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The Count of Monte Cristo

by Alexandre Dumas père

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How do Monte Cristo's punishments for his four major enemies reflect their character flaws, crimes, and poetic justice?

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Danglars and avarice

As a young man, Danglars, who is a disliked purser on the Pharaon, and is envious of the first mate, Edmund Dantes, who takes over when the captain dies at sea. It is this envy that motivates Danglars to write the letter accusing Dantes of being a Bonapartist, a letter that sentences Dantes to prison.  Monte Cristo's revenge against Danglars involves the greed of Danglars:  Monte Cristo arranges for signals to be changed at the Spain border.  These false changes tempt Danglars into making some seriously wrong investments; consequently, he is financially ruined.  When he has only fifty thousand francs left, Monte Cristo forgives him, but Danglars is completely shattered and in ruins.

M. de Villefort and pride in reputation

M. de Villefort is the Deputy Prosecutor who sends Dantes to prison.  His father M. de Noitier, who is a Bonapartist, was the adressee of a letter from the captain of the Pharaon. Because he wishes to retain his good reputation, deVillefort has Dantes, who has carried the letter of M. Noitier, put away. 

The Count of Monte Cristo wreaks revenge upon de Villefort by giving poison to Mme. de Villefort.  She poisons the maternal grandparents, but de Villefort does not want the police involved as this attention will be damaging to his reputation.  Later Mme. de Villefort uses her poison upon herself in order to avoid prosecution; she also gives her son Eduard poison. Later, it is revealed that de Villefort has a son by another woman, a son that he buried alive after he was born.  Of course, de Villefort as the powerful Deputy Minister of France is ruined by this revelation.

Ferdnand Montego and cupidity

Because Ferdnand is in love with Mercedes and jealous of Dantes, he mails the letter that accuses Dantes of being a Bonapartist conspirator.  After Dantes is imprisoned, Ferdinand joins the army and acquires wealth from betraying an ally, Ali Pasha, whose daughter, Haydee, he sells into slavery.  Afterwards, Ferdnand gives himself the title of Count de Morcerf. When the Count of Monte Cristo exposes him as a fraud, Mercedes and her son Albert leave their home.  The Count de Morcerf kills himself in the shame of losing his loved ones and his reputation.

Caderousse and greed

When the letter about Dantes is written, Gaspard Caderousee who is present, but he does nothing to help Dantes. Years later, after his escape, disguised as the Abbe Busoni, Dantes visits Caderousse, who now owns an inn.  Caderousse tells the priest the entire story and is rewarded with a hug diamond.  Later, Caderousse and his wife take the diamond to sell it, but they murder the jeweler who offers to buy it.  Years later, Caderousse comes to rob the home of the Count of Monte Cristo.  However, Dantes stops him, disguised again as the Abbe Busoni.  The "priest" releases Caderousse knowing full well that he will be murdered by his accomplice, Benetto. 





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