Last night, in the midst of my frustration, my darling fiancé talked with me and basically had me tell him the entire story of The Count of Monte Cristo and why I liked it. Then we had a pretend argument about whether or not the Count was justified in what he did.
Edmond Dantes is inherently good. I think everyone could agree on that. He is good and kind and loves deeply. But is the Count of Monte Cristo good? Some may argue yes, because he does many "good" things, but are they really good? It seems to me that everything he did was for revenge, even the good things. Even his merciful acts are used to manipulate, and he essentially takes upon himself the role of God. Then, finally, when all of it is over, what does he have left?
I think the real question at the end of the book is Is the Count happy? I would say no. He has spent too much of his life and energy directed towards revenge and bitterness, claiming it was the "justice of God," but all along hardening himself to it. In the end, he keeps his name, The Count of Monte Cristo, effectively proving that Edmond Dantes has died. When the revenge is complete, he has nothing but emptiness.
This is my argument, and I would like to turn it into a research paper. Tell me what you think before the ship goes down!