The Count of Monte Cristo
Who Should Read it
Classic literature lovers and anyone with a sense of adventure
Why Should We Read it
This book is so ingrained in pop culture that we all know this is a story about revenge. Now it is a good time to refresh our memory.
What Will We Learn
We will learn how a young man was wrongfully imprisoned. We then find out how he escaped, enacted his revenge, and found love.
"Today, 'Monte Cristo' is synonymous with revenge"
Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo is the classic story of betrayal and revenge. It is a thick tome - over 1,000 pages long in most unabridged versions - which discourages most of us from ever trying to read it from start to finish. And yet, it is so ingrained in popular culture that many of us already know the basic outline: a young man is wrongfully imprisoned for crimes he did not commit. He escapes from prison, finds a fabulous treasure, and uses it to orchestrate and enact his retribution. Today, “Monte Cristo” is synonymous with revenge, though sometimes it’s associated with a Las Vegas hotel (“Monte Carlo”) or a European country (“Montenegro”).
Why did I start to read this book? Years ago, I downloaded the EPUB version of this book out of general excitement for e-readers. This copy was subsequently languishing in my e-reader archives. One day years later, I accidentally downloaded that same copy from my archives while trying to acquire a different e-book. It was as if Edmond Dantes, the Count of Monte Cristo himself, finally broke free of his digital prison. I figured it was as good a time as any to start Edmond’s story. I only realized how long this novel was when a month had passed and I was only a quarter of the way finished. At this point, I knew that if I didn’t finish the novel now, I never would.
"What do we do with ourselves if, in our wildest dreams, our all-consuming drive for total revenge is actually complete? Edmond’s answer is simple and uplifting: “Wait and hope.”
The journey was well worth it. Like many “classic” novels of its times, The Count of Monte Cristo meandered from plot point to plot point, sometimes painfully so. Right when I began to waver in my commitment to finish, the plot would lurch back into startling relevance and encourage me to soldier on. Of course, the novel explored concepts of loyalty and honor, and the action and intrigue was most definitely swashbuckling fun. But it also touched upon concepts of family, love, and our ultimate purpose in life. What do we do with ourselves if, in our wildest dreams, our all-consuming drive for total revenge is actually complete? Edmond’s answer is simple and uplifting: “Wait and hope.” When we are trapped in our own prisons, when we can’t bring ourselves to finish a task/novel, when we don’t know what to do next - at the very least, we can wait and hope.