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.