Study Guide

The Count of Monte Cristo Hatred

By Alexandre Dumas

Hatred

Chapter 6
Gérard de Villefort

"As for me, when I see a bright spark of hatred shining in the eye of an accused man, I feel encouraged, I rejoice: it is no longer a trial, but a duel. I go for him, he ripostes, I press harder, and the fight ends, like all fights, in victory or defeat. That is what advocacy means." (6.43)

It seems strange that something as irrational as hatred should enter into the justice system.

Chapter 15

He decided it was human hatred and not divine vengeance that had plunged him into this abyss. He doomed these unknown men to every torment that his inflamed imagination could devise, while still considering that the most frightful were too mild and, above all, too brief for them: torture was followed by death, and death brought, if not repose, at least an insensibility that resembled it. (15.8)

There's something deeply unsettling about that phrase "human hatred." You can really feel for Edmond, feel his pain and his thirst for revenge just reading it.

Chapter 17
Abbé Faria

"If you wish to find the guilty party, first discover whose interests the crime serves! Whose interests might be served by your disappearance?" (17.57)

Abbé Faria succinctly explains the origins of much envy and discord.

Chapter 35

"But, with such an outlook," Franz told the count, "which makes you judge and executioner in your own case, it would be hard for you to confine yourself to actions that would leave you forever immune to the power of the law. Hatred is blind and anger deaf: the one who pours himself a cup of vengeance is likely to drink a bitter draught."

"Yes, if he is clumsy and poor; no, if he is a millionaire and adroit." (35.44)

Hatred is blind, but then again, so is justice.

Chapter 76

"But man, man whom God made in His image, man to whom God gave this first, this sole, this supreme law, that he should love his neighbour, man to whom God gave a voice to express his thoughts—what is man's first cry when he learns his neighbor is saved? A curse." (35.131)

"In any case, even the most corrupt of us finds it hard to believe in evil unless it is based on some interest. We reject the idea of harm done for no cause and without gain as anomalous." (76.6)

Some people like to say that everything happens for a reason. This applies not simply to twists of fate and shocking revelations, but to every kind of human action, including the worst and pettiest.

Chapter 77
Haydée

"I could not understand. Why was my father fleeing—my father, the all-powerful, before whom others normally would flee, my father whose motto was: "They hate me, and that is why they fear me"? (77.176)

In her recounting, Haydée evokes the power hate can have – and the resistance which it can provoke.

Chapter 78
Albert de Morcerf

"Oh, you know what I think about duels. I explained my ideas to you in Rome, don't you remember?"

"Despite which, my dear Count, I found you just now, this very morning, engaged in a pastime that seems to accord ill with those ideas."

"Because, you must understand, my dear friend, one should never be exclusive. When one lives among madmen, one should train as a maniac. From one minute to the next, some hothead, with no greater reason to seek a quarrel with me than you have to seek one with Beauchamp, will come and hunt me out on the first flimsy pretext he can find, or send me his seconds, or insult me in a public place. Well, I shall be obliged to kill him." (78.166-8)

Monte Cristo would no doubt be more responsive if he felt Albert had a reason to quarrel. His reaction is a variation on the "harm done for no cause" argument.

Chapter 83

"If only someone would come so that I could denounce the wretch!"

"Would you like me to write out your statement?"

"Yes, yes," said Caderousse, his eyes shining at the idea of posthumous revenge. (83.128-130)

Not only can hatred make a man work and wait for ten years, it can make a man lust for vengeance from beyond the grave.