Study Guide

The Count of Monte Cristo Ambition

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There's nothing wrong with ambition. Really, we wouldn't get much done without it. In the case of The Count of Monte Cristo, though, the ambition in question would more accurately be called over-ambition. Most of the characters are overachievers, but not in the annoying but harmless teacher's pet kind of way. No, these overachievers are so driven that they're willing to do just about anything to get what they want. This doesn't just apply to the Danglarses and the Fernands of the world; Edmond is just as set on getting what he wants, when he wants. He's one of those guys who thinks "impossible" is just another word for "challenging."

Questions About Ambition

  1. Are there any "ambitious" characters in The Count of Monte Cristo who don't get greedy or go too far in order to get what they want?
  2. What's the difference between Edmond's ambition and that of Danglars and Fernand?
  3. Is ambitious really the right word to describe Edmond's ten years of planning? Is there a stronger, more accurate word out there somewhere?

Chew on This

As far as Dumas is concerned, ambition is a dangerous commodity, as addictive as any drug and as destructive as hatred and envy.

By the end of The Count of Monte Cristo, we find that ambition is a necessary, if destructive force, just as essential to human activity as air or water.

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