Narcissism In "The Count Of Monte Cristo" By Alexandre Dumas

1497 words - 6 pages

In Alexandre Dumas' novel, "The Count of Monte Cristo", Edmond Dantes exhibits many different personality traits throughout the course of the story. He starts the novel as Edmond Dantes, a young man known for his loyalty and innocence. After spending 14 years in the Chateau d'If he emerges a new man. The identity he uses for the majority of the rest of his life is The Count of Monte Cristo. Edmond Dantes is extremely narcissistic, believing himself to be without weakness. He feels that he has been given powers second only to those of God himself in order to exact revenge on his enemies. He ultimately realizes that he is not without fault, and that he is plagued by problems shared by all men.
The Count shows his narcissism early on in his plot for revenge. On his first meeting with Monsieur Villefort he speaks of how he has been placed above the position granted to a king or minister because God has given him, ". . . a mission to fulfill, rather than a position to occupy" (Dumas 211). That stunning revelation catches Villefort off guard. Villefort is a very pompous, arrogant man himself and even he can not believe that one could be so sure of himself. The Count goes on to reassure Villefort that he is not limited by anyone thanks to powers bestowed upon him by God. The Count's only obstacle is his own mortality, as God cannot allow for a man to live forever. Only a man with a severe narcissistic or god complex believes that no mortal can challenge him. Most people understand that no man is without fault, and a weakness in each can be exploited. Dantes' believes that every man other than him has a fault which will ruin him. Martha Nussbaum speaks about this belief common in narcissistic men "They should never have, and certainly never admit to, fear and weakness" (par. 40). The Count is convinced that he can manipulate all other beings on earth. He can raise one up to the highest peaks or bring the wrath of God down upon them. In that respect his condition can not simply be labeled as narcissistic. A narcissist generally is not capable of actually affecting the lives of others unless they are in a position of great power. Dantes' great wealth and resources gives him the power to believe that he is on a God-like level.
Dantes then continues on to compare himself to Jesus. Dumas explains how the Count gave Satan his soul to become an agent of Providence:
I want to be Providence, for the greatest, most beautiful and the most sublime thing I know of in this world is to reward and punish. But Satan bowed his head and sighed. You are mistaken, he said, Providence does exist, but it is invisible; you have never seen anything resembling it because it works by secret springs and moves in hidden ways. All I can do for you is to make you one of the agents of Providence. (213)
This story from The Count goes along with Carl Jung's beliefs pertaining to the God-image. He explained the God-image that one's own personal history ends up affecting one's view of...

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