Book Review: The Count of Monte Cristo
Josh Billings, a well-known American humorist, said, “There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness.” Alexandre Dumas poignantly illustrates Billings’ observation in the novel, “The Count of Monte Cristo.”
In “The Count of Monte Cristo,” Edmond Dantes is a young French sailor recently promoted to captain. He is engaged to a beautiful woman and seemingly has the world at his feet. But he is framed and betrayed by a friend and a co-worker, who denounces him as a Bonapartist. The great general was in exile at the time, and as a result, Dantes is thrown into one of France’s worst prisons.
Dantes' escapes from prison and vows to seek revenge on those responsible for his wrongful imprisonment. He stumbles upon an enormous amount of wealth, and with his newfound wealth and power, creates a detailed plan to make those who betrayed him experience the hell he had lived through.
Dantes is a frightening example of a man motivated by horrible suffering determined to get revenge. In prison Dantes wrestled with the existence of God through his suffering. Now free, he is convinced that he is God’s agent, destined to bring judgment on those who had have wronged him.
Despite his resolve to bring punishment, the situation of his foes becomes increasingly complicated, and he struggles to justify his self-appointment as executor of divine judgment.
Not until Dantes shows mercy and begins to forgive does his desire for revenge fade and his will to live without revenge resurface.
The story is a grand tale of love, hatred, revenge and forgiveness. Dumas is a master of description, making 19th century France come alive in all its raw beauty. Constant action and strong character development grab the reader’s attention and pull them headlong into the story.