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Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie, otherwise known as Alexandre Dumas was born on July 24th 1802. He was a prolific writer who hailed from France and his well deserved fame is attributed to his history-inspired novels, which have propelled him to the position of one of the French writers whose works have enjoyed extensive reading worldwide. His novels include 'The Three Musketeers', The Vicomte de Bragelonne', 'Twenty Years After' and 'The Count of Monte Cristo'. He was also a distinguished correspondent and a honored playwright. (Gorman 2).
The focus of this paper is to highlight the aspects of real life evident in 'The Count of Monte Cristo'.
The events in 'The Count of Monte Cristo' revolve around the life of the novel's chief protagonist. Edmond Dantes, who at the age of nineteen, appears to have a bright future ahead of him. At the same moment that he is about to be honored with the captainship of a ship, he has a stable engagement with the beautiful, equally young and good hearted Mercedes, and as if this is not enough fortune for one man, he is also very charismatic and almost everyone who knows him likes and admires him. However, Dantes' fortunes change for the worst at feast just before his wedding when he is taken prisoner for charges of treason. Although he is an innocent man, he has fallen victim to an elaborate plot hatched by his so called friends; Danglars, who is a sailor just like Dante's is jealous of his promotion , and Fernand, who is seeing red after he lost Mercedes to Dantes.
The two enlist the help of Villefort, a prosecutor well known for his corrupt ways, to facilitate the imprisonment of Dantes in the most secure prison reserved for political prisoners; the Château d'If. Even though the reason for Dante's imprisonment is not made clear, even to him, he is locked behind bars for fourteen years.
However, with the unfolding of the plot, it becomes apparent that lady luck never stopped smiling at Dante, because it is during his extended prison term that he gets to know and build a close relationship with Abbé Faria. It is fascinating that Faria has been engaged in the gruesome work of digging a tunnel that he hoped would lead him to freedom, but he instead ends up in Dante's cell. Abbé imparts his extensive knowledge to Dante, and even reveals to him the whereabouts of a secret treasure, which has remained buried on an Island in the Mediterranean ocean known as Monte Cristo. Dante is able to secure his freedom when Abbé dies and he switches the corpse with himself and swims to freedom when he is tossed into the sea by the jailors. He proceeds to recover the hidden treasure and then embarks on one of the most extensively planned and perfectly executed revenge missions recorded in writing. He takes out all those who engineered his downfall and at the end of his mission, he allows himself to fall in love with Haydée, an adorable lady who is equally as beautiful as Mercédès, thus restoring every aspect of his life that his enemies took away.
The novel is firmly rooted in history, with a major it of the main plot points resonating with political events that occurred during the life of Alexander Dumas. Napoleon Bonaparte, the main figure in the political history of France , enjoys evident admiration in Duma's works, and this is most evident in 'The Count of Monte Cristo'. The role that he plays in the novel is so evident that he inarguably deserves the recognition as the novel's invisible and yet most prominent characters. Duma's father; Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, was a general in Napoleon's army, and the admiration that the younger Duma had for Napoleon appears not to have been affected by the fall out between his father and Napoleon which led his family to poverty, with his father having been denied the pay due to ex-officers.( Hemmings 14).
The novel unfolds with Edmond Dantes finding Napoleon in exile in the Elba Island. Napoleon had been compelled to abdicate his throne in 1814 after an impending military defeat and an increasing number of enemies had dogged his reign. The novel is set one year later. This is also the time that Napoleon deserted Elba, embarked on a secret sailing expedition to France and ejected the royal troops from the city of Paris, thus taking over power. This was in March 1815. It is in fact the information about Napoleon's taking over power again that provides the evidence for Dantès imprisonment, as it is found in the form of a letter that he was to convey to Paris.
Dumas himself was one dramatic and dashing character who had a passion for foreign adventures, love affairs and lavish living. His love affairs with two different mistresses are well known. Dante is of similar character and appears as the larger than life character who is also a reflection of Duma's real life. He is the hero in Duma's romantic novel and thus brings to life the action, heroism, love and adventure that characterize his own life.