The Full Monte Read-Along Chapters 41-80ish: I Need a Hero

If you have trouble maneuvering your ship into port at Marseilles, steer yourself over to the master post.

I need a hero in two senses:

  1. A hero who can get me back on track with this read-along
  2. A hero in this story so I can have feelings about it

I don’t mean a hero I can “root for” (ugh, hate that phrase.) And I don’t mean the archetypal hero, like, an Odysseus type. I don’t need a hero’s journey and I don’t need Dantès to be more virtuous.

Image result for cold mountain gif

Unless the Odysseus part is played by Jude Law, as in loose-Odyssey-adaptation Cold Mountain. Then I’m here for it.

I need him to be wrong sometimes, to go too far. I need him to get what he wants and realize he wanted the wrong thing. I need him to have a fatal flaw.

I need him to have some passion, damn it!

I guess what I need is more of a Byronic hero – which ironically, Dumas makes allusions to, fairly often. But I don’t see Dantès that way at all, at least, not yet. He’s getting his revenge, but it’s all so cold and calculated, and he never missteps (again, so far.) I want him to set the world on fire – and himself, too. I want to know what’s driving him – love for Mercédès? Bitterness over his lost youth? Grief for his father? Drug addiction? Lust for Haydée? All these elements are there, but we’re never in Dantès’ mind enough to really feel any of it.

Image result for wuthering heights gif heathcliff

Byronic Hero extraordinaire Heathcliff. I have got to watch the Tom Hardy adaptation one of these days.

I’m reminded of, and missing, two particular heroes, who also came from very humble backgrounds, achieved great wealth and status, and tried to use that to get revenge:

  1. Heathcliff. Emily Bronte’s 200th birthday has brought out the opinion pieces, including this one that wholly misinterpret’s his appeal (and this rebuttal). Readers don’t love Heathcliff because of the things he does, we love him because those things tell us how passionate he is. Heathcliff wreaks revenge on those around him, but he hurts himself most of all.
  2. Gatsby. We know what he wants and we know he’ll never get it, no matter how much money he throws around. Hard not to feel, as the kids say, all the feelings.

Speaking of Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, “Show me a hero, and I’ll write you a tragedy.” I guess I’m waiting for the tragedy.

Image result for gatsby gif

Gatsby showing us that he cares.

Anyone else off track? I’m getting there, though with the long weekend, I’m not sure I’ll get a post up for chapters 81-100 on Monday!

And tell me, what kind of hero do you like? Is Dantès doing it for you?

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7 comments

  1. themisanthropologist

    I actually loved The Count of Monte Cristo, but I know where you’re coming from. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I think Dantes was fairly nice to those who wronged him, considering. I would have liked him to be more Heathcliff-like…at least be more angry about what they did to him. Or….I guess he was angry, it just wasn’t projected all that well on paper. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed this novel.

  2. themisanthropologist

    BTW…I originally clicked on the article because of the Jude Law as Inman in Cold Mountain gif…loved that movie…and the book as well…so beautifully tragic 😦 (loved Jude Law in that movie too!)

  3. librepaley8

    True about Heathcliffe, vengeance and despair drive him and he accepts pain as part of the process with. There are no internal struggles, he is not tinged with darkness in the Byronic mould but is a vortex of darkness.

  4. britta böhler (@Britta_Boehler)

    I can see your point, but for me the lack of ‘passion’ made sense. There is so much plotting and intriguige and orchestrating that Monte Christo had to keep his cool, as it were. Plus it’s been more than 10 years since his escape, its not revenge in the heat of the moment but a cold & calculated one that took years of planning. He is more a criminal mastermind than a hotheaded revenge-seeker.

  5. Hanna @ Booking in Heels

    I’m off track with the posting, but not the reading. I’m enjoying this book so much that I haven’t struggled at all.
    I did forget to post last week though, so I’m trying to do a mishmash post as we speak. It’s not going well…

    I’m actually okay with him not having the passion. The amount of planning that must have gone into his schemes fits, for me, with the cold, calculating persona. Like, the fury and the passion was wiped out of him in prison and all that’s left is the manipulative scheming.

  6. Caitlin Higgins

    My latest theory to understand Edmond is that he is a ghost. He may physically be alive, but his life as he knew it was ended when he went to prison. Then when he escaped he was considered dead too and now he can’t ‘rest’ until he avenges the people that did this to him. When I think of the character that way, he makes more sense to me. He has been haunting his enemies now for 15+ years.

    I agree though, it would be nice to see his character be a little more human. It’s hard to accept that he can hang out with all these people again and just play along! He has more focus than I will ever have

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