The Count of Monte Cristo
by Alexandre Dumas
The Count of Monte Cristo Theme of Manipulation
Manipulation is a bit of dirty word. Nobody wants to feel like they've been manipulated by anyone – not by Fate, by God, or by their parents. In The Count of Monte Cristo Edmond must feel this bad kind of "manipulated" when he realizes why he's in prison; the same goes for the disgraced Fernand, Danglars, and Villefort after Edmond is through with them. But there is a positive side to manipulation, too. The kind of manipulation the Count practices requires a tremendous amount of creativity and cleverness. Yes, it helps to have unlimited resources on your side, but the Count's masterful manipulations also require a huge amount of knowledge.
Questions About Manipulation
- In order to exact revenge on a few people, Monte Cristo enlists dozens of people, both willingly and unwillingly. Is he right in doing so? Is the overall effect on all the people he "works with" positive?
- We marvel at the amazing things the Count is able to do. Should we, perhaps, be gasping in horror instead? Are we manipulated in the same way as the other characters are?
Chew on This
Putting aside any questions of morality, Edmond's endeavor is first and foremost a testament to human creativity.
Rather than give us a fiery Romantic hero, Dumas portrays Monte Cristo as a logical, reasonable man; though he may be driven by passion, in practice his passion is transformed into well-measured action.