© 2019 The Rural Hen

The Count of Monte Cristo


I've been putting off writing this post, since I am curious as to whether or not I might enjoy the film as much as the book (ya, shocking, I know!) and wanted to watch it before writing this (the 2002 version with Jim Caviezel). However, I have yet to beg, borrow, steal, or even rent a copy or download; so I'm going to write now and edit/update later.


Now, I'm not saying that I didn't enjoy the book—the story captivated me and even kept me reading way past my bedtime many nights. That said, there were sections that I only read so that I could say that I had.


I'll divide this story into 4 parts:


Part one introduces several nasty people and a very good, but painfully naive, one. I found this part the most difficult to persevere through: dropping a book out of sheer boredom is one thing; to drop it and run due to an overwhelming sense of impending doom, feelings of extreme hopelessness, and the exhaustion from the righteous indignation that follows, is quite another. Okay, I may be exaggerating slightly. But only slightly.


Part two was easily my favourite, as young and good Edmond Dantés is severely wronged by the aforementioned nasty people and is basically given a life—and death—sentence in Château d'If. Now, you would think that this is where I'd want to stop, drop (the book) and run. But no. This is where the story finally starts! This is where I was sucked into, not the plot, but the dynamics of Dantés father/son relationship with a fellow prisoner. The Abbé Faria is an extremely learned man who imparts both his knowledge and wisdom to his young friend. Together they unravel the mystery of those responsible for Dantés arrest and sentence, and Dantés begins to dream of retribution. At this point, I have a pretty good idea of how I want the story to end. But it doesn't quite take me there.


Part three, the bulk of the story and where our protagonist re-enters society as the Count of Monte Cristo, is where I get a bit lost. Too many subplots, too many new character introductions, too many events, and waaaaay too many names, surnames, and titles used interchangeably. My head swam, and I guess that's what I get for reading past my bedtime. This is also where I decide that, if I just keep reading, it will all come together in the end. And for the most part, it does.


The fourth and final saga brings all these characters into perspective with the plot, and the Count of Monte Cristo begins to have his long awaited vengeance. In reality, the events that bring about the final ruin of his enemies isn't directly his doing; had these individuals repented of their evil ways years prior to Edmond Dantés' return, things could have turned out much differently for them. Ultimately, sinful and deviant living brings its own reward, and the righteous has only to bide his time. Our young hero does eventually find true love and his happily-ever-after; but, like I said, it doesn't come about in the way I thought (or hoped) that it would.


So, now in wrapping up these musings, I'm having second thoughts about watching the movie. After all, it's admittedly based only loosely on the events of the novel and, while the changes/additions/omissions may lend themselves well to the film, they may also leave out or skim over the features that were most endearing to me, and maybe even taint, in my opinion, the character of Edmond Dantés.


Ya. I think I'll leave it with the book and call it good.








P.S.


I just finished writing this post last night, and now today the world watches as the Notre Dame Cathedral burns. It's heartbreaking really—eight-hundred years of Christian history gone. During a quick 2 day visit to Paris in 2015, my daughter and I climbed the towers for a face to face with the legendary gargoyles. My next trip's list included worshiping inside the cathedral, and I'm feeling a little sorry for myself that it can't happen now. But my heart really goes out to the Parisians who will face this sad reality daily, as the cathedral's spire no longer graces the Paris skyline.