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The Count of Monte Cristo Background
Transcript of The Count of Monte Cristo Background
Setting of Novel:
The Chateau d'If
Built as a fortress by King Frances I during the 1500s to protect France from sea attacks
Surrounded by water
Used as a prison from 1580-1871
Cell within the prison
Second largest city in France after Paris
Currently has close to 1.6 million people living there
Made famous by the novel
Edmond Dantes's hometown
The main character (protagonist)
Framed for a crime he did not commit
Sentenced to spend life in prison
Escapes from prison after 13 years
Turns from an honest and loving person into a bitter, vengeful man; eventually makes peace with himself
After his escape, he becomes the Count of Monte Cristo
An Italian priest who becomes like a second father to Edmond
Helps Edmond understand why he is in prison
Teaches Edmond many different languages, science, math, and history
Has a vast fortune, which he plans to split with Edmond after they are able to escape prison together
Doesn't want Edmond to seek vengeance for his suffering; tells him, "Vengeance is a poison that will eat you alive."
About to marry Edmond when he is arrested
Marries Fernand Mondego, who is supposed to be Edmond's friend, while Edmond is in prison
Never finds out what truly happened to Edmond; continues to love him into her old age
Real-Life False Imprisonment
In November 1979, Houston resident Cornelius Dupree, Jr was convicted of vehicle robbery and was charged with the related rape of the 26-year-old owner of the vehicle.
Spent 30 years in jail for the robbery
Released in July 2010 after DNA testing excluded him from being a possible suspect in the crimes
Court ruled that he was entitled to $80,000 per year in prison ($2.4 million) plus a lifetime annuity
What if that were you?
Would you seek revenge for the time taken away from your life?
Dantes's competition for Mercedes' love
Has a part in Edmond's framing/imprisonment
Marries Mercedes and is later named the Count of Morcerf
Becomes very wealthy and powerful
The first to feel the revenge of the Count (Dantes)
Hatches the idea to frame Edmond so that he can get the promotion he feels he deserves (instead of Edmond)
Danglar, like Mondego, becomes very wealthy and powerful
Edmond ultimately spares his life
Gerard de Villefort
The son of a Napolean follower who doesn't want anybody to know (the main reason he does what he does with Edmond's "treasonous" letter)
Judges Edmond's crimes and determines that innocent Edmond is guilty to avoid his own exposure; sentences Edmond to life in prison
Alexandre Dumas was born July 24, 1802 as the third child of a French revolutionary general.
He took part in the revolution in 1830 that placed the Duc d’Orleans on the French throne, as King Louis Philippe.
He wrote hugely successful plays and produced many travel books of his journeys throughout Switzerland and Italy.
During the 1840’s, he wrote a series of romanticized historical novels designed to teach French history. Some of those novels were The Three Musketeers, The Man in the Iron Mask, and The Count of Monte Cristo.
In his lifetime, he wrote over 300 volumes of work, including plays and novels.
He married two of his mistresses and had two children, one from each mistress.
He died on Dec. 5, 1870 of a stroke.
In April of 1814, Napoleon abdicated the throne and was exiled to the island of Elba.
Louis XVIII ascended to the French throne, restoring the Bourbon dynasty and bringing about the First Restoration.
Napoleon remained on Elba for only ten months, when he escaped and landed with 1,100 men near Cannes on March 1, 1815.
Napoleon crossed the Alps and marched on Paris where Louis XVIII fled.
However, Napoleon was defeated in battle by the British general, Wellington, at the Battle of Waterloo in June of 1815. Napoleon was only in power for 100 days.
He was sent into exile to the Island of St. Helena where he died six years later.
Louis XVIII returned to the French throne, known as the Second Restoration and persecuted those who had helped Napoleon during his return.
Inspiration for the Story
Dumas found a memoir written by a Jacques Peuchet which related the story of a shoemaker named Francois Picaud.
Picaud was living in Paris in 1807 and engaged to marry a rich woman.
Four jealous friends falsely accused him of being a spy for England.
He was imprisoned for seven years, during which a dying fellow prisoner bequeathed him a treasure hidden in Milan.
When Picaud was released in 1814, he took possession of the treasure, returned to Paris under another name, and spent ten years plotting successful revenge against his former friends.
After he had gained all of his revenge, he was taken prisoner by a former friend and forced to pay 25,000 francs for each meal.
However, the kidnapper ended up going into a rage and beating Francois by strangling him, stabbing his eyes with a knife, and cutting open his chest.