The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo

Themes and Colors
Justice, Revenge, and God’s Will Theme Icon
Changes of Identity and Station Theme Icon
Love, Devotion, and Redemption Theme Icon
Debt and Gratitude Theme Icon
The Domestic and the Foreign Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Count of Monte Cristo, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

In The Count of Monte Cristo, Edmond Dantes finds himself imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, owing to the cowardice of four men: his jealous colleagues, Danglars, Fernand, and Caderousse, and the corrupt crown prosecutor Villefort, who falsifies Dantes’ case to save his own career. Dantes’ false imprisonment is devastating, because it steals from him all that he loves: his career success, his beloved fiancée, and even his…

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In The Count of Monte Cristo, people’s identities often shift due to reversals of fortune and deliberate assumptions of disguises. Dantes’ identity is the most in flux, as he is a master of disguise (living as the Count, the Abbe Busoni, Sinbad the Sailor, and Lord Wilmore) who also experiences two major reversals of fortune: his imprisonment, which steals his young life for fourteen years, and his finding the treasure of Monte Cristo

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The Count of Monte Cristo is a story of revenge and redemption, but Dumas presents both revenge and redemption as being motivated by love. At the beginning of the novel, Dantes is about to marry his love, Mercedes, but the jealousy of those around him leads him to be falsely imprisoned on his betrothal day, which takes away his young life and thwarts his romantic fulfillment. Dantes is also a dutiful son to his…

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Dumas plays on two senses of  the word “debt” in the novel: the first is money owed, and the second is a debt of gratitude, or a sense that one’s behavior follows from, or is informed by, the good graces of another. Financial debts in the novel offer opportunities for great gains in wealth, and also for ruin of one’s reputation—but they are, in either case, debts that are easy to comprehend and straightforward to…

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European life in the nineteenth-century depended on global trade. As a result, the fabric of European culture and society was shaped by the goods and services, and the cultural and political systems, of other European nations and of foreign lands. The constant mixing of cultures both near and far is a fixture of The Count of Monte Cristo, and its setting and characters are shown to be hybrids of different cultures simply by virtue…

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