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The Count of Monte Cristo

by Alexandre Dumas père

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Why is Dantès alone and condemned to silence at the beginning of The Count of Monte Cristo?

Quick answer:

In The Count of Monte Cristo, Dantès ends up alone and condemned to silence because he is falsely accused of aiding Napoleon Bonaparte and is sent to prison, where he endures solitary confinement.

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At the beginning of The Count of Monte Cristo, Edmond Dantès actually thinks that he has everything going for him. He has taken over the Pharaon when the captain dies and brings the ship safely to the end of its journey. He is engaged to marry his beloved. Yet Edmond is really far more alone in the world than he realizes—he is surrounded by enemies.

One man, M. Danglars, is jealous of Edmond's success. Another, Fernand Mondego, wants to marry Edmond's betrothed. Together, they write a letter accusing Edmond of trying to help the exiled Napoleon Bonaparte. Edmond is arrested, convicted (with the aid of the corrupt attorney M. Villefort), sent to prison (solitary confinement at that), and forgotten. He is all alone, and he is silenced.

Edmond remains in prison for fourteen years, but it turns out that he is not as alone as he first thinks. A man named Abbé Faria is in the next cell, and the two manage to connect. Faria teaches Edmond many things, and when Faria dies, Edmond switches places with his friend's body and manages to escape the prison. He then sets out on his quest for revenge, finding treasure, planning long and carefully, assuming many identities, and finally ruining the men who ruined him.

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