Jose Rizal and Alexandre Dumas

Since early childhood, Jose Rizal already loved books. His mother, Doña Teodora Alonzo taught him how to read a material in Spanish language and developed his mind and artistic talents by telling him wonderful and colourful stories and poems. Furthermore, his Tio Gregorio, a book lover, intensified his reading of good books. The favourite pastime of Rizal during his stay in Madrid was reading. Instead of gambling and flirting with women as many young Filipinos did in the Spanish metropolis, he stayed home and read voraciously until midnight.

I can relate Rizal’s love on books to my passion. Since my high school days, I was drawn to insightful books and magazines.

Unfortunately, this passion of mine was not developed early enough because our school’s library back then is poorly-equipped. There are only few books and most of them are outdated but I managed to gain insights from them. By the time I went to the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) in Cebu City to pursue my college studies, I was very much excited when I found out that the institution has a very fascinating library.

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The size of our library in high school is only one percent of the library of this University. I was amazed by the myriad of new and insightful books displayed in the book shelves. Furthermore, the facility has a huge space so that it can accommodate lots of students.

It is during my stay in this University did enhance my reading skills and develop my personal character through reading good and informative books.

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Through reading lots of books and magazines as well as surfing in the internet, I was able to widen my knowledge and nurtured my soul. I gained lots of information and wisdom from these reading materials. Moreover, my vocabulary and grammar had also improved through knowing the meaning of new words I read from the books. Indeed, reading will truly bring you liberty– freedom in your mind and soul. One of the most favourite novels of Rizal was the Count of Monte Cristo which was authored by Alexander Dumas. This novel—which portrays the story of Edmond Dantes– instilled his romantic cravings. Accordingly, the life of Edmond Dantes was a story of hope, vengeance, forgiveness, and mercy. This novel was an excellent example of pure wisdom and love. The theme of its story struck Rizal’s genius mind and unique character. The novel became a favourite reading material of the hero during his teenage years.

On the other hand, I can say that this story of Edmond Dantes was truly one of a kind during the times of Alexander Dumas. The story would show us the evil side of human person– selfishness and pride. In fact, the events in the story still exist during these times. One good example is the corruption and injustices happening in our country. To name a few: the case of Ampatuan Massacre which until now is still not resolved and the families of the unfortunate victims still not able to taste justice of the crime; and the unending corruption in the Philippines. Furthermore, we can also relate the theme of the story to each of us. The novel was an epic adventure of a human being’s nature and emotions. I can say that it is natural for us to feel angry to those who had wronged us. When we hold grudge to someone, we are compelled to take revenge in order to satisfy our feelings of anger. In fact, this kind of emotional adventure has already happened to me once then and I learned so much out from that experience. Surely, it had also happened to someone else on this planet and many lives are torn apart just because of the selfishness and pride of some people.

However, when we surrender everything we feel to God and feeling all those emotions of anger without trying to change anything that has happened to us– we will soon be enlightened and forgiveness will step our way. When everything is already enough and we feel that many people have been affected just because of that feeling of anger and revenge, we start to forgive those who had wronged us. Accordingly, this is one of the best feelings we experience as humans because in forgiveness you see peace and love. When you forgive a person, it means that you are letting go of that grudge and finds your way to peace and happiness. Indeed, the Lord Jesus taught us to forgive those who had wronged us. Even He Himself died in the cross in order for us to be redeemed from our sins and to experience new life. That’s how huge God’s love for us. Thus, it is fine when we have to undergo feelings of anger towards a person.

It is good to feel it rather than rejecting it because when we start running from the truth that we are angry at the person– and all we just feel is revenge– we start to hurt ourselves and others. Our health will be destroyed so much that our relationships will be in much chaos. Perhaps, this novel nurtured the spirit of Rizal to fight Spanish tyranny. He was consciously aware of the atrocities and maltreatment that some Spanish officials and friars did to his fellowmen. Corruption and injustice were everywhere but most of the Filipinos were not aware of it. The powerful Spanish Friars just used the Catholic Religion in order to cover their corrupt actions. But Rizal knew that there was something wrong and he must act to fight it. Furthermore, another two books that deeply affected Rizal were Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Eugene Sue’s The Wandering Jew. These two books aroused his sympathy for the oppressed and unfortunate Filipino people.

He further developed and liberated his mind by reading various books and studying the different lives and cultures of the European countries. He was desperate to free his suffering countrymen from slavery and torture. As much as Rizal did free his mind to venture into the unknowns and to find out that everything that the tyrants did were wrong through fervent studying, he also liberated the minds of his countrymen through writing his first novel “Noli Me Tangere”. Indeed, Noli was a very excellent novel that showed the truth– that the tyrants are torturing the Filipino people. Because of this novel, the Spanish friars were enraged and they tried to protect themselves by attacking the novel. However, truth will always prevail and the good will always win. I can say that Rizal was designated by God to be the saviour of the Filipino people against Spanish tyranny and we can see this through his unique genius and patriotism.

He loved his countrymen and he found wisdom in every wrong thing happening in his country. He tried to find a way in order to correct this wrongdoing and he prepared himself to free his countrymen. Indeed, Rizal was a true liberator. And one of the factors that encouraged him to liberate his mind and his people was reading good books. Thus, I can say that reading can free your mind from negative “stinking” beliefs that blinded you from seeing the right and positive way of living. In fact, I could say that some of our beliefs that we developed and inherited based from our past experiences and influences are all lies.

They need to be removed in order for us to see the truth, the right direction and the most eternal way. And we can do this through reading and acquiring wisdom and knowledge. Our lives are driven by our own beliefs and those beliefs brought us to where we are right now whether those beliefs are right or wrong. As much as Rizal freed his countrymen from Spanish tyranny through using his exemplary character and outstanding genius, we can also free our minds against the negative thoughts that are barring our minds to see the right way towards living the most out of life through continued developing of our character and perseverance and passion to learn new things even to the things that we do not know. That’s a true heroism!

Alexandre Dumas` The Count of Monte Cristo

The novel tells the story of Edmond Dantes, who was born in 1802 in the village of Villers-Cotterets, which was fifty miles northeast of Paris. Most of the story takes place from 1815 to 1844 in Paris, the other key scenes are in Marseilles, Rome, Monte Cristo, Greece, and Constantinople. Dantes is a courageous and honorable nineteen-year-old who by virtue of his good heart believes it is good in everyone. After he was recently appointed as the captain of the ship and set to marry the love of his life all was going well up until he was falsely imprisoned without trial. His imprisonment happened due to the conspiring plot of his downfall by his friends, Fernand Mondego, Danglars, and Caderousse. They had become jealous of him due to his pleasant circumstances and his series of coincidental luck. We will later see how Dantes transforms while in prison after meeting Abbe Faria and takes on three or four aliases to accomplish his revenge.

Mercedes, Dantes one time fiancé was the love of his life. Once his false imprisonment happened she gave in and accepted that fate had other plans for her and moved on from Dantes. Though she is a good and kind woman, her timid and passive character trait leads her to betray her beloved Dantes and instead marries another man, Mondego. Because of her actions, Mercedes remains miserable for the rest of her life, despising herself for her weakness and longing for Dantes, whom she has never stopped loving.

Fernand Mondego was the fisherman who betrayed Dantes due to his obsession and love for Mercedes. After Dantes imprisonment, Military heroism brings fortune to Fernand. He then changes his name to Count de Morcerf. Dantes will later cause Fernand to commit suicide after revealing his military treason. He betrayed his benefactor in Greece, Ali Pasha. He surrendered the Greek city and sold Ali’s wife and daughter into slavery. Therefore we see how his good fortune spirals out of control.

Danglars is the main person behind the letter that incriminates Dantes. As a reward of Dantes incarceration, He becomes captain of the ship. He also becomes a banker with an incredible fortune and let’s not leave out he becomes a Baron. He and his wife are estranged because she ruins part of his fortune. He has one daughter named Eugenie. Monte Cristo gets his revenge by ruining the other half of Danglars fortune leaving him bankrupt.

Then there is Caderousse, who was known as Dantes neighbor as well as a good friend. He was a greedy man who envied Dantes and because of his greed, he ends up destroying himself. When Dantes returns as Abbe Busoni, he gives Caderousse a diamond as part of his plan and Caderousse ends up killing the jeweler who purchases it along with his wife. He then gets incarcerated, A few years later Dantes visits his prison as Lord Wilmore and helps him break free as part of Dantes’ punishment towards him. Caderousse did not learn his lesson, he was still the same greedy man. Therefore he dies in Monte Cristo’s house murdered by his old friend Benedetto. The Count reveals his identity to Caderousse while taking his last few breaths.

Which brings us to the next key character, Gerard De Villefort, a sinister and driven prosecutor who is willing to take any risk to get ahead in his political career. We will see what lengths he will go to rise up the political ladder. For example, Villefort imprisons Dantes for life so he can save his own father who is an anti-royalist traitor. Not even his family is immune from his actions because after his second wife murders some of his family he decides to cover it up to protect himself. This is important because we later see how Dantes uses his actions against him to avenge himself.

The next main character in the plot is Abbe Faria, A priest and brilliant thinker whom Dantès meets in prison. Abbé Faria becomes Dantès’s influential father-like figure. During their many years as prisoners, he teaches Dantès many subjects such as language, history, philosophy, science and much more. He also leaves Dantès with what we find out to be his biggest secret which was his large hidden fortune on a treasure map. His character is one of the most important figures in Dantes’s moral transformation into the vengeful Count of Monte Cristo.

Then Last character(s) in the story that we will detail here is Dantes multiple aliases. After 10 years, Dantes appears in Rome and reinvents himself and takes on a few new names and identities to accomplish his revenge. He first impersonates himself as The Count of Monte Cristo after emerging from prison and pursuing his revenge. He then takes on the name Lord Wilmore when committing generous acts and contributions to society. Then after that, he took on the identity of Abbe Busoni, an Italian priest who is meant to be a positive public figure and gain people’s trust which therefore allowed Dantes to acquire key info about Caderousse and his part in all of this. Lastly, Edmond Dantes becomes Sinbad the sailor and gets back at Gerard De Villefort and arranges for Maximilian Morrel and Valentine Villefort to be together. All of these characters were very important because they represent a moral persona in the development of Dantes different characters.

On the surface, the Plot of The Count of Monte Cristo appears to be straightforward and tells the story of Dantes and his struggle of losing everything and his journey to gaining back his humanity, but it’s deeper than that. Instead, Dumas, while writing this novel in a third person’s point of view, provides three overarching philosophical themes and creates a structural identification between the characters moral choices in pursuit of revenge. Then he suggests that those choices are governed by philosophical views on the Limits of human justice, Relative Happiness versus Absolute Happiness and lastly the choice of Love versus the Alienation conflict.

First off, Dumas allows the reader to share Dantes emotions during each transitional event in the novel in order to understand how each event resulted in a theme that impacted his moral judgment. For Example, The betrayal by his friends devastates Dantes and impacts how he views morality which brings us to the first overarching theme. The limits of human Justice, we see Dantes decides to take justice into his own hands the moment he becomes the Count of Monte Cristo. At this point, Dantes does not believe there is adequate justice for the crimes committed against him. This is important because Dantes realizes human justice is limited by human compassion, tolerance, and knowledge whereas prior to that he was known as a naïve honorable individual that believes every man leads with good intentions. He eventually deals with the situation by wanting to punish everyone involved to get justice while rewarding those who were kind to him.

Secondly, during his transformation, while incarcerated, Dantes decided to alienate himself in isolation. Which brings me to the next theme, love versus alienation. During his imprisonment, Dantes could have decided to use love as a guiding force to look forward to an escape in the name of it but he decided to exile himself from humanity. Dantes disconnects from society when his new found mentor and motivator, Abbe Faria, Dies. Faria even foreshowed this in his concerns prior to his death. This moment is important because not only does the death of Abbe Faria devastates him, when Dantes learns of his father’s death and that his longtime love Mercedes gets married, his isolation from society becomes complete. Love is no more and this causes Dantes to completely shut off his humanity. Therefore he cares no more to represent a belief of being a man of transcendent virtues but instead decides while in isolation to only have one thing on his mind and that is to get revenge.

Lastly, we see that the author shows another level of Dantes depth with his take on his philosophical theme of Relative happiness versus absolute happiness. While reading the book we see that the characters in the story are either sympathetic or non-sympathetic, so it’s either they cared or didn’t care. An example of this is when Dantes is parting from Maximilian and he makes a statement claiming that “there is neither happiness nor misery in the world, there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more.” This is important because this tells us is that what separates the good people from the bad ones in the novel is that the good characters demonstrated the ability to appreciate the good they have done. Meanwhile, The bad characters focus solely on what they lack or as we call ‘insecurities’ which we always see as an ongoing theme throughout history.

The Style of “The Count of Monte Cristo” is shaped by an idea of a man who once wanted to be the agent of Providence, but to then become consumed by revenge due to the morality of his fellow man and their actions. Dumas has written a fantastic book with enough moral lessons and action-packed moments to keep the reader engaged. We see after so much attention placed on revenge, that in the end, it was not the best decision chosen.

It is the higher power to decide what each person deserves or doesn’t deserve. We see in this novel, our main character Edmond Dantes thought it was wise to take revenge on the men who betrayed him. In his capacity to take revenge on each person, he wanted to do it in a way that related to how they originally conspired against him. We see that at the end of the day, instead of feeling good about himself, he felt just as empty as before taking on his revenge. Yes, On one hand, he got back at his enemies, but on the other hand, he ultimately loses the affection of his love Mercedes. Therefore getting back at your enemy, we see the narrative that shows that it doesn’t end with happiness or satisfaction. In the end, Unfortunately, as we call it, a catch twenty-two, it was Dantes himself that was ruined.

Cite this page

Jose Rizal and Alexandre Dumas. (2017, Jan 29). Retrieved from

Jose Rizal and Alexandre Dumas

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