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Collette Cook

Count of Monte Cristo Socratic Seminar Answers
Maximilien and Valentine best exemplify the idea of true love because they are fully devoted to one
another, and would do anything to help each other. True love does not always come from presents, or tangible things like
that. For Maximilien, it came in the form of happiness. He proclaims, For nothing I felt till then deserves the name of love.
Then I found Valentine, count my happiness was infinite, unheard of; a happiness too great, too complete, too divine for this
world (Dumas 450). This is when Valentine is gone, and he realized just what she gave him- true happiness, and true love.
The cruelest character in the novel was Danglars. He was greedy and ruthless, and only cared for himself.
He left his wife and attempted to sell his daughter. Then his eyes flashed with hatred as he thought of the three men to
whom he owed his long and cruel captivity, and he renewed the oath of vengeance against Danglars, Fernand and Villefort
which he had already sworn in prison. The count recalls the moment he was sentenced to prison by Danglars.
The most prominent theme is revenge. In the beginning of the book, Dantes is sentenced to prison. When
he escapes, he seeks revenge on the men that put him in there, until the end of the book. Farewell to kindness, humanity and
gratitude...May the God of vengeance now yield me His place to punish the wicked! (Dumas 131) Dantes proclaims that he is
done with being kind, and only seeks revenge on those who did wrong.
Each man responsible for Dantess imprisonment had a different driving motive. Caderousse and Danglars
motives were similar; they were both jealous of Dantess success, because they hadnt any. Fernand was envious because
Dantes was in love with Mercedes. Villefort put him in prison because he had carried a letter that could ruin his reputation. If
he knows whats in this letter, thought Villefort, and if he ever learns that Noirtier is Villeforts father, Im ruined, ruined
forever! (Dumas 29) The one thing these men all have in common is their greed and selfishness. All their motives tend to be
encircled about themselves.
At the end of the book, after about 15 years, Dantes learns he did not have the same power that God has
to serve justice. He had believed that God gave him great power to punish the wicked (Dumas 131). Later, he writes a letter to
Maximilien stating, Pray now and then for a man who, like Satan, believed himself for an instant to be equal to God, but who
realized in all humility that supreme power and wisdom are in the hands of God alone (Dumas 530). He compared himself to
Satan as his actions were cruel. He hoped he could be forgiven by God.
Maximilien and Valentine are the happiest people in the end of the novel. Maximilien had just been put
through dark despair, then he is reunited with his one true love, learning she is alive. The Count teaches him, Only a man
who has felt ultimate despair is capable of feeling ultimate bliss (Dumas 531). I completely agree with this insight, because
how can we know happy when we dont know sad? When we overcome hardships, that is when we feel pure bliss, we feel like
were on top of the world. Those times of despair are to strengthen us, and I believe Maximilien was strengthened during that
time. They still love each other after time apart, and couldnt be happier to be reunited.
Depending on the significance of the offense, it is and is not justifiable to take justice in ones own hands.
If the event is small, like someone tripped you, for example, the legal system does not need to be involved. However, if there
was a much bigger, crime scene, police should be involved. Usually you could use common sense to know if the police should
be notified or not. In the book, The Count is aware of a robbery that he believes will lead to his murder. They want to kill me.
I have no desire to have the police occupy themselves with my private affairs (Dumas 330). Justice may or may not be
personally administered.
As he takes his leave from Maximilien, Dantes claims that there is neither happiness nor misery in the
world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. This statement means that there cannot only be
happiness, or only misery. They have to exist together. If we only had happiness, we wouldnt know grief. If we only had
misery, we wouldnt know joy. If we were constantly happy, we would take it for granted because we would get so accustomed
to it. Everyone is bound to have hard times in their life, but those things make us stronger, happier, better people. We need
both happiness and sadness to survive. Throughout the book, multiple thoughts of suicide come up. Dantes tells Maximilien,
How often did your father later bless life (Dantes 449). Even though they were suffering, they chose to push through and
they did! Then the happiness was so much better than losing their lives.
If I could have dinner with any character in the book, it would be Valentine Villefort. I imagine her to be
mother-like, nurturing, kind, caring, etc. Her dinner would most likely be nutritious, and filled with good conversation. She
would most likely give good advice, particularly on true love.