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The Count of Monte Cristo (abridged)

by Alexandre Dumas Robin H. Waterfield

Edmond Dantès, at age nineteen, had the perfect life. He was about to become the captain of a ship, was engaged to Mercédès, a beautiful and compassionate young woman, and he was liked by almost everyone. However, this perfect love was destroyed when, his so-called friends who were jealous of his good fortune, drafted a letter accusing him of being a Napoleon Bonapartist sympathizer, at the time when Napoleon was not in power in France. As a result, Dantès was arrested for treason and eventually thrown into a dungeon in the most dangerous prison in France. While in prison, he met Abbé Faria, an Italian priest and intellectual, who had been jailed for his political views. He taught Dantès history, science, philosophy, and languages, turning him into a well-educated man. Faria also bequeathed to Dantès a large treasure hidden on the island of Monte Cristo, and he told Dantès how to find it if he were to escape from the prison. When Faria died, Dantès hid himself in the abbé's shroud, thinking that he would be buried alive and then would have been able to dig his way out of the ground. Instead, Dantès was thrown into the sea, but was able to cut himself loose and swim to freedom. After Dantès escaped from the prison, he traveled to Monte Cristo, found the treasure, and designated himself as the Count of Monte Cristo. He considered his fortune a gift from God, given to him for the sole purpose of rewarding those who had tried to help him and, more important, punishing those who had hurt him. In the main portion of the novel, the author, Dumas wrote about Dantès plans and execution of these plans to carry out his mission of rewarding some people and punishing others. When Dantès realized that his treachery had gone too far, he repented. At the end of the novel, Dantès was able to escape the tyranny of his past and move onto a happy future. This movement forward is exemplified by his ability to forget his love for Mercédès and allow himself to fall in love with the adoring and beautiful Haydee. In the transformation process, Dantès learned to trust in God and not usurp the Divine position.

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