The Dark Elements in The Count of Monte Cristo, a Novel by Alexandre Dumas

This novel was set in the eighteen-hundreds, so there are strong democratic leanings evident in Dumas’s literary works. Through the use of the Faust, architecture, and doppelganger, Alexandre Dumas reflects the dual nature of man in The Count of Monte Cristo thus expressing .that even the best of men can have a dark element In Dumas novel, The Count of Monte Cristo he expresses many gothic motifs. For example the use of architecture in the descent of madness, “He descended fifteen steps, the door of a cell was opened and he entered, mumbling to himself, ‘He’s right they have to put madmen with madmen.

'” (35) The physical descent down the stairs show his mental descent into madness. As the door closes so does his gateway to sanity. Another example of the element of architecture is, “There was nothing particularly strange about the bedroom, except that, although the night was falling, it was not lighted and that it had kept all the marks and long neglect, while the other rooms had been completely rejuvenated.

These two things however were enough to give it a gloomy aspect.” (490) The fact that the room is never used and is neglected is showing that there could be a dark secret hidden amongst the hovering darkness. Also, the room could be a metaphorical object for a person who is being neglected. Monte Cristo comments thon e room that supports this theory, “Look at this little staircase and tell what you think of it. Can’t you see someone descending it step by step in the darkness, bearing some sinister burden which he’s eager to hide from the eyes of men, if not those of God?'” (491) Situational irony is also one of the motifs used; this is shown when Edmond (or the Count of Monte Cristo) says, “’It’s a great honor for me,’ said Monte Cristo, ‘to make the acquaintance, on my first day in Paris, of a man whose worth equals his reputation and who has been justly rewarded by fortune.

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This quote is ironic because The Count is talking to Danglars, who helped put him in prison. He has no respect for Danglars and is going to inflict his revenge upon him later on in the novel. An example of dramatic irony is when Edmond said, “….that right now I’m too happy to be gay. if that’s what you mean, you’re right. Joy sometimes has a strange effect: it can oppress us almost as much as sorrow.”‘ (35) The audience knows that his happiness is premature. Soon after he says this, his happiness is taken away from him. Rebirth is a reoccurring motif in this novel. For example rebirth in education, “The days past swiftly, but each one was so instructive that at the end of the year he was a different man.” (106) Edmonds education itself is a rebirth. He is changed from just a kind-hearted sailor to an intelligent man seeking revenge. A metaphorical rebirth is when Dantes gets in the sack, “Then (Dantes] went back into Farias cell, took out the needle and thread, threw off his clothes so that the jailer would feel bare flesh under the sackcloth slipped into the sack, placed himself in the same position as the corpse and sewed up the sack again from the inside.” (134) The sack could be seen as a womb. Then he gets thrust into the water and is essentially birthed. In conclusion through the .use of all these motifs, Alexandre Dumas expresses the dual nature of man In the critical essay, “The Count of Monte Cristo” Novels For Students, Jennifer Smith, she s about how the elements of this novel affect the plot and storyline. One of the elements (or motif) discussed is ‘The Limitations of Human Justice’. Smith says, “When Dantes escapes from prison, he is obsessed with gaining revenge against those who betrayed him… He believes he is one of those ‘extraordinary beings’ who act as against divine Providence.”

Dantes is pushing his limits and believes that he is high up with God. When humans believe they’re immortal, there is usually a down that’ll be followed. For example, “Eventually, Monte Cristo comes to see the limitations that attend a human being who seeks to appropriate to himself a function of the divine… For the first time, this supremely self-confident man doubts the wisdom of his mission of revenge. Monte Cristo feels he has gone too far and can no longer say, ‘God is for and with me?.” Dantes realizes the error of his ways. He is humbled by this experience and comes to acceptance with the fact that he is only mortal. Suicide is another gothic motif used; for example, “Many characters in The Count of Monte Cristo contemplate or even carry out suicide during the novel. Dumas presents the act of suicide as an honorable and reasonable response to any devastating situation. As in much Romantic literature, “.suicide in The Count of Monte Cristo is most closely linked with failed romantic relationships Dantes considers suicide when he is locked up in the chateau d’if. This religious struggle is a war between God and the devil on your shoulders. In conclusion, the gothic elements are critical  The novel Treasure and vengeance” The American Scholar by Justin Kaplan’s main focus is on”children’s fixation on terrible injustices they imagine they suffered. Kaplan also talks about ‘The Fall’, “Dumas related the painful fall of eEdmonddates, a Marseille sailor, at nineteen captains of his ohip and engaged to be married. Three men’ jealous of his success and promise, conspire against him. On the eve of his wedding, they have him arrested on trumped-up charges of plotting the return of Napoleon. He’s imprisoned in the Chateau d’if, where he spends the next fourteen years in solitary confinement in a dungeon.” Dantes gets his happiness stolen from him for no reason except jealousy. He is arrested for allegedly plotting the return of Napoleon; this ties into Dumas’s strong democratic leanings at this time. Kaplan discusses Edmonds’s rebirth, for example, “Edmonds education is in itself a rebirth, one of the most prepotent of archetypes. You could see the burlap sack as a womb – even an amniotic sack, given the watery medium for Edmonds escape.” Faria ‘adopted’ Dantes and made him into a new person. The ice-cold water is a fresh new start. Kaplan made many valid points about gothic motifs in The Count of Monte Cristo. Through the use of many gothic motifs, Alexandre Dumas reflects the dual nature of man in The Count of Monte Cristo thus expressing that even the best of men can have a dark element. This still holds to many people in today’s generation. Every human has a dark side along.

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The Dark Elements in The Count of Monte Cristo, a Novel by Alexandre Dumas. (2022, Jun 22). Retrieved from

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