Edmond Dantes is the hero of the novel by Dumas “The Count of Monte Cristo” (1845-1846). This character is multi-layered as he is playing a lot of different roles and has many faces. It is hard to say what his true identity is and how he manages to transform so many times. The reader is constantly trying to solve this puzzle and find out more about his real personality.
This character was inspired by a real prototype, which the author took from the archives of the Paris police. A cobbler named Francois Picaud, became a victim of a violent joke and, as a result, was imprisoned in the castle Fenestrel. There, he took care of another prisoner, an Italian prelate who promised him his fortune. Once free, Picaud sought revenge, but was killed by one of his enemies. The main hero of Dumas novel, young Edmond Dantes, was also betrayed by envious cowards and ended up being a prisoner of the Chateau d’If for seventeen years. There, he met abbot Faria, who bequeathed him his fortune. The death of abbot urged him to escape from prison and seize his wealth. Then Edmond Dantes transformed into the Count of Monte Cristo – a wealthy, mighty creator of the myth about himself, who stopped at nothing until he wreaked vengeance upon his enemy.
When he was young, Edmond was rather innocent and naive. He could not even imagine that someone might want to hurt or betray him as he considered himself rather insignificant. At that time, he was still ignorant of human nature. When Edmond finally realized how he ended up in prison and that he was betrayed by people who he considered his friends, then began his transformation into the Count. Once he realized who his real enemies were he became thirsty for revenge. This thirst helped him to escape from prison and gain his title, tools and possessions.
Edmond Dantes was not only known to the public as the Count of Monte Cristo, but also as Lord Wilmore, Sinbad the Sailor, Abbé Busoni, M. Zaccone and the Chief Clerk of Thomson and French. He put these multiple masks on to puzzle and to distract those who surrounded him; sometimes he came up with a different role within a couple of minutes. This proved him to be rather imaginative, resourceful and creative. Unfortunately, when he finally avenged his honor, it brought no satisfaction and fulfillment to him. He decided to give up his multiple identities and masks and turn over a new leaf.