The Count of Monte Cristo

Book Review 2: The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas

I recently finished reading the Count of Monte Cristo. I only ever knew the plot of the first few chapters of the book, and was happy to find that even the story beyond the imprisonment and famous escape is very interesting. I was intrigued by the lengths that Monte Cristo takes to know his rivals and to awaken the ghosts from their past. He strives equally to bless the benefactors of his past as curse his betrayers and his actions are like a strategic game of chess. He attempts to play God, but in the end realizes that his heart can’t sustain it. And although his humanity comes apparent as occasional glimpses, he seems most deserving of the divine role by the patience and wisdom obtained from reaching and returning from a place of no hope. Similar to the the previous book I read, Speaker for the Dead, I enjoyed the subtleties of the characters as expressed in their comportments and conversation. It was by pale face or hidden meaning in his words that the true Dante would occasionally be revealed. I think the lesson that I got from the book is that we can have great impact on the lives of those around us by our actions, be it for the worse or for the better. It is another book that awakens the realities of the human condition. Here are some of my favourite quotes:

“He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness… Live, then and be happy beloved children of my heart and never forget that until the day when God shall deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is summed up in these two words – wait and hope.”

“Those born to wealth, and who have the means of gratifying every wish, know not what is the real happiness of life, just as those who have been tossed on the stormy waters of the ocean on a few frail planks can alone realize the blessings of fair weather.”

“Often we pass beside happiness without seeing it, without looking at it, or even if we have seen and looked at it, without recognizing it.”

“Life is a storm. One minute you will bathe under the sun and the next you will be shattered upon the rocks. That’s when you shout, “Do your worst, for I will do mine!” and you will be remembered forever.”
“On what slender threads do life and fortune hang.”

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