Taking thoughts captive

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Location: Midwest, United States

Favorite smells: mown hay, turned earth, summer rain, line-dried laundry

05 July 2005

Count of Monte Cristo - 2

I finished reading The Count of Monte Cristo yesterday afternoon. Friday night I noticed that I was only about a third of the way through the novel, even though I was on page 435. It was then I realized that the volume is divided into two books with the pagination starting over in the second book. The book consists not of 649 pages, but of 616 plus 649 pages! But Dumas has an incredible ability to keep the reader eagerly turning all of those 1,265 pages.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book's themes of retribution and repentance, under the overarching theme of God's providence and sovereignty. Along the way, the reader sees the heights of human intellect as well as the depraved depths of the human heart.

Most modern authors would want readers cheering the wronged protagonist and believing his trail of vengeance justified. Dumas shows the reader that vengeance is God's, sometimes through the instrument of human hands, and that repentance trumps vengeance.

The most important line in the novel is found at the end of the book, in a letter the Count writes to a friend: "...pray sometimes for a man who, like Satan, thought himself for an instant equal to God; but who now acknowledges with Christian humility that God alone possesses supreme power and infinite wisdom" (Book 2, p. 648).


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