Human beings with authority and power will have a natural tendency to believe that they are all powerful. Their strong reliance on their power creates a delusion of being godlike which makes their actions justifiable. However, overestimation of power will reveal their human limitations as well. In Count of Monte Cristo, the author, Alexandre Dumas explains this notion through the character of the Edmond Dantes. Although Edmond Dantes symbolizes God through his death and resurrection, he ironically displays many limitations as a flawed human being, which helps to explain his transformation to a humble man.
Edmond Dantes represents Christ through his resemblance to Christ’s descend to hell and resurrection from hell. During Dantes’ experience in Chateau d’If, Dantes described the Chateau d’If as an “abyss” (Dumas 34). The dark description of the word and its association with death implies that the Chateau d’If is a place of emptiness and suffering. To a greater extent, the author Dumas dramatically uses the archetype of fire when describing the Chateau d’If. It seems that with this archetype, the Chateau d’If is considered as a representation of spiritual hell for Dantes. In this hell, Dantes not only experiences physical death but also a spiritual death where his innocence dies away. The crucial point of his spiritual death occurs not inside the Chateau d’if but in the sea of the prison. When Dantes is thrown into the sea, he is “ to the bottom by a cannon ball to his feet” (66).
The cannonball tied to Dantes represents his innocent, loving and naï¿½ve self. When Dantes cuts off the rope holding the cannonball and rises up to the sea, his old self dies away in the sea, and he resurrects into a knowledgeable and mature man. Similarly, Jesus bears down all sins of men into the cross and when he resurrects from the grave, he is transformed into a divine and pure being. Furthermore, the author Dumas uses symbolism to show similarities with Dantes and Jesus. He points out the fact that Dantes is “nineteen when he the Chateau d’If; he now thirty-three” (70). The age 33 of Dantes is symbolic and representative of Jesus Christ’s age when he rises from the dead. It seems that with this intention, Dumas wants to emphasize the fact that Dantes is indeed a Christ figure in the novel. The Chateau d’if and Christ’s hell are significant in displaying the similar situations of Christ and Dantes but most importantly, Christ and Dantes’ resurrection shows evidence that Dantes indeed embodies the qualities of Christ.
Though Dantes symbolizes God in his power and resurrection, his human limitations are obviously shown through his limited control of justice and his need for repentance. Dantes believes that societal justice allows leeway for some people to escape justice and to be unpunished for their wrongdoings. His belief therefore sparks him to become an agent of Providence who fulfills the role of bringing punishments and revenge to his enemies. However, Dantes finally realizes his justification for his revenge is wrong when Edouard is dead and his “heart no longer beating.”(402). Even though Edouard is the son of Villefort, one of Dantes’ enemies, Dantes feels that he destroys an innocent life in the midst of punishing the guilty. For the first time, Dantes who is superior and almighty doubts his true goal for revenge. He recognizes that his purpose for revenge is a self-centered motive.
Because he is so determining to seek revenge, he neglects to consider the negative consequences of his actions. Dantes repents of his actions when “he can no longer say God is for me and with me” (403). Dantes acknowledges that all human beings have limitations in dealing with justice even though they have power and wealth. Only God alone can represent the true judge because God operates with flawlessness that is not attainable by men. Dantes admits that he is a flawed human being when he surprisingly forgives Danglars for his crimes against him because it also symbolizes Dantes’ need of forgiveness from God. With this, Dantes demonstrate that he is a flawed human with limitations who not only cannot carry out the justice of God but also needs the repentance from God.
Dantes’ resemblance of God through his resurrection and power reveals his limitations as a human being. Dantes’ demand of repentance and his bounded control of justice demonstrate that he cannot substitute himself as an agent of Providence. This aspect of relinquishing control and acknowledging God’s power is a significant life principle. Those who follow this concept can truly transform into a humble and faithful individual.