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The Count of Monte Cristo
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message 1: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Mar 28, 2018 05:39PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR APRIL:

1. How do the first five chapters set the tone for what is to come? In what ways does Dumas introduce Dantes to us?

2. Who are the four people responsible for Dantes’ imprisonment? And what are their motives? Do they dislike or hate Dantes at this point?

3. In Chapter 6 we first meet the Villefort family. What is the situation here? Why is it important to the story.

4. Is Dantes' imprisonment (and being left there with no hope of being released) realistic? Did this actually happen to people?

5. Chapters 6 -14 give us a good picture of the political climate of France at the time. Does Dumas reveal himself as either a royalist or a Bonapartist?

6. Chapters 2 and 12 are both titled "Father and Son". Why? How do the two relationships compare?

7. How long is Dantes imprisoned? How does he spend the time? How does he change?

8. After Dantes' escape and after he finds the treasure he gets news of Mercedes. How does this new affect Dantes' story?

9. Dantes is looking for revenge and visits each of his enemies who have all (except for Caderousse) entered elite society. Each has achieved this in a different way. How?

10. In Chapters 26 - 30, Dantes creates two disguises: 1. Abbe Busoni, and 2. Lord Wilmore, an Englishman. What is the symbolism of each? Later he takes on the role of the Count of Monte Cristo. What is that role a symbol of?

11. Starting in Chapter 31 takes us to Italy 10 years in the future. What is happening in Dantes life now and why is it important? How is he different from the Dantes we left at the end of Chapter 30?

12. In Chapters 34 - 38 Dantes saves the life of Albert. What role does Albert de Morcerf play? Why is he an important character?


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments my attempt to answer the questions:

1. Dantes seems to be open, honest, loving, and excited about life. He is in love and ready to be married. He is a loving and attentive son. And he is excited to take on a big promotion. Unfortunately we also find that he has several enemies, though he is unaware of it.

2. Danglars who is jealous of the promotion and wants to captain the ship himself. Fernand Mondego who wants Mercedes for himself. Caderousse who is envious of everything about Dantes. Villefort who doesnt want Dantes to deliver a letter to his father (due to the fact that he is a royalist and his dad is a Bonapartist).

3. Villefort is a royalist. His dad, Nortier, is a Bonapartist. It is important because it is what causes Villefort to imprison Dantes.

4. Yes, during that time people were often imprisoned, or killed, for being on the "wrong" side of politics.

5. I believe Dumas was a Bonapartist.

6. Ch 2 is about Dantes and his dad; Ch 12 is about Villefort and Nortier. The first shows a loving and respectful relationship. The second shows a jealous and dysfunctional one.

7. 14 year, if I remember right. The first 6 he spends alone and slowly is dying. He is changed completely from the open and loving man to one who hates life, hates people and is ready for vengeance. Then he meets the Abbe and he begins learning. He learns languages, cultural things, and much more. He also learns about the treasure hidden long ago on a deserted island.

8. He escapes, finds the treasure and immediately wants to know about Mercedes. Unfortunately she married Fernand 18 months after he was imprisoned. He is devastated and angry.

9. Each of these men has entered society in different ways. Villefort does so with political connections. Danglars with money. And Fernand does so through the judicial world.

10. Abbe Busoni is a symbol of judgement. He takes on this role in order to judge the truth of what is happening. Wilmore is a symbol of generosity. It allows him to reward those he believes did good, and those he feels were his allies. The Count role allows him to be part of elite society and to manipulate those around him.

11. Now Dantes has created a complete life for the Count and is setting the stage to be introduced into Parisian society. (By the son of Fernand and Mercedes!) He is cunning and almost supernatural -- a bit like a vampire. The transformation he started in prison is complete.

12. He saves Albert and ingratiates himself into Albert's life. It allows him to ask Albert to introduce him into Parisian society. It allows him to plot his revenge.


Gail (gailifer) | 1381 comments I have only read up to Chapter 13 so I will only answer some of the first questions.
1. How do the first five chapters set the tone for what is to come? In what ways does Dumas introduce Dantes to us?

Right from the beginning, we see Dantes as someone with professional integrity and a strong sense of loyalty to his employer and to his father. He is described in such a way that we find his character and his person to be both attractive and "dashing" in an adventure story kind of way, but also see him as immature in that he is politically naive and even naive in the ways of man. He doesn't seem to realize that someone who doesn't like him could also do him incredible harm.

2. Who are the four people responsible for Dantes’ imprisonment? And what are their motives? Do they dislike or hate Dantes at this point?
The four villains, so to speak, are largely out to get something for themselves and only dislike Dantes from the point of view of his being in their way. However, Danglars seems truly to actively dislike him. He appears to be jealous of his person not just his position. Fernand is out and out jealous but it doesn't seem to be specific to Dantes, he would be jealous of anyone that Mercedes loved.

3. In Chapter 6 we first meet the Villefort family. What is the situation here? Why is it important to the story.
In the split between the politics of the Villefort and/or the Noirtier family we see the split of all of France. The country is attempting to go past the Revolution but seems only to have 2 ways forward, embrace the king or look back to the Emperor. In fact France will ultimately find a republic based on Democracy but during this part of the story that is not an obvious option.

4. Is Dantes' imprisonment (and being left there with no hope of being released) realistic? Did this actually happen to people?
There is a wonderful cinema legend that gets played out over and over in the movies. The legends puts forward that under the French Napoleonic Code a suspect is assumed guilty until proven innocent. Actually the Napoleonic Code doesn't cover this area of law at all. In fact the presumption of innocence is part of current French laws. However, back then, I think that no one was being really fussy about laws. I think that if the Magistrate said: "take him to jail" he would be taken without benefit of trial or benefit of knowing what he was being held for or how long. So yes, I actually think this could easily be realistic.

5. Chapters 6 -14 give us a good picture of the political climate of France at the time. Does Dumas reveal himself as either a royalist or a Bonapartist?
In a strange way it is not revealed. Certainly the people supporting the king don't come across as righteous, especially Villefort but it doesn't glorify Napoleon either. Alexandre Dumas' father was a general in the revolutionary army but one gets the impression that both sides have their issues.

6. Chapters 2 and 12 are both titled "Father and Son". Why? How do the two relationships compare?
The parallel between the loyalty of Dantes to his father and of Villafort to his father is well drawn. Dante is loving and puts his father's fortunes first while Villafort appears to care for his father, but he would also throw him under a carriage if it meant getting further ahead himself.

That's as far as I have gotten.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Gail wrote: "I have only read up to Chapter 13 so I will only answer some of the first questions.
1. How do the first five chapters set the tone for what is to come? In what ways does Dumas introduce Dantes to ..."


Thanks for your great responses! How are you enjoying the book so far?


Gail (gailifer) | 1381 comments Yes, I am enjoying the book very much. I even like that Mercedes dismisses some female conventions. No money/no dowry - no big deal.


Gail (gailifer) | 1381 comments I have now finished up to Chapter 38 for April's reading and can answer more of the questions.
7. How long is Dantes imprisoned? How does he spend the time? How does he change?

He spends 14 years in solitary (of course we know it isn't solitary but his jailers think it is).
He transforms from a solidly good although undereducated and naive person into someone who is very educated in both the ways of the world and in the cultural affairs of man. He also somehow (and this is a bit of a stretch in the book) comes out of jail quite strong and physically capable although pale as a ghost.

8. After Dantes' escape and after he finds the treasure he gets news of Mercedes. How does this news affect Dantes' story?
The news of her life causes him to think more about revenge in a way that is more subtle and complicated than his thoughts of revenge around his villains. Also, we hear that she has a son and how Dantes feels about this is left open.

9. Dantes is looking for revenge and visits each of his enemies who have all (except for Caderousse) entered elite society. Each has achieved this in a different way. How?

Each of the villains has achieved their fortune through marriage and through cunning. In an interesting way, Dumas gives them credit for being hardworking and ambitious in their quest for fortune and fame. In particular Fernand works his way up through the ranks to being given a rather makeshift nobility. This is in contrast to Dantes who although Dumas makes one feel he deserves his fortune as it was paid for with 14 years of prison, nevertheless the fortune was just handed to him. Dantes did not work for it.

10. In Chapters 26 - 30, Dantes creates two disguises: 1. Abbe Busoni, and 2. Lord Wilmore, an Englishman. What is the symbolism of each? Later he takes on the role of the Count of Monte Cristo. What is that role a symbol of?
The disguises reveal different aspects of Dantes' character and the struggles he has within himself to justify his feelings of revenge but also to come to grips with what is the meaning of his life now that a large chunk of it was taken away from him. Abbe Busoni is strong willed, loyal and dismissive of the things of man (of course this is just a disguise and therefore all this is a lie). Lord Wilmore on the other hand is a truly good man, working without desire for recognition, to help others that have helped him. The Count is a bit of a rogue, swashbuckling at times and a bit of nouveau riche dandy at other times.

11. Starting in Chapter 31 takes us to Italy 10 years in the future. What is happening in Dantes life now and why is it important? How is he different from the Dantes we left at the end of Chapter 30?
We suddenly are experiencing a different kind of tale where the story unfolds through Franz and Alberts eyes rather than through Dantes. With this buffer we see Dantes as mysterious, rich, cunning and clearly out for some complicated revenge but because it has been 10 years, one is confused about what he has been doing all this time on the revenge front. On the living life well front, he has clearly been securing his place in the world through influence both very high (Bishops and even higher at the church) and low (smugglers and bandits). You don't necessarily get the sense that Dantes is Zorro or Robin Hood, working hard for the good of the poor. He clearly doesn't adhere to the conventional dictates of the time. He seems to get away with huge influence and power by virtue of his fortune.

12. In Chapters 34 - 38 Dantes saves the life of Albert. What role does Albert de Morcerf play? Why is he an important character?
Here I have a question. I think I know the relationship of Albert to the rest of the story but that may be a spoiler. I don't know if I should voice it although Kelly and I may be the only readers at this point.
I think Albert is a bit of fop, with a constant eye toward ladies and fashions. However, we also learn he is a first rate fighter and he is cool under pressure, so there are some redeeming qualities. The fact that this part of the story is largely told through the eyes of Franz, his much more introspective friend, lets you see both Dantes and Albert as not necessarily the "hero" of our story.

I really loved the Chapters 28-30, which was a little story in an of itself and one with a delightfully happy ending.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Gail wrote: "I have now finished up to Chapter 38 for April's reading and can answer more of the questions.
7. How long is Dantes imprisoned? How does he spend the time? How does he change?

He spends 14 years ..."


I love this book even more as I read your thoughts. Yes, it feels like there are many little stories within the big story here. Dumas is a master.


Gail (gailifer) | 1381 comments Do you think that Dantes set up the whole thing with Albert? It doesn't read like that but as I was thinking more about it, it almost sounds like he conspired with the bandits in order to have a reason to ask something personal of Albert.....
And the plot thickens as they say....


Stacey's All Booked (staceysallbooked) | 1 comments I just want to say that I look forward to discussing this book with you all. This is my first time reading The Count of Monte Cristo and I can't wait to dig in. So far I am only on chapter 4 "The Plot". I was surprised to find the language easy to read. I had expected to need a dictionary close at hand, but for the most part this translation is very readable.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Gail wrote: "Do you think that Dantes set up the whole thing with Albert? It doesn't read like that but as I was thinking more about it, it almost sounds like he conspired with the bandits in order to have a re..."

I do think that. Albert is integral in his plan.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Stacey wrote: "I just want to say that I look forward to discussing this book with you all. This is my first time reading The Count of Monte Cristo and I can't wait to dig in. So far I am only on chapter 4 "The P..."

Glad you have enjoyed the first few chapters! I actually loved this book more this second time through than I did the first time. I gave it 4 stars then. I would give it 5 now.


Kristel (kristelh) | 4107 comments Mod
1. How do the first five chapters set the tone for what is to come? In what ways does Dumas introduce Dantes to us?

Dante is a young, optimistic, moral young man who is a dependable sailor ready to take over as Captain. He trusts others so a bit naive.

2. Who are the four people responsible for Dantes’ imprisonment? And what are their motives? Do they dislike or hate Dantes at this point?
1. Danglars: Motive to Captain the ship himself so he could take advantage of making himself rich.
2. Fernand Mondego cousin of Mercedes who wants her for his wife.
3. Caderousse:
4. Villefort: wants to circumvent his father getting a letter that Dante's was given the charge to deliver.

3. In Chapter 6 we first meet the Villefort family. What is the situation here? Why is it important to the story. Divided politcal stances, it leads to imprisonment of Dante's without opportunity to get out because he is essentially a prisoner with no record of imprisonment.

4. Is Dantes' imprisonment (and being left there with no hope of being released) realistic? Did this actually happen to people? yes

5. Chapters 6 -14 give us a good picture of the political climate of France at the time. Does Dumas reveal himself as either a royalist or a Bonapartist? If we based it on the character of Dante, Dumas would be an anarchist. Dumas's father was black and from the West Indies. He came to France and was in the military and had aristocratic standing. He lost favor when Bonaparte came into power and he had to leave France. I read the biography, The Black Knight.

6. Chapters 2 and 12 are both titled "Father and Son". Why? How do the two relationships compare? Chapter 2 is about Dantes and his dad; Ch 12 is about Villefort and Nortier.

7. How long is Dantes imprisoned? How does he spend the time? How does he change? Don't remember the exact years but it was a long time. He goes through a period of hope, then no hope, deep depression, suicidal intent and then he again has hope and the remaining years he spends time learning many things from the Abbe.

8. After Dantes' escape and after he finds the treasure he gets news of Mercedes. How does this new affect Dantes' story? It changes his hope's and shifts the focus on revenge.

9. Dantes is looking for revenge and visits each of his enemies who have all (except for Caderousse) entered elite society. Each has achieved this in a different way. How? Mostly by means other than merit, devious, misuse of privileges and dishonesty.


10. In Chapters 26 - 30, Dantes creates two disguises: 1. Abbe Busoni, and 2. Lord Wilmore, an Englishman. What is the symbolism of each? Later he takes on the role of the Count of Monte Cristo. What is that role a symbol of?


11. Starting in Chapter 31 takes us to Italy 10 years in the future. What is happening in Dantes life now and why is it important? How is he different from the Dantes we left at the end of Chapter 30?


12. In Chapters 34 - 38 Dantes saves the life of Albert. What role does Albert de Morcerf play? Why is he an important character?


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Kristel wrote: "1. How do the first five chapters set the tone for what is to come? In what ways does Dumas introduce Dantes to us?

Dante is a young, optimistic, moral young man who is a dependable sailor ready t..."


Thanks for sharing your thoughts! How are you enjoying the book so far?


Kristel (kristelh) | 4107 comments Mod
Kelly wrote: "Kristel wrote: "1. How do the first five chapters set the tone for what is to come? In what ways does Dumas introduce Dantes to us?

Dante is a young, optimistic, moral young man who is a dependabl..."

I like it, but I was quite a ways ahead so took a break and find that I am forgetting some of the details. I did think that at times, Dumas could have skipped some of the stuff and the story would have read better. I really liked the first part a lot and the part where he is in prison. Not so much a fan of Dante the revengeful parts but still very good.


message 15: by Diane (last edited Apr 14, 2018 10:17AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Diane  | 2042 comments 1. How do the first five chapters set the tone for what is to come? In what ways does Dumas introduce Dantes to us?

Dantes seems to personify goodness. He is a respectful,and trustworthy young man of good character who possesses a bright future. He has just been promoted to the position of captain of a ship and is about to marry the woman he loves. Due to his innocent and benevolent nature, he is oblivious to the fact that others may dislike him or wish him harm.

2. Who are the four people responsible for Dantes’ imprisonment? And what are their motives? Do they dislike or hate Dantes at this point?

Danglars: He dislikes Dantes and is disgruntled that he was promoted to ship captain.
Caderousse - He also dislikes Dantes and thinks he is arrogant. He is a friend of Danglars. He doesn't really stand to gain anything from Dantes downfall like the others do. His crime is more one of complicity. He doesn't actively take part in the misdeed, he is just present during the plot.
Fernand Mondego - He is in love with Dantes fiancee Mercedes and would love to have Dantes out of the picture so he can have her.
Villefort - He is the one who imprisons Dantes for life after confiscating and destroying the letter. The letter was intended for Villefort's father Noirtier who has opposing political views. Villefort sees that Dantes is innocent, but proceeds to imprison him for his own gains and his political cause.


3. In Chapter 6 we first meet the Villefort family. What is the situation here? Why is it important to the story.

Father and son share opposing political views. The father, Noirtier is a Bonapartist and his son Gerard de Villefort is a Royalist. Their disagreement led to Dantes' imprisonment by the son.

4. Is Dantes' imprisonment (and being left there with no hope of being released) realistic? Did this actually happen to people?

I think so. There are many cases through history where this has happened, especially for political prisoners. France had a reputation of sentencing suspected political dissidents to life in prison with little or no proof of guilt in the post-revolutionary era.

5. Chapters 6 -14 give us a good picture of the political climate of France at the time. Does Dumas reveal himself as either a royalist or a Bonapartist?

The political climate in France was very divided during this time. It seems obvious from the book's good vs. evil plot that Dumas was a Bonapartist. This would make sense since his father was a general in Napoleon's army.

6. Chapters 2 and 12 are both titled "Father and Son". Why? How do the two relationships compare?

Dantes was a respectful and loving son who was loved by his father. The relationship between Villefort and Noirtier is undermined by Villefort's opposing views and his own ambition.
He uses the information given to him from his father for his own gains.
.

7. How long is Dantes imprisoned? How does he spend the time? How does he change?

He is in prison for a total of 14 years. He befriends an imprisoned priest in the adjacent cell after they dig a tunnel between their cells. He also acquires knowledge from the tutelage of Abbe Faria about languages, history, science, and art. He also develops a need for vengeance against his persecutors after Faria helps him deduce who was responsible for his captivity.

8. After Dantes' escape and after he finds the treasure he gets news of Mercedes. How does this new affect Dantes' story?

This is devastating news to Dantes and helps reinforce his need for vengeance. His hopes for resuming his previous life are dashed.

9. Dantes is looking for revenge and visits each of his enemies who have all (except for Caderousse) entered elite society. Each has achieved this in a different way. How?

Fernand Mondego achieved his success through military glory acquired through treasonous and treacherous deeds.
Danglars becomes a banker and becomes rich. He also becomes a baron.
Villefort rises through the political ranks to become successful. He uses his power to judge and punish people.


10. In Chapters 26 - 30, Dantes creates two disguises: 1. Abbe Busoni, and 2. Lord Wilmore, an Englishman. What is the symbolism of each? Later he takes on the role of the Count of Monte Cristo. What is that role a symbol of?

Abbe Busoni represents a religious figure symbolic of judgment from God.
Lord Wilmore represents a benefactor symbolic of generosity
The Count of Monte Cristo is his persona for seeking vengeance on his enemies. It is a also a position of power that enables him to enter into Parisian society and interact with his powerful enemies.


11. Starting in Chapter 31 takes us to Italy 10 years in the future. What is happening in Dantes life now and why is it important? How is he different from the Dantes we left at the end of Chapter 30?

The book doesn't really tell us what transpired during that missing decade. The foundations of his plan have been set and he can now put it into motion. This is when he begins to actively start his revenge and destroy his enemies. The conditions are now right to enter into Parisian society and begin his role of the Count of Monte Cristo. As Monte Cristo, he has undergone a transformation of sorts and has changed into a new person possessing extreme knowledge and abilities, almost to the point of becoming superhuman or supernatural.

12. In Chapters 34 - 38 Dantes saves the life of Albert. What role does Albert de Morcerf play? Why is he an important character?

Dantes used Albert as a vehicle to bring him closer to his now powerful enemies. Albert is important because he is the son of Fernand and Mercedes.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Diane wrote: "1. How do the first five chapters set the tone for what is to come? In what ways does Dumas introduce Dantes to us?

Dantes seems to personify goodness. He is a respectful,and trustworthy young man..."


Hi Diane! THanks for sharing your thoughts!


Diane Zwang | 1246 comments Mod
1. How do the first five chapters set the tone for what is to come? In what ways does Dumas introduce Dantes to us?

Dantes is introduced as a kind and conscious person. He wants to do what is right by his previous Captain, he is devoted to his father and is in love with Mercedes. The author sets up great sympathy for Dantes. In the first 5 chapters we are introduced to a host of characters, their relationship to Dantes and their motives.

2. Who are the four people responsible for Dantes’ imprisonment? And what are their motives? Do they dislike or hate Dantes at this point?

Fernand is in love with Mercedes and would sooner see Dantes dead than alive. Danglers wants to be Captain and hates Dantes. Monsieur de Villefort is a royalist who is trying to move up the ladder while protecting his father the Bondapartist. Caderousse is a neighbor of Dantes, he loaned the family money which they repaid. Caderousse states he does not hate Dantes so not sure of the motive, greed?

3. In Chapter 6 we first meet the Villefort family. What is the situation here? Why is it important to the story.

I am having trouble keeping all the Villeforts straight. I think they are royalist. The son is a deputy and engaged to a woman in a prominent family.

4. Is Dantes' imprisonment (and being left there with no hope of being released) realistic? Did this actually happen to people?
I think this is realistic of the time period.

5. Chapters 6 -14 give us a good picture of the political climate of France at the time. Does Dumas reveal himself as either a royalist or a Bonapartist?
So far I have not noticed one way or the other.

6. Chapters 2 and 12 are both titled "Father and Son". Why? How do the two relationships compare?
Dantes and his father are close, loving and similar. Monsieur de Villefort and his father could not be more different. One a royalist and one a Bonapartist.

7. How long is Dantes imprisoned? How does he spend the time? How does he change?
When he befriends Abbe Faria he spends his time learning, then planning their escape. He spent 14 years in prison.

8. After Dantes' escape and after he finds the treasure he gets news of Mercedes. How does this new affect Dantes' story?

9. Dantes is looking for revenge and visits each of his enemies who have all (except for Caderousse) entered elite society. Each has achieved this in a different way. How?
Danglers entered the service of the Spanish banker.

10. In Chapters 26 - 30, Dantes creates two disguises: 1. Abbe Busoni, and 2. Lord Wilmore, an Englishman. What is the symbolism of each? Later he takes on the role of the Count of Monte Cristo. What is that role a symbol of?

11. Starting in Chapter 31 takes us to Italy 10 years in the future. What is happening in Dantes life now and why is it important? How is he different from the Dantes we left at the end of Chapter 30?

This whole section was not my favorite especially since there seemed to be stories within a story.

12. In Chapters 34 - 38 Dantes saves the life of Albert. What role does Albert de Morcerf play? Why is he an important character? 

Albert is the son of Mercedes and Fernand. I knew that Dantes was trying to get closer to Fernand.


Diane Zwang | 1246 comments Mod
Gail wrote: "I have only read up to Chapter 13 so I will only answer some of the first questions.
1. How do the first five chapters set the tone for what is to come? In what ways does Dumas introduce Dantes to ..."


Gail, thanks for the information on the history of the French legal system.


Diane Zwang | 1246 comments Mod
Kelly wrote: "my attempt to answer the questions:

1. Dantes seems to be open, honest, loving, and excited about life. He is in love and ready to be married. He is a loving and attentive son. And he is excited t..."


Kelly I enjoyed your answer to question 10. I don't think I would have picked up on that level of detail.


Diane Zwang | 1246 comments Mod
Kristel wrote: "1. How do the first five chapters set the tone for what is to come? In what ways does Dumas introduce Dantes to us?

Dante is a young, optimistic, moral young man who is a dependable sailor ready t..."


Kristel, I enjoyed the information about Dumas.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Diane wrote: "Kelly wrote: "my attempt to answer the questions:

1. Dantes seems to be open, honest, loving, and excited about life. He is in love and ready to be married. He is a loving and attentive son. And h..."


Thanks Diane. But it is my second reading in less than a year, plus I did lots of reading of the thoughts of others.

How are you enjoying the book?


message 22: by Gail (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gail (gailifer) | 1381 comments I started the second month of reading and am at chapter 42. I will answer some of the second group of questions when I get further along. I just read that the book originally came out in a serial fashion. That probably explains why some chapters are separate stories onto themselves and why all the chapters leave you wanting the next chapter.
Also, I think I will update the character chart Kelly started. I keep getting everyone confused.


Diane Zwang | 1246 comments Mod
Kelly wrote: "Diane wrote: "Kelly wrote: "my attempt to answer the questions:

1. Dantes seems to be open, honest, loving, and excited about life. He is in love and ready to be married. He is a loving and attent..."


I am enjoying the book. It is long though.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Diane wrote: "Kelly wrote: "Diane wrote: "Kelly wrote: "my attempt to answer the questions:

1. Dantes seems to be open, honest, loving, and excited about life. He is in love and ready to be married. He is a lov..."


It is that! ... my copy is nearly 1300 pages.


Hilde (hilded) | 349 comments I am really enjoying the book so far, it's fast paced, and with each chapter ending with a cliffhanger I am finding it hard to put down.
Here are my thoughts so far;

1.How do the first five chapters set the tone for what is to come? In what ways does Dumas introduce Dantes to us?

We meet Dantes as a young man, and he is portrayed as a good and decent youth who takes care of the people around him. He has a bright future, about to be married to the woman he loves and promoted to captain of the ship he was working at. At the same time, he is also portrayed as naïve and unaware of the political environment surrounding him, mostly arising from his background and his young age, leaving him vulnerable for the plot that is made towards him.

2. Who are the four people responsible for Dantes’ imprisonment? And what are their motives? Do they dislike or hate Dantes at this point?

I would say that there are really two people that are consciously responsible for the Dante’s imprisonment, and then of course the other two that are unconsciously responsible.

Baron Danglars initiates the plot against Dumas, playing on the jealous feelings that the young Fernand has towards Dantes due to his upcoming marriage with Mercedes. Hence, Fernand easily hops on the idea of putting Dantes out of the game so that he can get Mercedes himself. Danglars himself is only interested in whatever can make his position in life better, making him a true villain in the story. Caderousse was the other one that was unconsciously plotting against Dantes, as he was aware of the letter that Fernand sent, written by Danglars. However, he felt strongly that this was not right, but did not have the courage to do something about it.

Of course, none of this would have mattered had Dantes met a decent judge. But no, his case was “hidden” by Monsieur de Villefort, the ambitious prosecutor. Initially, he thought about deeming Dantes as not guilty until he discovered the possible harm toward his own person and the connection to his father who was a revolutionary, and hence on the opposite side as Villefort himself.

3. In Chapter 6 we first meet the Villefort family. What is the situation here? Why is it important to the story.

As touched upon in question 2, it is important because of the relationship between Villefort and his father, and them being on opposite political sides, where Villefort is a Royalist and his father Monsieur Noirtier a Bonapartist.

4. Is Dantes' imprisonment (and being left there with no hope of being released) realistic? Did this actually happen to people?

From what I have read, and from the comments from the others above, unfortunately it was realistic for the time period.

5. Chapters 6 -14 give us a good picture of the political climate of France at the time. Does Dumas reveal himself as either a royalist or a Bonapartist?

I agree with Diane that it seems obvious that Dumas must have been a Bonapartist given the good versus bad plot.

6. Chapters 2 and 12 are both titled "Father and Son". Why? How do the two relationships compare?

In chapter 2 we meet Dantes father, and it is clear that they have a loving and caring relationship.

In chapter 12 we meet Monsieur Noirtier, the father of Villefort, which have a much more complicated relationship given the fact that their share opposite political views. Villefort obviously cares about his father, but it is also clear that he would go against him to strengthen his own case.

7. How long is Dantes imprisoned? How does he spend the time? How does he change?
14 long years. In the first half of those years, they almost manage to break him, and there is not much will left to live. Then he meets the priest Abbe Faria, who becomes his prison father, mentor and friend. The transformation from a youth to a well-educated man starts here, and Dantes regains the will to live while becoming aware of the political, social and cultural aspects in society. Abbe Faria is also the one to give Dantes his fortune. I loved the character of Abbe Faria, a classic example of the good versus bad characters.

8. After Dantes' escape and after he finds the treasure he gets news of Mercedes. How does this new affect Dantes' story?

It becomes clear that his main mission now is to get revenge, as his hope of being with Mercedes now is ruined. He also does not trust the society after his own experience, and is therefore building up his own sense of right and wrong.

9. Dantes is looking for revenge and visits each of his enemies who have all (except for Caderousse) entered elite society. Each has achieved this in a different way. How?

Basically through deceit and treachery

10. In Chapters 26 - 30, Dantes creates two disguises: 1. Abbe Busoni, and 2. Lord Wilmore, an Englishman. What is the symbolism of each? Later he takes on the role of the Count of Monte Cristo. What is that role a symbol of?

I agree with Gail that the different disguises reveal different aspects of Dantes’ character, and the struggles within him about what is right and what is wrong.

11. Starting in Chapter 31 takes us to Italy 10 years in the future. What is happening in Dantes life now and why is it important? How is he different from the Dantes we left at the end of Chapter 30?

We are now getting the story through Franz d’Epinay eyes, who is a good friend of Albert, the son of Mercedes. Dantes is now portrayed as a mystical figure, almost divine, with no ends to his good fortune. He now has a lot of power, and has worked up lots of important connections in his life on all sides of society (Bishops, smugglars etc).

12. In Chapters 34 - 38 Dantes saves the life of Albert. What role does Albert de Morcerf play? Why is he an important character?

(view spoiler)


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Hilde wrote: "I am really enjoying the book so far, it's fast paced, and with each chapter ending with a cliffhanger I am finding it hard to put down.
Here are my thoughts so far;

1.How do the first five chap..."


It is a fast-paced book and made me want to read 24/7, especially for this second go round.


message 27: by Pip (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pip | 1409 comments I don't like reading discussion questions in advance because they might colour the way I read the book. The disadvantage is that I might not remember exactly how things were!
1. In the beginning Dumas sets the scene by letting the reader know that the story is set in the time of political upheaval. The Royalists have prevailed and Bonaparte is exiled to Elba. I read The Scarlet and the Black in January so I got a good grasp of how the reversals in power could prove fatal. Edmond Dantes is a first mate on a ship when the captain dies. He is a skilful sailor and has great command of his men, but he is politically naive. The captain asks him to deliver a letter to Elba, which he does without seeming to have a clue that this action could have been construed as traitorous.
2. a) Fernand Montego, a Catalan, and a cousin of Mercedes. He is in love with her and when an opportunity to get Dantes out of the way presents itself, he takes it, because he is jealous that Mercedes is in love with Edmond and not him.
b) Danglars, who was Supercargo on the boat and was jealous of Dantes elevation to captain. In order to get Dantes out of the way he writes a letter accusing Dantes of treason, pretends it is a joke, but leaves the letter crumpled in a corner, hoping that Fernand will take the bait and send the letter to
c) Gerard de Villefort, who is the deputy prosecutor, who interviews Dantes and realises that the letter Dantes picked up on Elba and intended to deliver to a Bonapartise sympathiser in Paris is actually intended for his own father. Terrified that he might lose his position he burns the letter and throws Dantes in jail, even though it is well known that his father was on the other side.
d) Gaspard Caderousse was a friend of Danglars and was drinking with him when the plot was hatched. Danglars made sure that he was drunk, but when he awoke the next day he realised what had happened and challenged Danglars who promptly blackmailed him into silence.
3. Villefort is young, successful and about to get married - just like Dantes. He is serious and conscientious. His fiancee, Renee de Saint-Meran, reminds him of the power he has and begs him to be lenient, and he really intends to be so until he sees his father's name of the letter Dantes plans to deliver. In order to further his own career he incarcerates Dantes.
4. Yes.
5. He seems to be a Bonapartist. This is reinforced later when Noirtier de Villefort is portrayed as being principled and honest even though he was a supporter and advisor to Napoleon.
6. In Chapter 2 the father and son are Dantes and his father. Edmond is devoted to his father and the knowledge that while he was in prison his father died of starvation was a main motive for his revenge. In Chapter 12 the father and son are Villefort, who thinks that his father's life is in danger, and his father, who has survived multiple intrigues and who is disparaging of his son's concern for his own career.
7. He was imprisoned 14 years. Once he was in contact with Abbe Faria he changed from being naive and ultruistic into a sophisticated and learned gentleman. Faria explained how Dante had been tricked and influenced his quest for revenge.
8. Edmond is devastated that Mercedes has married his rival and thirsts for revenge on those who put him in prison. He blames her for not waiting for him.
9. a) Fernand Mondego has been treacherous for monetary gain. After being conscripted into the army he fights against Spain, his own country, and eventually betrays an ally in Turkey for cash and buys himself an aristocratic title. He is a successful General in the French army.
b) Danglars didn't ever take up the captaincy that he wanted so much. He becomes a banker, a gambler with other people's money, basically, but he is a very successful banker.
c) Villefort becomes a very successful chief prosecutor in Paris.
10. The Abbe Busoni is an Italian priest, so in a position of trust he extracts confessions. He is a symbol for religious authority. Lord Wilmore is an eccentric Englishman who seems to act randomly in bestowing wealth. He is a symbol of charity. The Count of Monte Cristo is a symbol of wealth. He does not use this wealth to buy position or possessions for their own worth, but only as a means to exact his revenge. In this role he is acting the part of a wealthy person so he can get close to his enemies.
11. We are now introduced to Albert De Moncerf, who we know is the son of Fernand and Mercedes, and his friend Franz d'Epernay. We see the Count through their eyes. The Count has spent the last 10 years developing his persona. His enemies are all in Paris so he cultivates young Franz and Albert to establish an entree into Parisian society.
12. The Count has another side to his character, Sinbad the Sailor, who is friendly with the bandit Luigi Vampa. He has Vampa kidnap Albert so that he can be the hero and rescue him and therefore be in a position to use him to get close to his parents and the other two he is plotting revenge against.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Pip wrote: "I don't like reading discussion questions in advance because they might colour the way I read the book. The disadvantage is that I might not remember exactly how things were!
1. In the beginning Du..."


Pip, I don't even read reviews in advance, so I get it.


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