In our first week of reading, we saw the trials that poor Edmond Dantes was forced to endure. The young man was a victim to those who wished to further advance themselves in one way or another, and the road to revenge can be bittersweet. We left off with Edmond finding the fantastic treasure that the Abbe had spoken of for so long.
As time has progressed, Edmond has transformed himself into the Count of Monte Cristo. He has emerged anew from the trials of his past, and now begins the slow road to revenge that has long been planned in his mind. Quick and fast justice is not what Edmond has on his mind however, but a slow torture of the mind. He has availed himself to the son of one such enemy, and struck up a friendship with him. Young Albert and his friend Franz have been to Rome for the Carnival, and there they make the acquaintance of the Count of Monte Cristo. They begin a fast friendship, and the Count makes his carriages and boxes for the opera house available for the young men to pleasure themselves with while in the city. As the carnival goes on, young Albert is kidnapped, and a ransom is demanded. Franz, after receiving the ransom note, goes directly to the Count of Monte Cristo for help. Franz is confused when they go to the place where Albert is being kept that the Count is not armed, and seems to know the kidnappers on a more personal level. It is explained that the Count and their friends are off limits to the ransoms placed on other strangers. This feat puts Albert into the Count’s power without even realizing what he is doing. After extracting a promise from the Count that he will visit him in Paris, Albert and Franz take their leave of him and head off in their separate directions.
True to his word, the Count shows up at Albert’s home and after a huge breakfast is presented to his parents. The effect that he has on the Countess is notable, to where all are concerned for her health. None however, notice that the already pale Count, has gone even paler upon meeting the beautiful Countess. Soon after that meeting, he begins to make his presence known to all within the city, albeit under the disguise he has shrouded himself in. For soon, all would be revealed…
This week we are reading chapters 31-60.
1. They say the road to revenge can be sweet, but long. Do you think that you could have played out the deception as masterfully as Edmond seems to be doing?
2. The central issue in The Count of Monte Cristo is the question of revenge. In the case of this book, is Dantes’ quest for vengeance morally just? Can vengeance ever stand in for justice?
3. With the wealth that Edmond now possesses, he can command whatever attention he desires. Do you think he should insinuate himself more into society or stay on the fringes as he is doing?