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In the chapter (49) entitled "Ideology," of The Count of Monte Cristo, Monte Cristo has a rather intimate encounter with de Villefort in which he accuses de Villefort, "Do you really think that what you do deserves being called anything?" When de Villefort is, of course, insulted, their conversation turns upon Monte Cristo's raison d'etre. In response to the Procureur du roi's remark that he unquestionably has some ambition, Monte Cristo reveals,
I, too, as happens to every man once in his life, have been taken by Satan into the highest mountain in the earth, and when there he showed me all the kingdoms of the earth, and as he said befre, so said he to me, "Child of earth, what wouldst thou have to make thee adore me?' I reflected long, for a gnawing ambition had long preyed upon me, and then I replied, "Listen,--I have always heard tell of Providence, and yet I have never seen him, nor anything that resembles him....I wish to be Providence myself, for I feel that the most beautiful, noblest, most sublime thing in the world, is to recompense and punish.'
This passage is key to Monte Cristo's methods of revenge against his enemies and reward to those he loves. For, he is neither simply the diabolical villain nor hero. Rather, he is more the Providence of the Old Testament who wreaks "an eye for an eye" and rewards the just. With regard to his enemies, Monte Cristo uses what is their sin against them. For instance, Danglars the banker is destroyed by his own greed when Monte Cristo plots a series of financial disasters for him; de Villefort, the defender of French law, is destroyed when his attempted burial of his illegimate child is exposed in court; the Count de Morcef (Ferdinand Mondego), the "peacock" who glories in his rank and fame, is exposed as a traitor who has sold an ally to the enemy. Caderousse, the thief, is slain by his fellow thief, Benedetto (Andrea de Calvacanti) whom he betrayed.
While Monte Cristo arranges for his enemies' destruction, he does not kill them. Instead, he simply arranges for their own sins to destroy them, as Providence would. Likewise, he intervenes as Providence would for the good and worthy by providing Monsieur Morrel the financial aid that he needs in order to stave off ruin. Monte Cristo intervenes to save Valentine de Villefort and enable her to marry the son of his beloved friend, Maxillian Morrel.
While Monte Cristo's sin is one of pride in feeling that he is an agent of Providence, he achieves his redemption in the end of the novel. In a letter to Maxilmilian:
Tell the angel who is going to watch over you, Morrel, to pray for a man who, like Satan, believed for the moment he was the equal of God, who now acknowledges in all Christian humility that in God alone is supreme power and infinite wisdom....which is contained in these words: Wait and hope!
Well, in a general sense, he did it with incredible deviance and a rather maniacal attention to detail. In each case he used people and events to create rather terrifying sequences of revenge.
In the case of his closest friend, Mondego, who sent him up the river so to speak, he careful takes down everything around him, first ruining him commercially, then carefully taking apart his family as well, making sure that everything Mondego thought he could count on turns to sand. Edmond has an incredible sense of timing as well, aways willing to be patient to let the madness set in and to leave the catch hanging on the hook before reeling it in.
Again, overall it is one of the most incredible portrayals of revenge that I've ever seen in its intricacy and the dastardly nature of it all.
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