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AE Book Club - The Count of Monte Cristo

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  Quote Dawn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: AE Book Club - The Count of Monte Cristo
    Posted: 16-Dec-2004 at 14:28

 

There is neither happiness nor misfortune in this world. There is merely the comparison between one state and another, nothing more. Only someone who has suffered the deepest misfortune is capable of experiencing the highs of felicity. You must need have wished to die, to know how good it is to live.

Alexander Dumas

Although it is one day early, I thought I would start the thread.  Pretty much sums up the book for me.

 

 

 

 

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  Quote vagabond Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Dec-2004 at 03:00

Good start!

I've actually finished (earlier than July 2006).  Loved it - again.  Edmond is such a contradictory character, so conflicted - kind, noble, humble, yet overbearing, imperious, and possessed by such hatred that it doesn't matter who gets in the way of his revenge.  He destroys lives as easily and as arbitrarily as his own was destroyed - and with perhaps less remorse?  I think that Abbe Faria would have been horrified to see how Dantes turned out.

At the same time - I was again disappointed with the result in the punishment of Danglars.  I wanted more revenge...

In the time of your life, live - so that in that wonderous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it. (Saroyan)
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  Quote Winterhaze13 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Dec-2004 at 11:03

Edmond is a conflicted character, we see both a vindictive side of him that really wants revenge then he considers his Religion. At the end he learns that Villefort's children have been poisoned by his wife he feels great remorse for afflicted his revenge on him at that time. He feels that the extent of the punishment was to harsh.

Also, I feel Danglars was the most ruthless villein in the story. He was the one who was most responsible for sending Edmond to jail and he valued money over his family if I am not mistaken. Lastly, I would have liked to see Danglars killed. Caderousse probably had the cruelest death.



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  Quote Dawn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Dec-2004 at 10:58
To many there are worse things than death. But in the case of Danglars I thik he was left with far to much. All his money should have been taken and he sould have been left in a hard forign city with nothing. One of the most complete revenges was that of Villefort.  They only way it could of been better is if he was accused of insanaty but wasn't. To be aware of the world around you but not to be able to effect it would be a great punishment for someone like him. The true art of revenge is to make the punishment fit to the person in question and make the suffering long.  
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  Quote Winterhaze13 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Dec-2004 at 19:45
I'd like to explore the main themes of the book. I think the main notion behind this story is that human beings are jealous-driven. If you are successful there will be many people who are prepared to take what you have, it can even be your closest friends. Also, I think after Edmond's escape he was primarily driven by his pride in the sense that he felt like he could not live with seeing his enemies happy and set out to destroy that in a vindictive fashion.
Indeed, history is nothing more than a tableau of crimes and misfortunes.

-- Voltaire
French author, humanist, rationalist, & satirist (1694 - 1778)
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  Quote Winterhaze13 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Dec-2004 at 19:50

"All human wisdom is summed up in two words wait and hope."

- Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870)
Known as Dumas pre French novelist & playwright.

This is the last line of the film. I feel that it describes what Dumas' intentions might have been when writting this book. I think what he was trying to put forth was that life is not predetermined or under our control. Therefore, all we can do is wait and hope.



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Indeed, history is nothing more than a tableau of crimes and misfortunes.

-- Voltaire
French author, humanist, rationalist, & satirist (1694 - 1778)
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  Quote Dawn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Dec-2004 at 12:50

love that quote. considered opening the thread with it.

 

How do you think alex's written reflects the times it was written in?

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  Quote vagabond Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Dec-2004 at 15:36

I think Dumas uses his period very wel - it's a study in the events of France throught the 19th cent.  The various intrigues, court politics, revolution and counterrevolution - but all skillfully related through the eyes of participants who were at best chance players - the small people who are affected by history but do not influence it.  He has captured these characters and their knowledge of great events, each through the lense of their own self interest quite well.  The book does not discuss The Hunderd Days, the exile of Napolean, or any of the other events except as they relate to the characters, a perspective I really enjoy. Too many authors lose their story and characters in trying to tell us everything about the events surrounding the story.

His ultimate theme could be argued (here we go).  It is, of course, a clear discussion of the balance between good and evil.  Evil not in the grand scheme of things, but evil perpetrated by jealousy (Fernand), greed (Danglars), self interest (Villefort) and in some cases simply denial and the failure to act (initially Caderousse, later on many family members of the bad guys who turn a blind eye to what the people they think they love are really doing and what they are really like).  It would be easy to say that his focus is revenge but I think that redemption is perhaps another possibility.  Several of the characters are given chances at edemption - admitting that they have wronged someone and making amends.  Almost all fail to do so, and the results are disastrous for them.  Even Edmond is seeking redemption - seeking a way to fulfill his promises to the Abbe that he willl not waste his life and his fortune on revenge alone, but do something good with it.  His is a constant balance between his desire for revenge and his good works to try and balance his need for justice.

On a weird note - is there a strange sub text in the relationship between Eugenie and Louise - and does Andrea fit into that subtext quite well?  In his first description of Eugenie (Robert le Diable) Dumas describes her face as "little in accordance with the gentler attributes of her sex" with an "almost masculine look" and her attainments "too erudite and masculine." Later in the book - (just prior to the Contract,) her direct and very atypical conversation with her father picks up this thread again.  Her departure with Louise is the most telling - there are several lines that carry this about as far as could be done in Dumas' time. 

"The door is locked." 
"They may tell us to open it."
" ...but we will not." 
"You are a perfect Amazon, Eugenie!"  ... 
" ... with a prompitude which indicated this was not the first time she amused herself by adopting the garb of the opposite sex,  ... " 
after she cuts her hair
"...and do you not think me handsomer so?" 
"Oh, You are beautiful - always beautiful!"

... "M. Danglars had lost a daughter."  

In more ways than one, it seems.   

Then they go off to spend the night in bed together - the only scene in the book where anyone actually shares a bed IIRC. 

If the marriage had gone through, they might have been a good pair in any case.  When Andrea shows up to sign the (never to be completed) wedding contract - he is accompanied by a "friend?"
"Andrea, on whose arm hung one of the most consummate dandies of the opera..."

Hmmm    In some ways - perhaps Dumas' work is a better reflection of the period than I ever noticed before.

In the time of your life, live - so that in that wonderous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it. (Saroyan)
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  Quote vagabond Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jan-2005 at 01:43

Was looking at Edmond again - at some points he sees himself as the "Hand of God" dispensing justice for past wrongs - does he ever really see (before the final chapter)  that he is himself being taught redemption?

There are only  a few places (some mentioned by others above) where he shows any sense of responsibility for his actions which affect the lives of so many innocents. (when Albert and his mother leave Paris, when the villefort's child is killed... )  IN order to remain the "Avenging Angel" should he not feel more remorse for his own actions?

There is, throughout, a strong presentation of right and wrong.  How strong do you feel the religious overtones in the book are - and is the theology presented here more a reflection of church teachings or of the popular 19th century French culture?

In the time of your life, live - so that in that wonderous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it. (Saroyan)
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Feb-2005 at 00:18
IMHO, it is always nobler to give up avenging/ to forgive those who had once done harm to the victim than to pursue them to the end and take complete revenge. Besides, Edmond might find finally that it was less important or meaningful to continue the infliction any more. He was in nature/ at the bottom a kind person anyway. well, yes, I agreed that he was apparently merciless when he started his plan for revenge.

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  Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Apr-2005 at 10:34

It is one of the best books I have ever read...

And it gave me the perfect backrground of the feelings in Paris at that time...

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  Quote poirot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-May-2005 at 14:20
I read the Count of Monte Cristo the summer I finished eigth grade.  Fabulous read.  Took over 1000 pages but well worth the thrill.  That and Les Miserables.  I thought it was better than the Three Musketeers.  Perhaps Dumas' masterpiece.  Although I must confess it did verge on the fantastic. 
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  Quote snowybeagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-May-2005 at 03:18

Originally posted by Dawn

But in the case of Danglars I thik he was left with far to much....The true art of revenge is to make the punishment fit to the person in question and make the suffering long.

Edmund Dante did not do it for the sake of Danglars but for the sake of Edmund Dante.

It was an act of mercy on his part which acknowledged that he himself was in need of mercy in order to have peace of mind in the future, and also that he had received mercy in the past despite the injustice he suffered.

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  Quote Hector Victorious Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Dec-2005 at 14:51

I read this book some time ago, I lOVE . Dumas HAs proved to be one of the BEST writers this world has ever seen!

 

ANybody read Three Musketeers?

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  Quote Thegeneral Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Dec-2005 at 16:07
We actually just finished this book in class.  Very good book! 
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  Quote Hector Victorious Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Dec-2005 at 23:44
What class Was that? ANd your still in school?
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