Edmond Dantes, at the end of his journey, is not found in the situation he previously intended for himself. Instead, after failing to achieve his initial goals, he is found in a new relationship with Haydee. In The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas shows, through Dantes? journey, that a person?s efforts do not always deal the intended outcomes, and often cause unintended consequences.
Dantes is faced with a tragedy that ruins the prosperous life he had with his love, Mercedes. During his time in prison, he is taught much about life by a priest named Abbe Faria. He also leaves him a vast fortune located on the island of Monte Cristo (from which he assumes the name of his alter ego, the Count of Monte Cristo). Unintentionally, Faria sparked the desire in Dantes for vengeance. Dantes believes that if justice is exacted on those who wronged him, than he can return to the life he had with Mercedes. Faria told him he regrets what he has taught Dantes, and when Dantes questions it, he replies, ?Because it has instilled a new passion in your heart-that of vengeance? (Count of Monte Cristo, p. 194). Faria is a brilliant man, yet his did not mean to create this desire for vengeance in Dantes. Through this situation, Dumas shows the reader that actions often deal unintended consequences. This foreshadows the future actions of Dantes that go without the aspired outcomes. When Faria dies, Dantes loses the only person left in his life, and thus becomes a cold shell of the man he used to be. It is said that ?Dant?s loses the capacity to feel any emotion other than hatred for those who have harmed him and gratitude toward those who have tried to help him? (SparkNotes). Dantes is left with a void in his life, and looks to recreate the past in which he was happy to fill it.
Dantes, in his effort to bring him back with the woman he loved, takes vengeance upon his wrongdoers, one of them being Danglars. He takes all his money from him as a result of Danglars? own pride, and due to massive debt, Danglars attempts to run away from the situation. He is jailed and starved, only being sold food for unreasonably high prices. Danglars finally admits to regretting his terrible ways as Dantes reveals himself. He has gone through a truly awful situation, a great form of vengeance, yet Dantes does not feel the pride in his actions that he intended to feel. He thought that he could take justice into his own hands, not realizing that it would not bring him to the happiness he once knew. He later claims in a letter to Maxamilian that he ?thought himself, for an instant, equal to God; but who now acknowledges, with Christian humility, that God alone possesses supreme power and infinite wisdom? (Count of Monte Cristo, p. 1461). He realizes that he could not achieve his happiness by dealing justice in others, and that God was the only one who could do such a thing. Also, because he cause Danglars to lose all of his money, he inadvertently caused the loss of a love in Madame Danglars, whose lover, Lucien Debary, only wanted her for Danglars? money. However, due to his god complex, he felt as if her misfortunes were deserved, and thus had no sympathy for her. It is said that ?His claim to represent a higher justice seems to justify actions and inactions that are as morally reprehensible as those that sent him to prison? (Schirf). Dumas shows through these conflicts that actions, such as Dante?s, do not always deal the wanted feelings, and can hurt those who do not necessarily deserve it.
Another of Dante?s wrongdoers was Fernand Mondego. Fernand had married Mercedes when Dantes was in prison, so Dantes takes vengeance upon him in hopes that he will get his lover back. He wins back Mercedes and her son complies, both realizing the treachery that Fernand did to achieve his wealth. Fernand comes to Dantes? home, challenging him to a duel only if he is told what Dantes true identity is. Dantes tells him, and Fernand runs to his house, only to find his wife and son leaving forever. In his remorse, he kills himself. Dantes later finds this regretful, as it ultimately did not find him any joy.