The Count of Monte Cristo

novel by Alexandre Dumas

The Count of Monte Cristo is an 1844 novel by Alexandre Dumas about the swashbuckling adventures of Edmond Dantès, a dashing young sailor falsely accused of treason. It provides the story of his long imprisonment, dramatic escape, and carefully wrought revenge.

The sum of all human wisdom will be contained in these two words: Wait and hope
See also: The Count of Monte Cristo, a 2002 film loosely based upon the book

Quotes edit

  • "We are never quits with those who oblige us," was Dantes' reply; "for when we do not owe them money, we owe them gratitude."
  • Drunk, if you like; so much the worse for those who fear wine, for it is because they have bad thoughts which they are afraid the liquor will extract from their hearts.
  • Private misfortunes must never induce us to neglect public affairs.
  • "How strange," continued the king, with some asperity; "the police think that they have disposed of the whole matter when they say, 'A murder has been committed,' and especially so when they can add, 'And we are on the track of the guilty persons.'"
  • There is … a clever maxim which bears upon what I was saying to you some little while ago, and that is, that unless wicked ideas take root in a naturally depraved mind, human nature, in a right and wholesome state, revolts at crime. Still, from an artificial civilisation have originated wants, vices, and false tastes, which occasionally become so powerful as to stifle within us all good feelings, and ultimately to lead us into guilt and wickedness...
  • "You must teach me a small part of what you know," said Dantes, "if only to prevent your growing weary of me. I can well [[believe] that so learned a person as yourself would prefer absolute solitude to being tormented with the company of one as ignorant and uninformed as myself. If you will only agree to my request, I promise you never to mention another word about escaping." The abbe smiled. "Alas, my boy," said he, "human knowledge is confined within very narrow limits; and when I have taught you mathematics, physics, history, and the three or four modern languages with which I am acquainted, you will know as much as I do myself. Now, it will scarcely require two years for me to communicate to you the stock of learning I possess."
    "Two years!" exclaimed Dantes; "do you really believe I can acquire all these things in so short a time?"
    "Not their application, certainly, but their principles you may; to learn is not to know; there are the learners and the learned. Memory makes the one, philosophy the other."
  • The patron of The Young Amelia proposed as a place of landing the Island of Monte Cristo, which being completely deserted, and having neither soldiers nor revenue officers, seemed to have been placed in the midst of the ocean since the time of the heathen Olympus by Mercury, the god of merchants and robbers, classes of mankind which we in modern times have separated if not made distinct, but which antiquity appears to have included in the same category.
    • Chapter 22 : The Smugglers
  • And now, farewell to kindness, humanity and gratitude… I have substituted myself for Providence in rewarding the good; may the God of vengeance now yield me His place to punish the wicked.
  • You have, then, not forgotten that I saved your life; that is strange, for it is a week ago.
    • Chapter 37 : The Catacombs of Saint Sebastian
  • “No, monsieur,” returned Monte Cristo “upon the simple condition that they should respect myself and my friends. Perhaps what I am about to say may seem strange to you, who are socialists, and vaunt humanity and your duty to your neighbor, but I never seek to protect a society which does not protect me, and which I will even say, generally occupies itself about me only to injure me; and thus by giving them a low place in my esteem, and preserving a neutrality towards them, it is society and my neighbor who are indebted to me.”

    “Bravo,” cried Chateau–Renaud; “you are the first man I ever met sufficiently courageous to preach egotism. Bravo, count, bravo!”

    • Chapter 40 : The Breakfast
  • Ah, here comes your proud and selfish nature to the fore! Well, well, I have once again found a man ready to hack at another's self-respect with a hatchet, but who cries out when his own is pricked with a pin.
    • Dantes
    • Variant translation: Ah, there is your proud and selfish nature. You would expose the self-love of another with a hatchet, but you shrink if your own is attacked with a needle.
    • Chapter 45 : The Rain of Blood
  • But really, my dear Count, we are talking as much of women as they do of us: it is unpardonable.
    • Albert, Chapter 54. A Flurry in Stocks
  • No one would have thought in looking at this old, weather-beaten, floral-decked tower (which might be likened to an elderly dame dressed up to receive her grandchildren at a birthday feast) that it would have been capable of telling strange things, if,—in addition to the menacing ears which the proverb says all walls are provided with, — it had also a voice. The garden was crossed by a path of red gravel, edged by a border of thick box, of many years' growth, and of a tone and color that would have delighted the heart of Delacroix, our modern Rubens. This path was formed in the shape of the figure of 8, thus, in its windings, making a walk of sixty feet in a garden of only twenty.
    Never had Flora, the fresh and smiling goddess of gardeners, been honored with a purer or more scrupulous worship than that which was paid to her in this little enclosure. In fact, of the twenty rose-trees which formed the parterre, not one bore the mark of the slug, nor were there evidences anywhere of the clustering aphis which is so destructive to plants growing in a damp soil.
    • Chapter 61 : How a Gardener May Get Rid of the Dormice that Eat His Peaches
  • "Calm yourself, my friend," said the count, with the smile which he made at will either terrible or benevolent, and which now expressed only the kindliest feeling; "I am not an inspector, but a traveller, brought here by a curiosity he half repents of, since he causes you to lose your time."
    • Chapter 61 : How a Gardener May Get Rid of the Dormice that Eat His Peaches
  • Monte Cristo had seen enough. Every man has a devouring passion in his heart, as every fruit has its worm; that of the telegraph man was horticulture. He began gathering the grape-leaves which screened the sun from the grapes, and won the heart of the gardener. "Did you come here, sir, to see the telegraph?" he said.
    "Yes, if it isn't contrary to the rules."
    "Oh, no," said the gardener; "not in the least, since there is no danger that anyone can possibly understand what we are saying."
    "I have been told," said the count, "that you do not always yourselves understand the signals you repeat."
    "That is true, sir, and that is what I like best," said the man, smiling.
    "Why do you like that best?"
    "Because then I have no responsibility. I am a machine then, and nothing else, and so long as I work, nothing more is required of me."
    "Is it possible," said Monte Cristo to himself, "that I can have met with a man that has no ambition? That would spoil my plans."
    • Chapter 61 : How a Gardener May Get Rid of the Dormice that Eat His Peaches
  • "Oh, sir, what are you proposing?"
    "A jest."
    • Chapter 61 : How a Gardener May Get Rid of the Dormice that Eat His Peaches
  • "Now you are rich," said Monte Cristo.
    "Yes," replied the man, "but at what a price!"
    "Listen, friend," said Monte Cristo. "I do not wish to cause you any remorse; believe me, then, when I swear to you that you have wronged no man, but on the contrary have benefited mankind."
    • Chapter 61 : How a Gardener May Get Rid of the Dormice that Eat His Peaches
  • "The sum of all human wisdom will be contained in these two words: Wait and hope."
    • Chapter 73 : The Fifth of October
  • There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more

Quotes about the book edit

  • I guess the Count of Monte Cristo is an antihero — he’s not a villain, but he’s not a role model either. He works a very, very long con to exact revenge on the men who betrayed him, but by the end he realizes the perils of trying to play god and the limitations of his own morality. My interpretation of that novel has changed as I’ve read it at different stages of my life, and right now, I see it as an exploration of the complexities of good and evil and how easily one shifts into the other.

External links edit

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