the count of monte cristo

title: The Count of Monte Cristo

author: Alexandre Dumas with Auguste Maquet

genre: Fiction, revenge, chesspieces

dates read: July 10th – July 27th

review: 4.5 out of 5 stars

summary: Edmond Dantès has just come home from being at sea, during which the captain unexpectedly died and he has been chosen to take his place.  He has a few months before his next voyage and so plans on marrying his beautiful fiancee Mercédès.  Unfortunately, there are a two in Edmond’s life who are jealous of his successes: Danglars, who wishes to be captain, and Fernand, Mercédès’ cousin who believes he should wed her instead. Together they form a plan to bring him down, to which his bumbling neighbor Caderousse becomes an accomplice.  Because of their treachery (along with the deputy crown prosecutor Villefort) Edmond spends 14 years in prison, where he befriends Abbé Faria, a fellow prisoner who teaches him about the world.  After his escape, and because of a secret fortune the Abbé Faria revealed to him, Edmond makes a name for himself as the Count of Monte Cristo, the name of the island where he got his wealth.  Unknown to those who brought him down, he becomes close with each of their families and sets in motion plans to bring them each down.  He does also reward those who were faithful to him during his imprisonment, but most of his energy is spent on exacting revenge.

personal thoughts: This was so different from the movie, which I love.  But I also love the depth of this story.  I was unprepared for the length and was sometimes confused by the cast of characters since Dumas would sometimes refer to the person by their last name, their first name, a nickname, or their title.  It was difficult to always keep everyone straight.  Dumas would also go off the main story to talk about the other characters, sometimes their stories meandered, but they always seemed to weave back into the main plot.  Now I want to go back and re-watch the movie.

favorite quotes:
“‘We are always in a hurry to be happy, M. Danglars; for when we have suffered a long time, we have great difficulty in believing in good fortune.'” p. 14

“‘Man does not appear to me to be intended to enjoy felicity so unmixed; happiness is like the enchanted palaces we read of in our childhood, where fierce, fiery dragons defend the entrance and approach; and monsters of all shapes and kinds, requiring to be overcome ere victory is ours.'” p. 21

“in prosperity prayers seem but a mere medley of words, until misfortune comes and the unhappy sufferer first understands the meaning of the sublime language in which he invokes the pity of heaven!” p. 70

“‘if you visit to discover the author of any bad action, seek first to discover the person to whom the perpetration of that bad action could be in any way advantageous.'” p. 85

“‘to learn is not to know; there are the learners and the learned.  Memory makes the one, philosophy the other.'” p. 89

“what solitude is more complete, or more poetical, then that of a ship floating in isolation, on the sea during the obscurity of the night, in the silence of immensity, and under the eye of heaven?” p. 117

“‘when they had…passed the day in building castles in the air, they separated their flocks, and descended from the elevation of their dreams to the reality of their humble position.'” p 179

“‘For all evils there are two remedies – time and silence.'” p. 275

“love lends wings to our desires.” p. 477

“Joy to hearts which have suffered long is like the dew on the ground after a long drought; both the heart and the ground absorb that beneficent moisture falling on them, and nothing is outwardly apparent.” p. 541

“‘Needless delays but increase the grief of parting.'” p. 634


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