The great amount of suffering that Dantes deals with throughout The Count of Monte Cristo is something that would be impossible for the average person to handle, yet he perseveres and comes out on top of his situation. In Alexandre Dumas’ “The Count of Monte Cristo” the Count’s revenge can be justified through what has been done to him, his reluctance to hurt those uninvolved, and the sensibility of his beliefs on justice and punishment.
Villefort’s schemes against Edmond to hide his relation to his father was a completely unjust action, and it could not be expected of any person to sit back and allow someone to cause what Villefort had caused Dantes’ family.
The feeling of betrayal that Dantes must have felt after escaping from the Chateau d’lf and being told that his father “died of sorrow,” or, according to Caderousse “of hunger” (Dumas, 99), and that Mercedes had married Fernand soon after he had been taken to prison.
The insurmountable amount of suffering caused by Fernand, Mercedes, Caderousse, Danglars, and Villefort, would be unforgivable to Dantes. Throughout his entire time in prison, his only hope was for Mercedes, the love of his life, and his father, yet he came home to find his father dead and Mercedes married to the man who caused his despair. The Abbe Faria had changed Dantes, some might say for the better, while others might say for the worst, but either way, he changed him. After leaving the prison Dantes was smart,level-headed, and more than anything, vengeful.
Mercedes’s relationship with Fernand is one of the most painful things that Dantes has to deal with after leaving jail. In his final conversation with Mercedes, his love and adoration for her continue to show, as they have throughout the entire book, for there would be less reason for the vengeance he is seeking if his love for Mercedes had never existed. He also faces the realization that he is no longer who he used to be when Mercedes tells him that she lives between the graves of “Edmond Dantes, who died so long ago and whom I love” (Dumas, 495), which allows him to keep his love for Mercedes in the past, while his care and compassion for her move forward, taking interest in the happiness that he inevitably wants for the woman he once possessed so much love for.
When Edward dies, Edmond feels a great amount of remorse. Even in this search for vengeance, he continues to respect the limits that he believes to be sacred: the life of a child, in the case of Edward. Upon seeing Edward dead, “[Dantes, realized he could no longer say ‘God is for me and with me'” (Dumas, 485). To Dantes, the justification of his revenge by God was an important piece of the puzzle that was his revenge plan. Another case in which Dantes’ morality is more important to him than his revenge is, again for an uninvolved child, when Albert challenges him to a duel. At first,t he doesn’t know what to do, but when Mercedes finds out that Albert and Monte Cristo are going to fight, she also knows that there was no way her son was going to come out of this alive, and she begs the man she once loved to “take your revenge) on Fernand, take it on me, but don’t take revenge on my son!” (Dumas, 377). When the Count agrees to allow Albert to kill him to save Mercedes’ happiness. Much of this love comes from, not only the love he had for Mercedes but his realization that Albert is undeserving of bearing the pain of Monte Cristo’s revenge against his parents.
When Monte Cristo is discussing his opinions on the penalties that one should face for their wrongdoings, he explains a philosophy on life and death, sin and revenge, that justifies the plan he is beginning to set into motion at that time. Monte Cristo’s view on executions, specifical decapitation, is as follows: “if a man has tortured and killed […] one of those beings who leave an eternal emptiness […] when they are torn from your heart, do you think society has given you sufficient reparation […] because the man who made you undergo long years of mental and emotional suffering has undergone a few seconds of physical pain?” (Dumas, 138). This is extremely similar to what Albert’s father did to Dantes, and how Dantes plans to punish him, by making each of his accusers undergo the same amount of pain that they forced him to undergo. He continues on this thought with his opinions on dueling, telling Franz d’Epinay that if “[a] man has taken your sweetheart from you, seduced your wife or dishonored your daughter […] you believe his crime avenged because you have thrust a sword into his chest or lodged a bullet in his head?t” (Dumas, 139). This is another quote that shows Dantes’ intentions against his enemies, and his beliefs on how sins should be punished. By explaining the Count’s pain and thoughts, he is also able to highlight the reasons by which Dantes’ revenge is justifiable.
Dumas is abcan his point of justifiable revenge within “The Count of Monte Cristo” by using underlying occurrences to convince the reader that what he has done is justifiable. Of course, illustrated by arguments that say his revenge is unjust, this is still disputed by many readers of the novel, but throughout the book, it is shown that the majority of the Count’s revenge, especially the parts that he had been planning, were all just and understandable.