Morcef. He begins by ingratiating himself to their children and through the politics of marriage, dowries, and inheritances

Mme. Villefort poisons M. Villefort’s in-laws and servant while attempting to poison M. Villefort’s father Noritier and daughter Valentine to secure Valentine’s inheritance for her son Edward. When discovered she poisons Edward and herself to revenge herself on M. Villefort. It was Monte Cristo who introduced Mme. Villefort to poisons.

Baron Danglers ends up bankrupt through several bad cases of insider trading in which the bad information is published covertly by Monte Cristo. Also Danglers who is a banker who has over extended his loans in which Monte Cristo calls due.

M. Morcef is publicly humiliated as a traitor in his earlier life. He is brought to trial and imprisoned. His position is lost and he is dishonored. Mercedes and their son Albert leave impoverished to make a new life for themselves.

Mercedes has recognized the Count as Edmond from their first introduction, but did not call out his identity. She believed he was dead, but after a period of mourning she succumbed to her suitor Fernand and married him, but always loved Edmond. After seeing Edmond again on some level she was cognizant that he was there to exact his revenge. She let him play out the reprisal. After her ruin Mercedes lives in Marseille in Edmond’s father’s cottage where she continues to mourn the Edmond she lost many years ago, her son who has left to make his own name, and the Edmond who has left her again.

The ending for the Count is bittersweet he has destroyed lives to repay them for his imprisonment. After the revenge has folded and all parties are punished Edmond leave the Isle of Monte Cristo with his mistress to start again.

After reading The Count of Monte Cristo I was very disappointed. I loved the movie and I expected the same dramatic and happy ending. I cried for Edmond and his imprisonment, but I can’t forgive the Count for ruining Mercedes. I don’t understand why he didn’t pursue her again. It was obvious she loved him, but did he not love her? I don’t know. She thought he was dead. Should she have waited 14 years for him when she hand no clue of his whereabouts or if he would ever be released. She had no reason to turn down Fernand and was unaware of his involvement in Edmond’s imprisonment. Why did the Count blame her? Why could he not forgive the past and love her again as she loved him? Why did he leave her for his Grecian mistress? I just don’t like it and I’m still sad over it. Why? Why? Why Edmond? Why?

Other than that it's perfect book. Lots of great characters, plot, and mystery. I just didn't like the ending. I ruined it for me.

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