How is "The Count of Monte Cristo" a political melodrama?

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"The Count of Monte Cristo" by Alexandre Dumas employs the historical backdrop of the exiled emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, the One Hundred Days in which the monarchy was restored, and the attempts to replace Napoleon.  For his countrymen who read his novel, Dumas certainly would arouse sentiment and other emotions, as well, in a melodramatic way.

The sympathies of the reader would be aroused also by the plight of the innocent Edmund Dantes wrongfully charged as a Bonapartist as well as the plight of the Abbe Faria who was charged with being an anti-Bonapartist.  From the situation of the two inmates with opposite charges, Dumas points to the corruption of a justice system that imprisons people politically.  Representative, also, of this corruption is Monsieur de Villefort who rises from Deputy Prosecutor to Deputy Minister of France.  For, he is willingly to imprison a young man to disguise his family history, he buries his illegitimate baby while he is alvie, and he covers up the deaths of his in-laws to keep "disgrace" from reaching his family.

With one of the themes of the novel as the limitations of human justice, Dumas demonstrates that Dantes cannot be the agent of Providence that he believes himself.  For when he wreaks his justice upon de Villefort, Dantes inadvertently causes the death of Eduard, the son of de Villefort.  Dantes realizes that he is not an agent of Providence and that political justice can outreach its boundaries as much a political injustice can.

Read the study guide:
The Count of Monte Cristo

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question