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Free Study Guide-The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas-Summary
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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES

CHAPTER 20 - The Cemetery of the Chateau dIf

Summary

Thinking about his burning desire to escape, live, punish his enemies and reward his friends, Dantès comes up with the plan to remove the Abbé from the sack and place the corpse in his own bed. Dantès gets into the sack, sewing it closed from the inside and bringing a knife. Planning and hoping to escape from the earth after being buried, Dantès realizes that if he cannot overcome the weight of the soil, he will be stifled to death. That night, he is removed from the prison that night by two men, taken outside and, to his surprise, thrown into the sea with a 36 pound shot tied around his feet to weigh him down.

Notes

Dantès learning over the past years have paid off, and he is intelligent enough to devise an ingenious means of escape soon after the Abbe's death. He believes, however, that the idea has been given to him by God. He is filled with a renewed sense of hope and a will to live, fuelled in part by his desire for vengeance. Dantès escape the prison, and experiences a type of rebirth and baptism when, tossed into the water, he emerges older, stronger, wiser and bent on vengeance.


CHAPTER 21 - The Island of Tiboulen

Summary

Using his knife, Dantès escapes the sinking sack and swims to the Island of Tiboulen in a near-tempest. With 2 or 3 hours to escape until the Abbe's body is discovered and the prison officials begin to search for him, Dantès assumes the identity of one of the sailors in a ship destroyed the night before by the storm. He is rescued by a Genoese ship nearby, and the crew agrees to take him with them when the "Maltese" sailor (Dantès) proves his expertise with ships and the Mediterranean. The ship sets out to Leghorn and the captain notes the alarm gun being fired at the Chateau dIf, signaling the escape of a prisoner. While doubting Dantès identity somewhat, the captain is impressed by his abilities. Dantès learns that it is now 1829, fourteen years since his arrest, and calculates that he must now be 33. His thoughts turn to Mercédès and his oath of vengeance upon his three enemies.

Notes

Dumas does an excellent job of describing Dantès first associations with his new-found freedom. Dantès developed intelligence is further proved by the plan that he develops to escape on a ship with the smugglers, with a convincing lie he may not have been able to tell 14 years earlier. He renews his oath of vengeance against the three men he considers most responsible for his 14 years of misery and lost youth: Danglars, Fernand and Villefort.

CHAPTER 22 - The Smugglers

Summary

Edmond sticks to his story with his new crewmates and upon getting his hair and beard cut for the first time in 14 years, he realizes he is now completely unrecognizable to those who once knew him. Dantès agrees to remain with the smuggling ship for another three months and to wait a little longer for his wealth. One day, upon watching a customs officer die in a skirmish, Dantès feels very little sympathy and realizes his heart has hardened. During one trip, the captain suggests they stop at the Island of Monte Cristo, a good opportunity for Dantès.

Notes

Dantès, once young and trusting, is now a melancholy, intelligent and firm man. His attitudes about everything have completely changed, and he is now comfortable working among smugglers, viewing them as generally good people. This new willingness to work with thieves, criminals, etc. will stick with him. Again, Dantès shows the extent of his patience as he waits for the ideal time to seek the treasure. Interestingly, Dantès begins to accustom himself to the sight of violence and blood in preparation for his planned vengeance. "He had, moreover, looked upon the customs officer wounded to death, and, whether from heat of blood produced by the encounter, or the chill of human sentiment, this sight had made but slight impression upon him. Dantès was on the way he desired to follow, and was moving towards the end he wished to achieve; his heart was in a fair way of petrifying in his bosom."

CHAPTER 23 - The Island of Monte Cristo

Summary

Arriving at the Island of Monte Cristo at night to rendezvous with another smuggling ship, Dantès waits until the morning to investigate the island under the pretext of hunting goats. Unable to locate the cave, Dantès fakes a fall on the rocks, claiming to be in too much pain to be moved and asks to be left there while the ship completes its work elsewhere (about a week) when he hopes he will feel better. The crew agrees and leaves him with supplies. Dantès immediately approaches a large rock he had earlier identified as being in the correct place on the map.

Notes

Dantès also craves solitude at times - a result of his being imprisoned so long - and which also prevents him from forming emotional attachments to people. He is obviously interested in the personal character of those around him however, and when speaking of his smuggler comrades states, "Tis strange that it should be among such men that we find proofs of friendship and devotion." This will influence his later relationship with Vampa. Dumas further borrows from The Arabian Nights in this chapter as, when Dantès searches for the secret cave, he announces, "now, open sesame!"

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