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The Count of Monte Cristo (essay) May 31, 2012

Filed under: semester 2 final project blog — gloriaayoon @ 1:22 am

     An important element in every good plot is the Christ-figure, or the character that has qualities or experiences like that of Jesus. In The Count of Monte Cristo, there are several characters that are good matches for this role, and among those is Edmond Dantes, the protagonist and hero of the film. There are a number of obvious differences between Dantes and Jesus, but Dantes does possess many traits that justify his ‘nomination’ for this part. Edmond Dantes’ transformation, betrayal, and judgment on those who wronged him, allows him to play the Christ-like figure in The Count of Monte Cristo.

     Edmond Dantes went through drastic and majestic transformations since the beginning of the film to the end, as did Jesus in the Gospels. Jesus was born in a shabby barn and was raised as a plain, boring carpenter. However, as his ministry started, he gained large numbers of followers and good reputations. He started to get known as the healer, teacher, prophet, and God, and no longer a carpenter. After his death and resurrection, he ascended up to heaven in glory as Lord, Jesus Christ. In a similar away, Edmond Dantes started out as a kind man working a humble job on a ship. He was loving towards everyone he knew—even towards those who disliked him. This naïve and innocent characteristic got the best of him, leading him to walk right into a trap that left him in jail for 13 years. However, this was the turning point of his transformation. In prison, he realized how he got betrayed and played, and how God wasn’t giving him justice at all. He became bitter and vengeful toward all those who had acted against him. When he returned to Marseilles, he heard about how his fiancé had married his best friend who was one of the men who plotted against Dantes, and about how his father had died from grief. By this time, the only thing he felt was pure loathing and a burning desire for vengeance. All his love and trust for others had vanished, along with his naïve old self. The Edmond Dantes that emerged from his cocoon was a commanding, powerful count out for revenge. This process of transformation is a quality of Edmond Dantes that makes him Christ-like.

     As mentioned earlier, Edmond Dantes was betrayed and framed for a crime that he did not commit. Both Jesus and Edmond Dantes were betrayed by those close to them and were sent off to their ‘deaths’. Judas Iscariot, the disciple well-known as the traitor, betrayed Jesus by selling him off to the Sanhedrin priests for a ransom of 30 silver pieces. This betrayal led to the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Judas was one of Jesus’ most trusted twelve, but he threw all that away to satisfy his greed. Like so, Fernand Mondego, Dantes’ best friend betrayed Dantes and took part in framing him for treason, all because his jealousy and greed overpowered their friendship. Mondego had Dantes sent to prison and supposedly executed, and then married Dantes’ fiancé. In this way, Edmond experienced a betrayal by a close friend just like Christ did by a disciple.

     Dantes responded to the betrayal by seeking justice and making sure that those who wronged him got what they deserved. In a similar way, but with different motives, Jesus also punished those who sinned and disobeyed. Edmond Dantes, like Jesus, showed judgment and justice accordingly at appropriate times. Jesus once told a parable about the sheep and the goats. Jesus said that he will set the sheep on his right side and the goats on the left. Then, God would bless and welcome those on the right side for the kindness and mercy they showed to others, and indirectly to God himself. To the left side, he would curse and cast out for their selfish, ignorant actions. Like how Jesus talked about making appropriate judgment, Dantes also made decisions about judgment on certain people. For Fernand Mondego, the very man who had betrayed him, Dantes carefully planned and crafted a way to have revenge. Dantes appeared before Mondego as the Count of Monte Cristo and exposed Mondego’s unethical, illegal methods used to make money and later kills him. For Villeford, who was a character that also took park in framing Dantes, he exposed to the authorities all the wrongdoings he took part in, which included the murder of his own father. However, for Mercedes, his fiancé, he shows kindness. After he saw that she had remained loyal to him after all those years, he responds with love. These examples reflect how Edmond Dantes is like Christ in showing judgment accordingly at appropriate times.

     All these elements play a part in making up Edmond Dantes as the Christ-figure in The Count of Monte Cristo. Just like Christ had the qualities and experiences of transformation, betrayal, and judgment, Edmond Dantes expressed them as well. Although there are numerous differences between the two, these characteristics tie them together and make Edmond Dantes the Christ-figure of The Count of Monte Cristo.



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