The Count of Monte Cristo Literary Analysis

The Count of Monte Cristo is a book written by French author Alexandre Dumas. It features the story of a young man who is the victim of false imprisonment by a friend. After the young man escapes from prison, he uses hidden treasures to exact revenge. It is an amazing book filled with numerous literary devices. However, metaphors do not feature prominently and there are few of them. As the reader goes through the book, a clear theme emerges Dantez realization that he cannot take God’s role. As a consequence of this, there is no need for such metaphors. Below is a literary analysis of the metaphors found in the book.

Firstly, the title of the book, “The Count of Monte Cristo” is used metaphorically. It may mislead the reader into thinking that the book is a story of power. From the story, we learn how Dantez became the Count because it is on the island of Monte Cristo that he found the hidden treasure. This metaphorically represents hidden wealth and power, which is known only to some. Like Dantez, his true identity is known only by a few people, but from his appearance, he seems like a wealthy and powerful man. The name of Christ is also expertly used to metaphorically represent Dante’s deeds in acting as God. He punishes the wrongdoers and rewards those that did right by him and his family and friends.

Secondly, the sea as used in the book has metaphorical significance. When Dantez escapes from prison, he dives into the sea, thereby experiencing the second baptism of sorts. By this, he renews the dedication of his soul to God. During his time in prison, he suffered a metaphorical death, which was the death of his loving and innocent self. He emerges from the sea as a hateful and bitter man, bent on exacting vengeance upon his foes. The sea’s waters wash him and give him freedom and he is completely reborn as a transformed man. After spending years in the cell, he is no longer an innocent young sailor, but rather a distrustful, hardened and bitter man. It is this baptism that changes him from Dantez to the Count of Monte Cristo and propels him into deceit and treachery. Throughout the novel, the sea continually features prominently even after Dante’s metaphorical baptism. He considers himself as a citizen of no country and chooses to spend his time traveling the world on the ocean in his yacht. Constantly beckoning to Dantez, the sea seems to offer him perpetual solitude and escape.

Thirdly, the red silk purse is used metaphorically in the book. This is perhaps the most prominent metaphor used in the novel. The purse initially belonged to Dantez’s father. It was given to Dantez’s poor father by Monsieur Morrel after he had been extorted of everything by Caderousse. After Dantez returns to Marseille, he recovers the purse and puts a gem inside it. He then uses the purse to pay a debt that Morrel, who was contemplating suicide, owed. The red purse is, therefore, a metaphorical representation of how good deed is rewarded. Although it appears as if Dantez had saved Morrel’s life, in essence, he was repaying a debt that he owed to Morrel for saving his father. After recognizing the purse, Morrel deduces the link between the good deed he had once done and the good deed that had been performed on his behalf. He then metaphorically regards Dantez to be his savior and surmises that Dantez was working from the afterlife (beyond the grave). Julie, Morrel’s daughter, lays emphasis on the metaphorical significance of the purse by constantly displaying it as a reminder of the miraculous salvation of her father.

Fourthly, Dumas uses the elixir as a metaphorical object. The elixir is a potent potion that seems to possess the power of life and death – to kill and to make alive. This is a power that Dantez came to believe in so powerfully. Dantezs’ overestimation of the power of the elixir metaphorically represents his overestimation of his own might. It is also a metaphorical reflection of his delusion of being a god and his averment that he had the capacity and right of acting as Providence’s agent. When Dantez is faced with Edward’s corpse, it is significant that he first thinks to resuscitate the boy by using the elixir. The elixir, of course, is not potent enough to bring the dead to life. This is similar to Dantez’s inability to accomplish divine feats. Just as the power of carrying out ultimate justice and retribution lies with God, so is the power to give life. When Dantez realizes and accepts that the elixir has limitations, he acknowledges his own limitations as a mere mortal.

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