Edmond Dantes is a young man who has everything in the world going for him. He is poised to become the next captain of the ship he sails on, and is engaged to a beautiful young lady. He is also a dutiful son to his father. But the wheel of fortunes quickly turn, and one small point from his last voyage is about to sacrifice him to the jealousy and advancement of others. On the day of wedding, he is arrested and taken for questioning. The man who questioned him, Villefort, is about to send him to prison, to protect himself. For the letter that Edmond is holding is addressed to Villefort’s father, and if it became common knowledge then he himself would be ruined. Under the guise of helping Edmond out, he burns the evidence, and then quietly gives orders for his transfer to the Chateau d’If. No one who enters there leaves alive, and Edmond is banished to the darkest corners of the prison.
After several years of being there, he is befriended by a fellow prisoner, the Abbe Faria. Prison guards deem him mad, as he offers them vast amounts of treasure to release him. The Abbe was attempting escape when he is discovered by Edmond. The two form a bond that is unbreakable, and the Abbe begins to teach Edmond all he knows. Languages, mathematics and more flow from the mind of the learned priest, and Edmond eager for something to break the monotony drinks in the knowledge. As the years pass and they become closer, Edmond begins to think of the Abbe as the father he lost, and when the Abbe is taken with his illness and unable to continue their escape plans, Edmond breaks off his plans to leave as well.
The Abbe knows that he is dying, but there is one final thing that he wishes to pass onto Edmond. The secret location of a vast treasure, one that would make the owner wealthy beyond all imagination. Edmond is made to learn the directions by heart, so that when he is able to finally escape the prison, he can redeem the treasure, and from there make his fortune in the world.
When the Abbe dies, Edmond comes up with a daring plan. He places the Abbe in his cell, and takes his place in the burial shroud that had been prepared. When at last he is taken for burial, he is surprised to discover that the Chateau d’If does not bury their dead in the ground, they are thrown into the sea! He is able to make his escape and from there is picked up by a ship. Given his background on the seas, he is quickly adopted into the crew, and spends the remainder of the year on voyages with the smugglers. One of the smugglers Jacopo has attached himself to Edmond, and while Edmond is not sure he wants the company, he is grateful for it. He is able to save money for his planned excursion, and when finally given the opportunity to search for his treasure, he is astonished to discover that they old priest was not mad at all, Wealth beyond his wildest dreams is found. The plans and thoughts for revenge are now in place. He must begin to seek out those who did him wrong and bring about their downfall. But first, he must find out what happened to his father and beloved Mercedes.
This week we are reading Chapters 1-30
1. Discuss Villefort’s decision to imprison Dantes. He believes Dantes has been unfairly accused, but at the same time he fears for his own father’s life.
2. Talk about the role that the Abbe Faria plays in Dante’s development. Why does Dantes consider him a second father?
3. When Edmond escapes from the Chateau d’If, he takes some time before he begins to search for the treasure, why do you think he did that?
4. Revenge is something that is not far from Edmond’s mind. Why do you think that he rewarded Caderousse instead of making him even more miserable than he already was?