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Revenge in The Count of Monte Cristo
Transcript of Revenge in The Count of Monte Cristo
Originally a tailor from Marseille, Caderousse was a neighbor and acquaintance of Dantes. However, having grown jealous of Dantes new found success in life, he along with Mondego and Danglars hatches the plan to frame Dantes as a Bonapartist. However, unlike the others he very shortly begins to feel regret and it is only because he is intimidated by his two fellow conspirators that he keeps silent when Dantes is arrested.
Unlike his fellow conspirators, Caderousse does not prosper in the years after Dantes imprisonment, and when the count finds him, he is an impoverished inkeeper.
Before his imprisonment, Mondego had been a rival to Dantes for the affection for Mercedes. It was this rivalry and his impetuous nature that caused Mondego to go along with the conspiracy against Dantes. With his rival imprisoned for life (as far as anyone knew) Mondego was free to pursue Mercedes, eventually wooing and marrying her.
By the time the count speaks to Caderousse, Mondego has become a successfull General as well as a wealthy French Count, married to Mercedes and with a young son.
Gerard de Villefort
Of the four men responsible for Dantes imprisonment, Villefort is the only one not apart of the original conspiracy. Rather, he was the royal prosecutor stationed in Marseille at the time. Although he was inclined to believe Dantes story of his innocence (and subsequently to release him) a quirk of fate scuttles these plans. After learning that Dantes wasn't trusted with a letter by his late captain which was being sent by Napoleon himself to a supporter in France, Villefort is horrified to discovered that the intended recipient is his own father. To ensure the truth never emerges he has Dantes labeled a dangerous criminal and sentences him to life imprisonment in an offshore prison fortress.
When Dante escapes from prison, Villefort has now become the chief prosecutor of the French royal government, and is residing in Paris with his family.
At its core, ' The Count of Monte Cristo' is a tale of revenge. This however does not do justice to what is arguably the greatest tale of vengeance ever written bar none.
In this presentation, we will examine the path to vengeance that Edmond Dantes took with regards to his four betrayers.
Given that Caderousse is the most morally ambiguous (with regards to Dantes arrest) the count chooses to pump him for information on the nature of Dantes arrest. Caderousse then fills him in on the details of the crime and the eventual fate of both the perpetraitors and the other people in dantes life (of whom he was a mutual acquaintance).
The count proceeds to reward Caderousse (ostensibly presenting "The Late" Dantes last will and testament) with a large diamond, worth some 50,000 francs. However, this is not so much a reward, as a test. While Caderousse did betray Dantes and could potentially have saved him from imprisonment, he did express regret over his actions. As such, the count has decided to give Caderousse the benefit of the doubt and to see what he does with it.
Caderousse proceeds to find a buyer for the diamond. However, his greedy nature asserts itself and he proceeds to murder the buyer so that he may keep both the money and the diamond. After being arrested for this crime, he is eventually helped to escape by the count (Albeit as a part of the counts greater plan).
The count then positions Caderousse in such a way that he may have one final chance at redemption. A chance he squanders when he reverts to a life of crime.
After attempting to rob the counts home in Paris, Caderousse is stabbed by his accomplice Benedetto. The count then brings the dying Caderousse into his home and explains to him that he has been given multiple chances to redeem himself from a life of inequity (Being given the diamond, being released from prison)
Just before Caderousses death, the count reveals his identity as Dantes, causing the dying thief to exclaim in anguish before passing on. This concludes the life of the most ambiguous of Dantes betrayers. Because he showed regret, the count was willing to offer him a second chance (and indeed a third) but given that he squandered both, Dantes is not overly troubled by Caderousses death (which although he did not cause, the count could arguably be seen as having indirectly contributed to it.
The count, having arranged for an attack on and the rescue of Mondegos son, is welcomed into Parisian high society in which he quickly becomes a celebrated fixture.
The count then proceeds to leak information to the French press that Mondego acquired his fortune years previously when he betrayed the celebrated Albanian nationalist leader, Ali Tebelen, to the Turks which resulted in his murder and the crushing of his resistance movement (all of which scandalised liberal western Europe).
Upon these accusations Mondego is brought before the french government for a hearing which he remains confident will exonerate him.
It appears that Mondego will be able to defeat the charges against him when count plays his trump card. The slave girl Haydee (whom the count had freed from slavery after purchasing her years before) steps forward to testify. As it turns out, she is infact the daughter of Ali Tebelen and was sold into slavery alongside her mother after the betrayal of her father to the Turks by Mondego.
These revelations serve to incriminate Mondego who them flees from the scene. He arrives home to find that his family members have already heard the news. Confronted with the fact that his wife loathes him and that his son disowned him, as well as the fact that he will shortly be disgraced he chooses suicide as an escape.
After Mondegos death, his wife and son flee to the South of France. from here his son decides to enlist in the French army currently serving in Africa under an assumed name. In this way, he hopes to win honour for himself and to become his own man, and thereby escape his fathers shadow.
Mercedes chooses a solitary life in Marseille in penance for having married Mondego and having abandoned the memory of Dantes.
This result is acceptable to the count. While he bore no ill will to either Mondegos wife or son, he was set upon his revenge no matter the cost. The fact that neither was harmed and that both found a measure of peace after Mondegos death helped to assuage any guilt the count may have felt
The revenge planned by the count Villefort is easily the most convoluted and complex in the novel, and quite possibly the history of literature.
Years prior to the counts arrival in Paris, Villefort had carried on an affair with the wife of Baron Danglers. From this union a child was born whom both parents believed to be stillborn. Wrapping the supposedly dead infant in a scarf barring the sigil of Madame Danglers family, Villefort attempted to bury the child in the gardens, but was prevented from doing so when attacked by an old enemy. Thinking he had succeeded in killing Villefort, the man seized the box he had been carrying only to discover a living infant inside. Out of a sense of guilt, the man proceeded to raise the child as his own.
This act of kindness was not repaid as the child grew into wicked thief and eventually a murderer. After running away from home, the child now known as Benedetto ended up on a prison galley. It was from here that he was liberated by the count, given a new identity as a wealthy Italian noble, and subsequently introduced into Parisian society.
The young Benedetto quickly becomes the life of the Parisian party circuit and is relatively short engaged to the daughter of baron danglers. However, his domestic bliss is threatened by a link to the past 'Caderousse' having discovered Benedettos new life, he attempts to blackmail the young man and for his trouble ends up murdered by Benedetto.
When the count tips off the Parisian police force to the identity of Cadarousses murderer Benedetto is forced to flee. He is then captured shortly thereafter and put on a trial. When asked to explain himself, he blames his traumatic childhood and as proof of his story, produces the scarf in which he was wrapped as an infant, shocking the courtroom and causing Madame Dangler to faint. He goes further by naming Villefort himself as his father causing a scene of near anarchy.
Villefort returns home shaken to the core and determines that leaving the country is the only option. However he is horrified to discover that his wife (who he had earlier discovered had been poisoning the wealthy family members of his previous marriage so that her own child would inherit his fortune) had killed both herself, and their young son, causing him to loose what was left of his tenuous grip on sanity.
While the count had felt some reservations up to this point, this is the first time that he is genuinely horrified by the results of his actions. While he himself had subtly encouraged Madame Villefort in her poisonous ways, this was to serve a larger purpose and was not intended to cause the death of any innocence. Not only did Madame Villefort kill herself which was entirely unintended by the count, but unwilling to "abandon" her son she likewise poisoned the child
While the count had not been above manipulating individuals unconnected to his imprisonment in pursuit of his vengeance, most of these were morally ambiguous individuals and he generally refrained from actually harming them. In this case, not only has death occurred, but the victim was a ten year old child who could not be anything but innocent.
While the count never expresses outright regret for what he has done to Villefort, he is genuinely racked by guilt for what happened to his wife and son. It is these events which in some way work to midigate its final act of vengeance.
By manipulating financial markets and the flow of information the Count manages to inflict millions of francs in losses upon Danglers. As such not only is Danglers own fortune destroyed, but as a banker, he is forced to default on his depositors and thus becomes an outlaw much in the same way Dantes was.
To add insult injury, by encouraging Danglers to engage his daughter to Benedeto, the entire family is massively embarrassed in front of the cream of high society when the police arrive to arrest Benedeto. In the chaos that follows, his daughter escapes from the family home and elopes for Italy with her female lover.
In the end result, Danglers is left with only the money he is able to embezzle from his own bank and is left in disgrace. From here he flees to Italy, in hopes of leaving his bad fortune and ignominy behind.
Danglers was the ships accountant on Dantes last voyage, and grew to resent Dantes for the obvious favor the captain showed him as well as for the admiration the men had for him. Likewise, the fact that Dantes had been named as the new captain of the ship by Mr. Morrel was too great an insult for Danglers to stand.
Of all the conspirators involved in Dantes imprisonment, Danglers is arguably the most responsible, having hatched the initial plan as well as encouraging his compatriots to carry it out.
When Dantes emerges from prison, Danglers has become not only fantastically rich from his dubious business dealings, but he has also been made Barron and is held in high esteem by Parisian society. As such it appears to Dantes that the guilt of Danglers has been proportional to the success that he has enjoyed in life and thus sets out to destroy him.
While not necessarily as unbelievably convoluted as his revenge upon Villefort, The counts plot for vengeance against Danglers is by far the widest ranging.
Knowing that Danglers is a banker, as well as an exceptionally greedy individual, Dantes inserts himself into the confidence of Danglers and his business interests. In this way, he discovers the most sensitive business secrets of the baron.
Likewise, the count maneuvers Benedeto into the confidence and friendship of Dangers. Convincing Danglers that Benedeto is as young man of high social standing and considerable wealth, he manipulates him into breaking off his daughters engagement with Mondego's son in favor of Benedeto.
Danglers arrives in Italy, thinking he has left his misfortune behind, but this is not the case. Danglers is captured by the famous Italian bandit, Luigi Vampa. Danglers is help captive in a cell deep inside Vampa's subterranean lair, where he finds himself slowly starving. The bandits offer to sell him food but at exorbitant prices (several thousand francs for a loaf of bread for example).
While Danglers holds out at first, eventually starvation gets the best of him and over the succeeding days he spends most of his fortune on sustenance. When Danglers fortune is all but exhausted and he seems resigned to death, he is released and presented to his "friend" the Count Monte Cristo much to Danglers confusion. It is then the count reveals his true identity as the man Danglers wronged so many years ago Danglers is abjectly horrified expecting a horrible end. However, the count orders his release and ultimately spares Danglers life. Danglers is left free to wander Italy with only a small sum of money left, his life's work effectively erased.
While it was Danglers whom count hated most of all, he is ultimately moved to if not pity, then mercy. Having inadvertently caused the death of Villeforts young son, the counts thirst for vengeance seems to be quenched, and he has no thirst for further blood.
By tracing the evolution of the counts vengeance, we are able to observe not only plot development, but also the counts own character development
While the count took care of all his "good deeds" before embarking on his revenge, he begins with the most ambiguous villain, Caderousse, who may still have a chance at redemption.
He then moves onto the unambiguous villains, starting with Mondego, who he exacts a heavy toll from. He does likewise with villefort, but is horrified by the unintended consequences of his actions.
While he does not seem as set on revenge after this, the fact Danglers is the most guilty demands justice. However this is tinged with mercy as the count has decided to focus more on the good that he can do with his great wealth and power (assisting Maximilian and Valentine, as well as Haydee).