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Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Rating: 7/10

Date Read: June 25, 2023

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There is not much to summarize. This is a story of wrongful imprisonment and a desire for a revenge.

My Thoughts

I don't have any learning from the book. This is something that I just enjoyed reading. At times it was a little slow, but other parts compensated with an extremely interesting plot twists and stories.

  • Is revenge a justified means of achieving justice or does it perpetuate a cycle of violence and destruction?
  • Analyze the transformations undergone by the main characters, particularly Edmond Dantès, as they navigate through their journey. How does one's understanding of self change over time? Is it possible to maintain one's true identity in the face of adversity?


  • Believe me, when a woman loves a man, you do not win her heart by crossing swords with him. (Location 1065)
  • ‘Speaking for myself, mother,’ said Renée, ‘I beg God that He does not listen to you, but sends Monsieur de Villefort only petty thieves, puny bankrupts and faint-hearted swindlers; in that case, I shall sleep easy.’ Villefort laughed: ‘That is as if you were to wish on the physician nothing but migraines, measles and wasp stings, only ailments that are skin-deep. If, on the contrary, you wish to see me as crown prosecutor, you should wish on me those fearful illnesses that bring honour to the doctor who cures them.’ (Location 1708)
  • Dantès began to doubt the evidence of his senses – to think that what he had taken for a memory was nothing more than a hallucination and that the ministering angel who had appeared to him in his prison had flown in on the wings of a dream. (Location 3084)
    • Note: Crazy what a mind will do to with time
  • to a happy man, a prayer is a monotonous composition, void of meaning, until the day when suffering deciphers the sublime language through which the poor victim addresses God. (Location 3111)
  • mankind, on the contrary, is repelled by blood. It is not the laws of society that condemn murder, but the laws of nature.’ (Location 3523)
    • Note: Hm, not sure
  • ‘In Rome, I had nearly five thousand volumes in my library. By reading and re-reading them, I discovered that one hundred and fifty books, carefully chosen, give you, if not a complete summary of human knowledge, at least everything that it is useful for a man to know. I devoted three years of my life to reading and re-reading these hundred and fifty volumes, so that when I was arrested I knew them more or less by heart. In prison, with a slight effort of memory, I recalled them entirely. So I can recite to you Thucydides, Xenophon, Plutarch, Livy, Tacitus, Strada, Jornadès, Dante, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Spinoza, Machiavelli and Bossuet; I mention only the most important…’ (Location 3546)
  • I have to admit that my historical work is my favourite occupation. When I go back to the past, I forget the present. I walk free and independently through history, and forget that I am a prisoner.’ (Location 3561)
  • What might you not have done, had you been free?’ ‘Perhaps nothing: the overflowing of my brain might have evaporated in mere futilities. Misfortune is needed to plumb certain mysterious depths in the understanding of men; pressure is needed to explode the charge. My captivity concentrated all my faculties on a single point. They had previously been dispersed, now they clashed in a narrow space; and, as you know, the clash of clouds produces electricity, electricity produces lightning and lightning gives light.’ (Location 3632)
  • ‘There is a very profound axiom in law, which is consistent with what I told you a short time ago, and it is this: unless an evil thought is born in a twisted mind, human nature is repelled by crime. However, civilization has given us needs, vices and artificial appetites which sometimes cause us to repress our good instincts and lead us to wrongdoing.1 Hence the maxim: if you wish to find the guilty party, first discover whose interests the crime serves! Whose interests might be served by your disappearance?’ (Location 3652)
  • ... order is the key to all problems. (Location 3667)
  • ‘Alas, my child,’ he said, ‘human knowledge is very limited and when I have taught you mathematics, physics, history and the three or four modern languages that I speak, you will know everything that I know; and it will take me scarcely two years to transfer all this knowledge from my mind to yours.’ ‘Two years!’ said Dantès. ‘Do you think I could learn all this in two years?’ ‘In their application, no; but the principles, yes. Learning does not make one learned: there are those who have knowledge and those who have understanding. The first requires memory, the second philosophy.’ ‘But can’t one learn philosophy?’ ‘Philosophy cannot be taught. Philosophy is the union of all acquired knowledge and the genius that applies it: philosophy is the shining cloud upon which Christ set His foot to go up into heaven.’ (Location 3793)
  • Bit by bit, he had acquired an authority over his companions that allowed him to give orders as though he were the captain of the vessel; and since his orders were always clear, precise and easy to carry out, the crew obeyed him not only promptly but with pleasure. (Location 4772)
  • So Dantès, who three months earlier had wanted nothing except freedom, felt already not free enough, but wanted wealth. It was not the fault of Dantès, but of God who, while limiting the power of man, has created in him infinite desires! (Location 4831)
  • ‘Well, that just goes to show what I was saying, Monsieur l’Abbé: the Good Lord is only good to the wicked. Ah,’ he went on, with the exaggerated language usual to Southerners, ‘the world is going from bad to worse. If only the sky would rain gunpowder for two days and fire for an hour, and we could have done with it all!’ (Location 5259)
    • Note: Seems like a never ending rhetoric.
  • ‘And is he happy?’ ‘That, no one can tell. The secret of happiness and misery is between four walls; walls have ears, but not tongues. If you can be happy with a great fortune, then Danglars is happy.’ (Location 5515)
  • Only Greece had risen against Turkey and begun its war for independence. All eyes were on Athens: it was fashionable to feel sympathy for the Greeks and to support their cause. (Location 5539)
    • Note: How similar
  • In every country where independence takes the place of liberty, the first need felt by any strong mind and powerful constitution is to possess a weapon which can serve both for attack and defence; and which, by making its bearer formidable, will mean that he often inspires dread. (Location 7030)
  • So what the count said was true: there is no more interesting spectacle in life than the spectacle of death. And yet, instead of the silence that the solemnity of the occasion would seem to demand, a great noise rose from the crowd, a noise made up of laughter, booing and joyful cries. It was clear, as the count had also said, that the execution was nothing more for the people than the start of carnival. Suddenly the noise ceased as if by enchantment; the church door had just opened. (Location 8029)
  • ‘Look, look,’ the count continued, grasping each of the two young men by the hand. ‘Look, because I swear to you, this is worthy of your curiosity. Here is a man who was resigned to his fate, who was walking to the scaffold and about to die like a coward, that’s true, but at least he was about to die without resisting and without recriminations. Do you know what gave him that much strength? Do you know what consoled him? Do you know what resigned him to his fate? It was the fact that another man would share his anguish, that another man was to die like him, that another man was to die before him! Put two sheep in the slaughter-house or two oxen in the abattoir and let one of them realize that his companion will not die, and the sheep will bleat with joy, the ox low with pleasure. 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 that his neighbour is saved? A curse. All honour to man, the masterpiece of nature, the lord of creation!’ He burst out laughing, but such a terrible laugh that one realized he must have suffered horribly to be able to laugh in such a way. (Location 8075)
  • Perhaps what I am about to say will appear strange to you gentlemen, socialists, progressives, humanitarians as you are, but I never worry about my neighbour, I never try to protect society which does not protect me – indeed, I might add, which generally takes no heed of me except to do me harm – and, since I hold them low in my esteem and remain neutral towards them, I believe that society and my neighbour are in my debt.’ (Location 9361)
  • As for myself, I lived in the mountains, because I now had a double reason to fear the gendarmes and the Customs men, in view of the fact that my arraignment in front of a judge could lead to an enquiry, and every enquiry is an excursion into the past: in my past, now, they might come across something more serious than smuggled cigars or a few barrels of brandy being dispatched without the proper papers. So, preferring death a thousand times to arrest, I accomplished astonishing feats which, more than once, proved to me that our excessive concern with the welfare of our bodies is almost the only obstacle to the success of any of our plans, when these demand rapid decisions and vigorous and determined execution. In reality, once you have made the sacrifice of your life, you are no longer the equal of other men; or, rather, they are no longer your equal, because whoever has taken such a resolution instantly feels his strength increase ten times and his outlook vastly extended.’ (Location 10141)
    • Note: We are capable of more than we think.
  • ‘Don’t hope too much, Bertuccio,’ said the count. ‘The wicked do not die in that way: God seems to take them under his protection to use them as the instruments of his vengeance.’ (Location 10537)
  • is anything ever lost to mankind? The arts and sciences travel around the world, things change their name, that’s all, and ordinary people are deceived by it; the outcome is always the same. (Location 11820)
  • ‘Who are you going to fight?’ ‘Beauchamp.’ ‘But he’s a friend of yours!’ ‘It’s always one’s friends that one fights.’ (Location 17187)
  • ‘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.’ (Location 17213)
  • Normandy.’ ‘Why? Aren’t I free?’ ‘Free to go where you wish, alone, I know, since I met you on an escapade in Italy.’ ‘Well, then?’ ‘But are you free to come with the man called the Count of Monte Cristo?’ ‘You have a short memory, Count.’ ‘Why is that?’ ‘Didn’t I tell you how much my mother likes you?’ ‘Woman is often fickle, said François I; and woman is like the waves, said Shakespeare.3 One was a great king, the other a great poet, so they must have known women.’ ‘Yes, women. But my mother is not “women”, she is a woman.’ ‘A poor foreigner (Location 18575)
  • Some virtues, when taken to the extreme, become crimes. (Location 19426)
  • ‘Very well,’ said M. Danglars, who had been listening to this diatribe with utter imperturbability but not understanding a word of it because, like every man who is full of ulterior motives, he was preoccupied with finding his own train of thought in the speaker’s ideas. (Location 20298)
  • From her own point of view – and unfortunately in this world everyone has his or her own point of view which obscures that of others (Location 20990)
  • ‘Alas,’ said Monte Cristo, ‘our poor species can pride itself on the fact that every man thinks himself unhappier than another unfortunate, weeping and moaning beside him.’ (Location 23555)


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