The Count of Monte Cristo

by: Alexandre Dumas

Chapters 15–20

Summary Chapters 15–20

Dumas compares Dantès’s imprisonment to death, which casts Dantès’s later actions and circumstances as a rebirth or resurrection. In Chapter 14, the narrator tells us that Dantès “looked upon himself as dead,” while in Chapter 17, Dantès himself refers to prison as “a living grave.” This morbid language signifies a metaphorical death: the happy, innocent Dantès of the early chapters dies and is replaced by the vengeful, bitter man of the remainder of the novel. This death is not merely one of innocence, but perhaps also one of humanity. The Dantès who emerges from prison is not simply vengeful: he is nearly superhuman in his mental and physical capabilities, while subhuman in his emotional capacity. He is something both greater and less than a human being.