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The Count of Monte Cristo

by Alexandre Dumas père
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What are Valentine's and Eugiene's character foils in The Count of Monte Cristo?

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Both Eugénie and Valentine yearn for the freedom to choose how they live their own lives, yet each woman attempts to achieve this goal in a different way. The obedient Valentine shuns the notion of opposing her father’s will, and it takes a great amount of persuasion on Maximilian’s part to convince her to run away with him. In fact, the only reason Valentine ultimately manages to marry Maxililian is due to interference on their behalves by others rather than her own actions. Eugénie, contrarily, is perfectly willing to stand up to her father. She shows no hesitation as she prepares to run away with Louise d’Armilly, excited by the prospect of finding her own way through Europe and making a name for herself as an artist. While the "feminine" Valentine lives life passively, depending upon other people to help her overcome any obstacles, "masculine" Eugénie actively shapes her own destiny.


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