The Count of Monte Cristo

by: Alexandre Dumas

Important Quotations Explained

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[H]e felt he had passed beyond the bounds of vengeance, and that he could no longer say, “God is for and with me.”

This statement appears in Chapter 111, when Monte Cristo discovers that Edward de Villefort has been killed. Edward is the first innocent person whom Monte Cristo unwittingly strikes down, and this tragic injustice casts Monte Cristo’s entire project into doubt. Though he has already come close to killing the angelic Valentine and has destroyed the lives of the noble Mercédès and Albert, up to this point, Monte Cristo has not wreaked any irreversible harm on anyone unworthy of punishment. In a burst of clarity, Monte Cristo realizes that, as a mere mortal, he is not capable of doling out retribution in such a way as to ensure that no innocents are harmed. He is not omniscient or omnipotent and therefore cannot determine or control what unforeseen effects his actions might have. For the rest of the novel, Monte Cristo grapples with doubt, ultimately deciding that only God has the right to act in the name of Providence. In order to atone for “pass[ing] beyond the bounds of vengeance,” Monte Cristo attempts to help Valentine and Maximilian attain ultimate happiness.