The Count of Monte Cristo Lesson Plan

Those who are not daunted by its length (117 chapters and 1,500 pages) find in The Count of Monte Cristoa riveting adventure novel, nothing like the dry philosophizing we concern expect from “the classics.” From the first chapters, in which our lead character is falsely implicated of treason and thrown in prison on his wedding day, the action races from one significant (and not always credible) scene to the next. We have drugs with almost wonderful powers, cold-blooded murders of all kinds, astounding coincidences, secret love affairs, betrayal in its every shade, impregnable jails, shipwrecks and smugglers, and naturally, the treasure of Monte Cristo – a limitless supply of diamonds and emeralds and gold.

Alexandre Dumas composed The Count of Monte Cristoin 1844 and it was released in 18 pieces in between the years 1844-46. We can imagine 19th century Frenchmen discussing the most recent installment and waiting impatiently to see what would take place next, as we might do with a popular tv show.

However Dumas uses the reader more than a good story. Rather, the novel is a deep exploration of revenge: cruelly imaginative approaches to vengeance, the point at which even the most righteous payback is no longer warranted, the mental impact of dedicating one’s life to pursuing one’s enemies. Revenge here takes on biblical proportions; Dantes is not simply a male getting back at an opponent – he considers himself an instrument of magnificent justice, an emissary of God. Unlike many timeless books, The Count of Monte Cristodoes not include a love story at the center of its plot. In Dantes’ world, love takes a backseat to all-inclusive, long-lasting hatred.

While we are observing the Count’s practically superhuman plots, we likewise become witnesses to life in 19th century French society. Dumas describes with excellent precision the lives of French aristocrats of his time – the correct rituals of going to pals and associates, evenings at the opera, suppers and balls, journeys to Italy for Carnival, engagements and marital relationships, and so on. We discover what is appropriate, admired and looked down upon. We see males rise and fall in the monetary, political, and legal arenas. While explaining French society is not Dumas’ primary purpose in the novel, he definitely dedicates effort to getting the information right!

Key Elements of The Count of Monte Cristo


Dumas utilizes a serious tone throughout the book. Nearly every scene is imbued with the gravity of fate – fitting for a story of magnificent justice. Chains of occasions move with an air of inevitability to their dramatic conclusions.


Marseilles, 1815

The novel begins in dynamic seaside Marseilles, house to protagonist Edmond Dantes and the other essential characters, including the scheming Danglars, the ambitious Villefort, the lovelorn Fernand, the upstanding Morrel, and the beautiful Mercedes. 1815 is a time of political upheaval – the exiled Napoleon is preparing for a return, only to be vanquished a number of months after his return. Marseilles is the setting for the occasion that precipitates the remainder of the plot – Dantes’ jail time on the basis of an incorrect accusation. Chateau D’If, 1815-1829

For a couple of chapters, the reader is shut away along with Dantes in this high-security dungeon for political prisoners. In stark contrast to the other settings of the novel, the Chateau D’If is bleak, isolated and dark. It appears to be a setting more suitable for death than life.

Paris, 1838

Most of the novel happens in Paris, where Dantes returns to perform his vengeance on those who wronged him. Most of the characters we satisfied in Marseilles have actually relocated here, and are now part of the attractive, if somewhat shallow, Parisian society. Paris supplies a dramatic backdrop for Dantes’ imaginative schemes as the Count of Monte Cristo – shimmering ballrooms, nation homes with covert staircases and tricks, dark streets hiding murderers, and gorgeous mansions housing rich however dissatisfied households.


The Count of Monte Cristo is written in third person. Although we occasionally peek into the minds of particular characters, especially Dantes/Monte Cristo, the storyteller is not entirely omniscient, leaving many tricks concealed until they come to light through dialogue or action. This capability to expose and conceal characters’ thoughts and sensations according to his impulses allows Dumas to preserve suspense throughout the unique, keeping readers on edge.

Character development

Over the 23-year span covered by the novel, lead character Edmond Dantes goes through a number of severe changes. In reality, he embraces an entirely new identity as the Count of Monte Cristo. Edmond modifications from a trusting, good-natured teen to a terrifying, nearly inhuman being driven by vengeance alone. His revenge, in turn, alters him yet again towards completion of the novel, leading him to question his actions and inspirations and consider that there might be some good in life.

We likewise witness a change (though a less remarkable one) in Fernand Mondego’s kid Albert. Albert is introduced to us as a Parisian fop – brave and overall excellent, but driven mainly by the pleasure of the finest pleasures in life. By the end of the novel, he voluntarily compromises all this to atone for his father’s sins through poverty and difficult labor.

Dantes’ banes, on the other hand, do not change much throughout the novel – in fact, Dantes utilizes the exact same vices that led them to betray him in 1815 to bring about their downfall in 1838. Danglars remains driven by greed and desire for revenue. Villefort makes ever higher sacrifices in the name of ambition. Caderousse stays an useless coward, ever dissatisfied with his lot. And Fernand is still hotheaded, dishonest, and going to betray anybody to get what he wants. Towards the end of the unique, all of Dantes’ enemies break down entirely in one method or another.

Similarly, the few great characters in the novel barely change. Angelic Julie and her partner Emmanuel are simply as best in 1838 as they were when we satisfied them in 1829. Valentine is unbendingly generous and kind, Maximilian brave, unfaltering, and optimistic.



Vengeance is the central style of The Count of Monte Cristo. Vengeance is Dantes’ driving force from the moment he discovers who has actually wronged him. It provides the strength to get away jail and build a brand-new life for himself, and the motivation to develop intricate plots that exceptionally damage each of his opponents. It is also revenge that hangs over Dantes’ life like a dark cloud, keeping him from finding true happiness or structure bonds with other people. Can revenge, nevertheless warranted, ever be an advantage? As the reader dithers between the fulfillment of enjoying evil males get their charges and the scary at the protagonist’s almost inhuman temperament, Dumas explores this question without straight answering it.


Hand in hand with vengeance, Dumas checks out the concept of justice. Who is guilty before Dantes? Certainly Danglars, Fernand and Villefort, who directly contributed in his imprisonment. However what about Caderousse, who found out of their betrayal and did not speak up? What about Mercedes, who did not know of the plot, however selected to marry Fernand after Dantes failed to return house? What about Fernand’s child Albert? Are the sins of the dad likewise the sins of the son? Once guilt is determined, what retribution do the guilty deserve? At what point can they be thought about to have received a full punishment? More significantly, whose task is it to make these choices? To what extent does male deserve to carry out the will of God (as he sees it)? If Dantes had not stepped up to deliver justice, severe criminal activities would have gone completely unpunished. This does not seem just. At the exact same time, Dantes revenge seems to go too far sometimes, to the point where it can possibly no longer be considered simply either.


Another secondary theme Dumas explores is the function of an individual’s mindset in determining his/her fate. Dantes secretly supplies monetary assistance to the family of his former company Morrel along with to his previous neighbor Caderousse. Nine years later on, Morrel’s son and daughter live delighted lives, material with their lot and permanently grateful to their benefactor. Caderousse, on the other hand, is disappointed with his windfall, and murders a jeweler and his own spouse in a quest for more money. When he is ultimately able to leave prison and receives another possibility at life, he turns to a life of criminal activity once again. Caderousse might have been perfectly pleased, thanks to Dantes’ gift. Instead, his mindset condemned him to misery and a sudden death.


The Count of Monte Cristo is light on symbols. One reoccuring object is M. Morrel’s red silk handbag. When Edmond Dantes remains in prison, his previous company, Morrel, brings his starving dad some cash in a red silk bag. Years later, Dantes leaves jail and discovers the bag in his dad’s home. At this point, Morrel is going bankrupt, and Dantes saves him, offering monetary help in this same bag. We see the handbag once again almost 10 years later on, preserved by Morrel’s children as a sign of their benefactor. In a story concentrated on vengeance, the handbag is a concrete tip of a happier side of life: kindness and the benefits for these deeds.

Another key symbol is an almost wonderful elixir, which has the capability to treat health problem or eliminate the drinker. We first see the elixir (or possibly another similar drug), in the Chateau d’If, where the Abbe Faria instructs Dantes to use it to revive him after a fit of epilepsy. The elixir at first works, however ultimately can not save the abbe from passing away. When Dantes resurfaces as the Count of Monte Cristo, he uses the elixir as a medicine to revive characters at key points in the novel. However, when someone should pass away, like Caderousse after he is stabbed, or Edward after he is poisoned, Dantes’ elixir can not save them. The elixir represents the Count of Monte Cristo’s power over other guys – at times appearing practically superhuman, but ultimately minimal before the power of God.


Although the novel includes a number of climax-like scenes, each referring the downfall of a various character, possibly the most significant is Villefort’s embarrassment and the subsequent death of Madame de Villefort and her child. Villefort’s punishment – a very public denunciation by his invalid boy – is more remarkable than Caderousse’s peaceful murder or de Morcerf’s suicide. It is followed by the no less significant discovery that his wife has actually poisoned herself and her kid. This minute initially makes Monte Cristo doubt his project of justice and revenge; for the rest of the book, the tone modifications accordingly.


The Count of Monte Cristo is divided into 117 short, action-packed chapters, reflecting its initial format (18 pieces launched gradually over two years). The novel tends to move chronologically, but just touches on a long time periods briefly and entirely avoids others. These are intentional decisions on Dumas’ part – producing secret where needed (i.e. the Count of Monte Cristo’s journeys in 1829-1837) and providing numerous detail in essential minutes (the occasions in Paris in the summertime of 1838). A variety of detailed flashbacks are an exception to the sequential structure. These offer comprehensive backstory when it is most required to understand upcoming events.

The book can be divided into roughly 4 parts:

1) Chapters 1-14; Dantes’ life in Marseilles and detain

2) Chapters 15-30; Dantes’ experience in prison, escape, and go back to Marseilles

3) Chapters 31-38; Dantes’ interaction with Albert and Franz in Italy; initially intro of Dantes as the Count of Monte Cristo

4) Chapters 38-117; Dantes arrives to Paris brings his vengeance plot to fulfillment

As is evident from the relative length of the final part compared to the others, the particulars of the lead character’s revenge kind Dumas’ main focus.

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