Changing Places to See: Otherness and Essentialism in Le Comte de Monte-Cristo Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • McLean, Donald
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Romance Studies
  • Alexandre Dumas’s novels, especially Le Comte de Monte-Cristo, engage with cultural hegemonies and French social norms. This thesis will examine how Dumas explores these norms in Monte-Cristo, specifically in analyzing the Orientalist tropes in the Sinbad the Sailor episodes. Edmond Dantès, the main character, uses the persona of Sinbad to create a myth that will permeate French aristocracy in order to advance his revenge plot. The use of Sinbad inherently relies on Orientalist tropes, but Dantès, aware of their strategic power, inverts them to confront cultural hegemonies. Ultimately, Dantès’s plot succeeds in part because of the French aristocracy’s inability, or unwillingness, to critically engage with these tropes. Dantès, however, abstracts himself in order to assume multiple personas, and is ultimately unable to reestablish himself as an individual at the novel’s closing. Dantès’s strategic essentialism thus allows him to achieve his revenge against society but denies him closure as an individual.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Halabi, Zeina
  • Fisher, Dominique D.
  • Tanner, Jessica
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2017

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