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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Monte Cristo vs. Jean Valjean

I just read The Count of Monte Cristo and the whole time I was comparing (or contrasting) Dantes (Monte Cristo) to Jean Valjean of Les Miserables. There are points of comparison and contrast for both characters.

Setting: 19th century France

Both were imprisoned. Monte Cristo was not guilty. Jean Valjean was guilty.
Both escaped prison.
After prison, both got rich. And both had hidden treasures to support them.
Both were influenced by a priest (and faith).

But while Jean Valjean was aiming towards reform and his salvation, Monte Cristo was plotting revenge against his enemies.

This was the part that got me confused. This hero (though more of an antihero really), played god. With his knowledge, power and wealth, he destroyed all his enemies, though he planned it so he himself would not do the act. You can say he was disguised as an angel. Then after all the evil he has done, he sought for a sign from God that what he did was right. Should I admire this character? Well all I know is he's no Jean Valjean.

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