The Count of Monte Cristo

by: Alexandre Dumas

Key Facts

full title  · The Count of Monte Cristo (Le Comte de Monte-Cristo, in the original French)

author  · Alexandre Dumas

type of work  · Novel

genre  · Adventure; Romantic novel; moralistic tale

language  · French

time and place written  · 1844, France

date of first publication  · Published serially from August 1844 until January 1846

publisher  · Le Journal des Débats

narrator  · The novel is narrated by an anonymous voice.

point of view  · The narrator speaks in the third person, focusing almost entirely on outward action and behavior rather than delving into the psychological realities of the characters.

tone  · The narrator is detached from the story, relating the events as they happen.

tense  · Present

setting (time)  · The novel takes place during the years following the fall of Napoleon’s empire. The story begins in 1815 and ends in 1844.

setting (place)  · Though most of the action takes place in Paris, key scenes are also set in Marseilles, Rome, Monte Cristo, Greece, and Constantinople.

protagonist  · Edmond Dantès

major conflict  · Unjustly imprisoned, Dantès’s seeks to punish those responsible for his incarceration; as the vengeful Count of Monte Cristo, he struggles to transcend his human nature and act as an agent of divine retribution.

rising action · In prison, Dantès meets Abbé Faria, who unravels the mystery of Dantès’s downfall; Dantès vows to spend his fortune on an obsessive quest to reward those who have been kind to him and to punish those who have harmed him; Dantès visits Caderousse and confirms the details of the events leading up to his incarceration; Dantès eases himself into the lives of those responsible for his time in prison.

climax · Dantès slowly brings complete devastation upon Caderousse, Fernand, Villefort, and Danglars.

falling action  · Dantès enables the blissful union of Maximilian Morrel and Val-entine Villefort; Dantès finally opens himself to emotions other than gratitude and vengeance and admits his love for Haydée.

themes  · The limits of human justice; relative versus absolute happiness; love versus alienation

motifs  · Names; suicide; politics

symbols  · The sea; the red silk purse; the elixir

foreshadowing  · Abbé Faria’s apology to Dantès; the painting of Mercédès looking out to sea suggests her undying love for Dantès.


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