What is textual evidence from The Count of Monte Cristo that identifies his personal view on revenge?

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Edmund Dantès wants revenge. Why wouldn’t he? He was abused, stabbed in the back by his friends and coworkers, and sent to die in a terrible prison on a rock in the ocean. He is angry, and he has good reason to be—but how does he feel about revenge?

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Edmund Dantès wants revenge. Why wouldn’t he? He was abused, stabbed in the back by his friends and coworkers, and sent to die in a terrible prison on a rock in the ocean. He is angry, and he has good reason to be—but how does he feel about revenge?

At the start of the novel, it is unlikely that Dantès would have considered revenge a proper course of action, but by the time he becomes the Count of Monte Cristo, he sees himself as an agent of God’s vengeance—almost equal to God in the ability to judge people.

In chapter 35, the Count explains,

Oh, yes, indeed, I should fight a duel for any of these things; but in return for a slow, deep, infinite, eternal pain, I should return as nearly as possible a pain equivalent to the one inflicted on me. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, as they say in the East, those men who are the elect of creation, and who have learnt to make a life of dreams and paradise a reality.

His idea or revenge is modeled after the Old Testament, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. He will harm all the men who did evil to him. His enemies killed Edmund Dantès, and as a result, they should die—or, at least, their lives should be lived in pain and regret. His idea of revenge revolves around the idea that those he is exacting revenge against earned it.

He takes revenge against everyone who harmed him and even some of their families and children, and in chapter 90, he lets us know how he sees his role in vengeance:

. . . as much for thy honor as for mine. I have during ten years considered myself the agent of thy vengeance, and other wretches, like Morcerf, Danglars, Villefort, even Morcerf himself, must not imagine that chance has freed them from their enemy. Let them know, on the contrary, that their punishment, which had been decreed by providence, is only delayed by my present determination, and although they escape it in this world, it awaits them in another, and that they are only exchanging time for eternity.

The Count sees his actions against his enemies as something ordained by God: as providence. It is his belief in pre-ordained fate that allows him to feel no guilt from what he does. It isn’t until the death of Edward, a young child, that he doubts he is divinely mandated,

He felt he had passed beyond the bounds of vengeance, and that he could no longer say, “God is for and with me.” (Chapter 111)

It is that doubt that eventually develops into his change of heart. He is no longer sure that God ordained his quest for vengeance, and he considers that perhaps he has gone a step too far. That doubt later develops into his rejection of final revenge, and instead, he finds himself trusting Providence rather than himself at the end of the book. He no longer sees himself as the agent of God’s vengeance. Instead, people must trust that God will work things out. He ends the book by saying,

Until the day when God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words,—“Wait and hope.” (Chapter 117)

Humans must wait and hope, even those who are hell-bent on vengeance because, in the end, the Count learns that nothing is guaranteed, and he cannot exact revenge but needs to wait and hope for something better.

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