The novel, The Count of Monte Christo, provides much insight into the psychological makeup of not only the characters within the novel, but also of its author Alexandre Dumas. Indeed, in light of how The Count of Monte Christo addresses the interplay between justice, revenge, jealousy, greed, power and transformation, it reflects many of events in Dumas’ life and that of his father, Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, who was the biracial progeny of a French aristocrat and a Haitian slave of African descent. Thomas-Alexandre’s career in the French military appeared bright until he became ensnared in plot against Napoleon, under whom he served in Egypt. Being identified as a saboteur resulted in Thomas-Alexandre being imprisoned for twenty months after which he ended up in Villers-Cotterets, a village near Paris where he was partially paralyzed, partially deaf, and penniless. His plight left a significant impact on Alexandre, who was only four when Thomas-Alexandre died. Alexandre believed that his father had been treated unjustly, and as a result, Alexandre and his mother were socially and financially disadvantaged.
At age fifteen, he found work as a clerk for a public notary. He also befriended a nobleman by the name of Adolphe de Leuven who introduced Alexandre to the Parisian theatre which immediately captivated the teen. He became determined to become a famous Parisian playwright. To that end, he honed his skills at playing pool and won enough money to move to Paris. The move to such a cosmopolitan world capital made Dumas realize how little formal education he had, and he began to remedy this by reading as much as he could and taking classes in chemistry, biology, and physics at a local hospital. In the midst of these activities and working as an office clerk, he began writing short comedies and ultimately began writing dramatic plays. His fortunes ebbed and flowed as a playwright. However, they took a decidedly upward turn when he began collaborating with Auguste Maquet. Maquet had written a number of historical romance novels and had a general plot for another book, but did not have Dumas’ storytelling skills to produce the kind of novel that he wanted.
Working together, they produced “The Three Musketeers”. They continued their winning format with “The Count of Monte Cristo” which was serialized in the Journal des Debats. While Maquet did receive a portion of the revenues from his and Dumas’ collaboration, Dumas became extremely wealthy and one of France’s most famous writers. He proved to be a larger-than-life character, with enormous appetites for women, fine wines and foods, travel, and the other accoutrements of decadent living. He spent money as quickly as he earned it, leaving him in constant precarious financial straits. Also, despite his commercial success, he had many detractors, including those who simply disliked him because he was a person of color (Phillips, Mike).
In many respects, he channeled much of his and...