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The Count of Monte Cristo

by Alexandre Dumas père

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Which three adjectives best describe Edmond Dantes's personality in The Count of Monte Cristo?

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A complex character of Alexandre Dumas's tale of revenge and redemption, Edmund Dantes exhibits certain saliet traits:


In the opening chapters of The Count of Monte Cristo, Edmund Dantes is certainly an ingenuous young man.  Ever the dutiful frst mate, Edmund, who knows nothing of the political world of his time, delivers the letter from Captain Leclerc to Elba where the banished emperor, Napolen, resides.  After he must bring the ship to port when the captain dies, Edmund does not notice the looks of hatred that Danglars casts his way.  Then, at his wedding feast, Edmund innocently acknowledges his good fortune in possessing the love of the beautiful Mercedes as he sits with Ferdinand, Danglars, and Caderousse present.


After Edmund Dantes effects his escape and learns of how Monsieur Morrel aided his poor father, he comes to the aid of the shipowner upon learning that all but one of his merchant ships have sunk.  By leaving the red purse with money for M. Morrel, the purse which Morrel himself has filled for M. Dantes in his impoverishment and misery while his son has been condemned to prison.  Using the pseudonym of "Sinbad the Sailor," Dantes staves off M. Morrel's suicide.  Later, Dantes comes to the aid of Morrel's son, Maximilian by saving the life of his beloved, Valentine deVillefort and by uniting the two lovers, redeeming them both from despair.


Exploiting the vices and weaknesses of his enemies, Dantes systematically and most cleverly wreaks revenge upon the enemies who have sent him unjustly to prison.  For instance, in order to destroy the prosecutor Dantes fabricates the character of the Count of Calvacanti, who woos de Villefort's daughter to the delight of the avaricious Prosecutor who sees the match as a profitable one.  However, Calvacanti (Benedetto) is no Italian noble.  When this is exposed, de Villefort, unsuspectingly demands justice and puts the young man on trial.  During this trial, however, it is revelaed that the former criminal had witnessed years ago de Villefort's burial of his illegitimate child.  When this information is revealed in court, de Villefort's reputation as a man of honor is destroyed and he later goes insane.

PROVIDENTIAL (tied to the above adjective INGENIOUS)

In an intimate conversation with de Villefort in Chapter 49, the Count of Monte Cristo reveals

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.

Not only does Monte Cristo create ingenious plots, but he feels that he is the "Paraclete" who wreaks "an eye for an eye" and rewards the just.  However, although Monte Cristo commits the sin of pride in feeling that he is an agent of Providence, he does achieve redemption in the end of the novel.  In a letter to Maxmilian:

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.... 


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