The Count of Monte Cristo Plot Analysis | Shmoop - Deepstash
The Count of Monte Cristo Plot Analysis | Shmoop

The Count of Monte Cristo Plot Analysis | Shmoop

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The Count of Monte Cristo Plot Analysis | Shmoop

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The Count of Monte Cristo By Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas (1802 – 1870), also known as Alexandre Dumas père (where père is French for 'father', to distinguish him from his son Alexandre Dumas fils), was a French writer. His works have been translated into many languages and he is one of the most widely read French authors. Many of his historical novels of high adventure were originally published as serials, including The Count of Monte Cristo. (Wikipedia)

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Initial Situation

Edmond Dantès is young, handsome and talented. Back home from a long voyage, he's set to become captain and marry his beautiful fiancée Mercédès.

Edmond's really got everything going for him at this point. All he wants to do is serve his boss, respect his father, and love his soon-to-be wife. He's happy, and he has no idea that anybody might be conspiring against him.

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Conflict

Danglars and Fernand – jealous of his success in business and love, respectively – conspire to get Edmond jailed for a crime he didn't commit – or, rather, one he didn't realize he was committing. Their scheme succeeds when Villefort, the assistant crown prosecutor, realizes he can further his career by playing along. Edmond is left to rot in jail.

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Complication

Edmond is driven mad – and nearly to the point of suicide – while in jail, but is saved thanks to a visit from his "next-door neighbor," Abbé Faria. With the Abbé's help, Edmond learns an incredible amount about pretty much everything, including how to find a huge amount of treasure on a desert island. Then he escapes.

This whole sequence of events really changes the game. Not only does Edmond get out of jail, he gets limitless resources and a whole new identity as the Count of Monte Cristo. It's the beginning of a whole new narrative.

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Climax and Suspense

The Count of Monte Cristo is a study in suspense. From the moment Edmond gets out of jail, we're primed for some serious action, but it never comes. Even when his adversaries, the men he has sworn get revenge on, begin to die or go mad, we don't really feel great about it. The Count has spent so much time planning that, by the time he gets around to executing his plans, he's come to understand that something's seriously wrong…which brings us to the next stage.

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Denouement

After his intervention in the de Villefort poisoning case leads Héloïse de Villefort to kill both herself and her son Edward, the Count realizes that maybe he's taken things a little too far. His attempts to save Edward fail, and he's thrown into a crisis of conscience. He subsequently allows Danglars to escape from Luigi Vampa with his life, though not before taking every last penny.

The de Villefort incident disturbs the Count's plan and signals a great, if late, shift in the narrative, casting Monte Cristo's whole plan into a new and disturbing light.

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Conclusion

Monte Cristo convinces the suicidal Maximilian Morrel to put off ending his life. At book's end he reveals that Maximilian's lover, Valentine de Villefort is actually alive. Morrel is overjoyed, and the Count sails off into the sunset.

Here, the Count is finally able to do something positive, to bring somebody "back to life," instead of driving them to suicide or madness. Leaving behind Valentine and Maximilian, he sets out to start fresh.

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Alexandre Dumas Quote

“All human wisdom is contained in these two words - Wait and Hope”

-Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

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