Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fiction for a Day: Who Would I Be?

 Adam C. Zern shares some thoughts on a fictional character he would love to be:

"So many wonderful characters.  So many wonderful stories.  But which one have I wanted to take the place of?  Edmond Dantes, whose story is told in The Count of Monte Cristo, definitely comes to mind, but with some very important caveats.

I would love to experience what Edmond Dantes did but only after the particularly awful experience in the Chateau d'lf.  Certainly, his desire for justice and his character was shaped while confined in that terrible prison, but since we're working within the world of fiction I would skip that part and go directly to his discovering the treasure that makes him a Count.  Edmond Dantes was a man on a mission and it's the mission I would want to experience, not the preparation for it.

This brings me to another very important caveat of the character of Edmond Dantes.  Edmond was less on a mission of revenge, in my opinion, and more on a mission of justice.  I think the film adaptation reduces Dantes' character to tell a story almost entirely revolving around revenge.  However, I believe Alexander Dumas' original story portrays Dantes as a character driven by something more substantial and compelling.  True, the results may look somewhat similar, but the motives are different.  That mission of justice is what I would like to experience—making sure those who have done harm receive their rewards now instead of later.  It flies in the face of a basic principle of existence—"[God] sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matthew 5:45)—but it still would be incredibly satisfying. 

Also, a little mentioned aspect of The Count of Monte Cristo is that before Dantes begins his mission of justice, he completes a mission of mercy.  He ensures the security and happiness, as much as possible, of those individuals who treated him well before he was falsely accused and improperly imprisoned.  I would love to rain good fortune on those I care for and unexpectedly bring a change of circumstances in their life.  Having such an opportunity would be truly incredible and something better than the best fiction.

In conclusion, with a little cherry picking, Edmond Dantes is a fictional character whose shoes I wouldn't mind stepping into. Being driven by justice and mercy and having an essentially unlimited ability to mete out both sounds incredibly awesome.  And it all worked out pretty for Edmond Dantes, so why not me?"

Other Topics of Interest:
Books to Movies: The Count of Monte Cristo
Thousander Must-Reads Vol. 3
Pointless Stories and the Morality of Fiction

1 comment:

  1. I love the book, but he was an awful long time in that prison cell. On Goodreads I listed my favorites (who I wouldn't want to be). My maybes are Gandalf, Treebeard, Atticus Finch or Elizabeth Bennett - though that's a lot of propriety.