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Thread: The Count of Monte Cristo-Mercedes-Eugenie Danglars

  1. #1

    The Count of Monte Cristo-Mercedes-Eugenie Danglars

    I read The Count of Monte Cristo and I really wanted to know opinions about Mercedes and Eugenie...I love Mercedes and her final scene with Edmond really made me cry...For Eugenie I read the opinions about the lesbian thing but I kinda disagree with this...
    “Edmond,” continued she, “you will see that if my face is pale, if my eyes are dull, if my beauty is gone; if Mercedes, in short, no longer resembles her former self in her features, you will see that her heart is still the same. Adieu, then, Edmond;”
    Mercedes,The Count of Monte Cristo

  2. #2
    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    I think that a question of Eugene's sexuality is less than subtly called into question in the story. I would be curious to hear why you may have doubts about this supposition. After all she does end up running away with a woman, in which she takes on the guise of a man.

    One of the things of which I found interesting about Eugene is the way in which she is portrayed in a way that seems less than sympathetic. At the first introduction of her character at first she does strike one as rather unlikable, she is portrayed as being snobbish, haughty and cold and her masculine traits are shone in a negative light. While she is just as innocent of the crimes that Dangler's committed as Valentine was innocent of the crimes committed by Villefort, it seems as if Valentine is portrayed in a much more sympathetic light, and both Valentine and Mercedes' are more conventional, ideal portraits of the ideas of femininity at that time period. But Eugene seems to carry a stigma of her family's crimes in making her appear so unpleasant.

    At first I had started out with adverse feelings towards Eugene but at the story progressed I felt she was treated a bit unfairly by Dumas and her role as a sort of underdog/outcast made me start to see her in a more sympathetic light. Though she plays a somewhat minor role in the story in retrospect she really is quite an interesting character in her challenging of conventionality and her desires for freedom and independence.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  3. #3
    I totally agree with your analysis for Eugenie-Valentine antithesis.I disagree with the whole lesbian thing because it's really unfair when we see two men close like Albert and Franz they are not gay but two girls together are lesbians...Eugenie is a more a less feminine character I agree but this is her antithesis with the other women of the book.She choose not to depend from no man(Valentine-Max,Mercedes-Albert,Haydee-Count) but for me that don't make her homosexual.It's a woman from a different era so we should see why she choose to act like a man to have her freedom.I wanted her role to be more important for the story because she is a really interesting character!
    “Edmond,” continued she, “you will see that if my face is pale, if my eyes are dull, if my beauty is gone; if Mercedes, in short, no longer resembles her former self in her features, you will see that her heart is still the same. Adieu, then, Edmond;”
    Mercedes,The Count of Monte Cristo

  4. #4
    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MercedesxEdmond View Post
    I totally agree with your analysis for Eugenie-Valentine antithesis.I disagree with the whole lesbian thing because it's really unfair when we see two men close like Albert and Franz they are not gay but two girls together are lesbians...Eugenie is a more a less feminine character I agree but this is her antithesis with the other women of the book.She choose not to depend from no man(Valentine-Max,Mercedes-Albert,Haydee-Count) but for me that don't make her homosexual.It's a woman from a different era so we should see why she choose to act like a man to have her freedom.I wanted her role to be more important for the story because she is a really interesting character!
    Though the situations between Albert and Franz and Eugenie and her music teacher I think it was are a bit different. For one being that Albert and Franz both clearly express an interest in the opposite sex and they do not in fact end up running away together. While Eugenie seems to hold no attraction towards men. It is one thing for a women to simply not wish to marry or be dependent upon men but I do think in the fact that they does actually run away with a woman is suggesting something beyond just their being friends. If she just wanted her freedom and independence than she could have dressed as a man and run away alone. It is not unheard of in history for women to adorn themselves as men to try and gain more freedom. But I do think the fact that she travels in the guise of a man with a female companion is significant.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Muse View Post
    Though the situations between Albert and Franz and Eugenie and her music teacher I think it was are a bit different. For one being that Albert and Franz both clearly express an interest in the opposite sex and they do not in fact end up running away together. While Eugenie seems to hold no attraction towards men. It is one thing for a women to simply not wish to marry or be dependent upon men but I do think in the fact that they does actually run away with a woman is suggesting something beyond just their being friends. If she just wanted her freedom and independence than she could have dressed as a man and run away alone. It is not unheard of in history for women to adorn themselves as men to try and gain more freedom. But I do think the fact that she travels in the guise of a man with a female companion is significant.
    Maybe you're right...but maybe they're simple two girls with similar dreams...I don't know it's an open case in the book like many and anybody could think differently.I really loved the characters of Edmond-Count,Mercedes,Eugenie,Albert,Valentine,Max...What 's your favorite?
    “Edmond,” continued she, “you will see that if my face is pale, if my eyes are dull, if my beauty is gone; if Mercedes, in short, no longer resembles her former self in her features, you will see that her heart is still the same. Adieu, then, Edmond;”
    Mercedes,The Count of Monte Cristo

  6. #6
    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MercedesxEdmond View Post
    Maybe you're right...but maybe they're simple two girls with similar dreams...I don't know it's an open case in the book like many and anybody could think differently.I really loved the characters of Edmond-Count,Mercedes,Eugenie,Albert,Valentine,Max...What 's your favorite?
    I just do not think that the supposition that she may be a lesbian should be viewed as inherently something negative. As if suggesting her to be a lesbian is an attack agasint her character.

    The Count is my favorite. Mercede's and Valentine were a bit too Victorian. They were too helpless and woe is me, and overly sensitive. Valentine played too much the role of the dutiful daughter to her undeserving father. I liked the Morrel's.

    I also really liked Abbe Fiara, Noirtier, Ali, Haydee.

    And towards the end of the book I a came to start liking Eugenie more.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  7. #7
    Yeah you're right but I found really brave what Mercedes did in the end even if I wanted her to ask more for herself but she trust herself to God and she loses the two men she loves:Edmond and Albert.
    “Edmond,” continued she, “you will see that if my face is pale, if my eyes are dull, if my beauty is gone; if Mercedes, in short, no longer resembles her former self in her features, you will see that her heart is still the same. Adieu, then, Edmond;”
    Mercedes,The Count of Monte Cristo

  8. #8
    Right before they ran off, Eugenie cut off all her hair and put on men's clothes. Dumas made a comment that basically said this wasn't her first time trying on men's clothing and that she rather enjoyed it. That's about as close as we get to him calling her a lesbian.

    And on a different subject from this book, am I the only one that had trouble hating Villefort? I know he put Edmond in prison to protect his name, but wasn't it also hinted that he did it to protect his father? Aside from that, and the whole thing with Benedetto, he seemed like a halfway decent guy.

    And how is The Count to blame for the deaths of Villefort's wife and Edward? That was a completely different storyline as far as I could tell. I don't see why he felt so much remorse over something that he didn't cause.

  9. #9
    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardworker View Post
    And on a different subject from this book, am I the only one that had trouble hating Villefort? I know he put Edmond in prison to protect his name, but wasn't it also hinted that he did it to protect his father? Aside from that, and the whole thing with Benedetto, he seemed like a halfway decent guy.
    I have to admit I found hating Villefort to be pretty easy and never truly considered him to be a decent guy. It is my understanding that he had no interest in actually protecting his father, but rather he did not want the truth of his father to be exposed because of how the scandal would affect his own reputation and his own ambitions. He was really just protecting himself by keeping the truth of his father hidden. He does not in fact treat his father very well now that he is ill and invalid, and his own father loathes him, in part because of the way he treats hid daughter.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  10. #10
    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    I will have to go with Dark Muse on the subect of Villefort...

    Villefort did not want to protect his father, but his own career and upcoming marriage. He was an ambitious prosecutor, promising and going to reach great heights (as he does, in Paris of all places). Not least by his marriage to the only daughter of the Saint-Mérans which will bring him not only a great great fortune, but also a sturdy royalist background: fit for a most zealous king's prosecutor (and also probably receiving help from people related to the family and in high places).

    When he hears Edmond say his father's name as the recipient of this plotting letter, he burns it and puts Dantès into solitary confinement to please let him die and forget about him because if this got out, his father would not only have been put in prison (it is just before the Hundred Days bringing back Napoleon from Elba), but would have prevented his marriage and powerful connections (which proper aristocratic family would connect itself with a Bonapartist or the son of one which is essentially the same) and would also have put his career (if he could keep it at all) on a side-track, never to be got out of the south of France.

    It is this cowardice of not wanting to confront his own family, that the Count addresses when he puts Villefort before the choice of either killing his wife (asking her to commit suicide) or to face him in court in his official robes of prosecutor. In the end she kills herself, but the kind of demise he was looking in the face if his own wife were to be prosecuted for murder would have been so terrible he could not have shown his face in society ever more. Edouard was an unfortunate accident which the count failed to account for in his plan. It is the start of his mounting remorse and doubts which will cuminate in his trip to the Château-d'Îf at the end.

    I will have to look into that comment about Eugénie Danglars... I can't recall, but then it's already so long ago...
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

  11. #11
    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Upon re-reading the passage in French, I do have to concede that indeed Eugénie is blatantly manly oriented. Not only that remark about it not being the first time she dressed as a man, but also the allusion to she being Hercules and Louise d'Armilly being rather like Omphale would suggest a somewhat laughable cross-gender situation and maybe even an illicit relationship (Hercules eventually took his mistress [as in master] as his wife after she freed him from his punishment, see Wikipedia). It is also striking that she talks of 's'évader' which means to escape, but I think also to elope, and of 'enlever' which means to 'kidnap'.

    Saucy, indeed.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

  12. #12

    More Eugenie discussion

    Old post, I know, but I've just read TCOMC for the first time, having seen the Jim Caviezel movie several years ago. Noting differences between the two, I enjoyed both, although I believe I enjoyed the book more. I found this post, however, looking for discussions about Eugenie and Benedetto (Cavalcanti). I can't believe no one else has mentioned that the ultimate revenge may have been to allow the two to marry before revealing Benedetto's relationship to M. Villefort and Mdm. Danglars and then, as a matter of course, revealing their relationship to one another (half brother/sister). It seems this plot scenario would have more thoroughly embarrassed M. Villefort, M Danglars, and Madame Danglars and I wonder about others' thoughts on this topic.

    As to the current discussion, I don't think there's any other conclusion that can be drawn but that Eugenie preferred women over men.

    "If you accept the stereotypes of what being a lesbian is, then this is almost a foregone conclusion. When Eugénie is making her escape, she cuts off her hair and puts on men's clothing and pretends to be Louise's brother. Louise is delighted with how much better she looks as a man. Dumas describes Eugénie several times as masculine and lacking in "the gentler qualities of the fair sex." In short, it's a classic butch/femme relationship. However, it really isn't so straightforward if you ignore the stereotyped connection between sexual orientation and gender roles -- i.e., not everyone who dresses as the other gender is, in fact, gay and vice versa. After all, if you saw the movie Shakespeare in Love, the main character dresses as a man so that she can have a chance to act, not because she is attracted to women or even because she wishes to adopt the make gender role as a piece of identity.

    Many of Dumas' descriptions of Eugénie as masculine are rather careful and go against such stereotyes as well. She is stunningly beautiful in a traditional feminine manner; she doesn't look like a man. What is masculine about her is supposed to be her determination, resolve, and interests in things that only men are supposed to be interested in. Most women in her society were supposed to take language lessons and learn a bit of music so that they could entertain and greet guests in the parlor. But Eugénie is interested not in playing a few pretty tunes but in becoming a true composer -- something only men were supposed to be. And while other women in the novel know enough Italian or English to carry a conversation and are praised for it, Eugénie is decribed as a "perfect linguist". It's like all of a sudden the 19th century Parisian housewife doesn't want to just cook hardy meals for her family but instead wants to be the world's greatest chef and celebrated for her accomplishments throughout the world. To everyone around Eugénie, this is being masculine. She doesn't back down except by her own choice; devoted to her intellect; she's forceful; and has little interest in society and its doings.

    It's also hard to know precisely what Dumas truly thinks and what is his sense of humor. Much of what he writes is firmly tongue-in-cheek. Dumas writes a few chapters that take place in the various boxes and lobbies of the Paris Opera House. He patiently explains how no one shows up until the first act is almost complete and that watching the opera is simply an excuse to study the audience in their box seats as a social occasion. It is also stated that Eugénie spends all of her time at home with her music teacher Louise, but cannot be seen in public with her as Louise is almost certainly destined for life as a singer / actress, and it is not possible for someone of Eugénie's station to be seen with a future member of the theatre. What must be remembered in such discussions, however, is that Dumas was first and continued to be a playwright. He spent much of his life in theaters hanging out with actresses whom he presumably had great respect for. In other words, he is making fun of his own audiences who always show up late and talk through his plays, as well as making fun of other people's perception of actresses. And since he clearly in real life respects people just like Eugénie and associates with them, when he describes her as masculine, he might be poking as much fun at Parisian society's perceptions of a Eugénie as actually describing her.

    If one has to get back to whether or not Eugénie is truly attracted to women, the answer is probably yes. There is going to be no direct way to see it, as even the hetero couples in lust address each other in full title and are formally received. It's not just a matter of going into the couple's bedroom and closing the door on the reader. Dumas never shows them in the bed room at all, even when they are in the middle of a torrid love affair. There are two possible moments when Eugénie and Louise's relationship is revealed. The seemingly obvious one is in Eugénie's last scene. Eugénie and Louise are on the first night of their escape and have checked into an inn using the brother and sister disguises and requested two beds. However, in the morning, someone running from the police (Cavalcanti in fact) falls into their room through the chimney and they are sleeping in the same bed. Even this, however, isn't an ironclad case. While today, it's pretty rare for two female friends to sleep in the same bed when there is a choice, I am not sure it was all that unusual for female friends in the 19th century. Moreover, this is not just any night. This is the first night of their new lives when they are running from the families and society, and under some emotional stress. Louise is portrayed as quite nervous and shy and you can imagine them sleeping next to each other for comfort.

    The more revealing part is actually in Eugénie's very first scene in the entire book. She and her mother have gone to the opera along with the rest of society. The two women cannot attend the opera by themselves, because two women should not travel alone like this. (A good reminder for the later part of Eugénie's life where she dresses as a man to escape. Was there any other choice? As a writer, this is also stunning on Dumas' part because this was a serial novel published chapter by chapter as they were written. Did he have this so well plotted out in his head that he knew to add such a tiny hint to explain Eugenie's future actions months before that later scene was even written?) Therefore, they are accompanied by her mother's publicly known lover Monsieur Lucien Debray. Or as Dumas amusingly puts it:

    "There is no gainsaying the fact that a very unfavourable construction would have been put upon the circumstance if the two women had gone without escort, while the addition of a third, in the person of her mother's admitted lover, enabled Mademoiselle Danglars to defy malice and ill-nature. One must take the world as one finds it."

    The Count has just entered his box with his female companion Haydee who we all know to be the Greek / Albanian princess sold into slavery years ago. She is dazzingly beautiful and exotic and people do notice her, but everyone in the whole opera turns to see the mysterious Count who is the talk of all of society. The whole chamber murmurs with discussion of the Count. And the very first thing Eugénie says in the whole book?

    "Have you noticed the remarkable beauty of the young woman, M. Lucien?" enquired Eugénie.

    On the next page, the conversation continues. The participants are the Baroness Danglars, Eugenie Danglars, Lucien Debray (the baroness' lover) and Albert de Morcerf (Eugénie's betrothed who is visiting their box; he is little more attracted to Eugénie than she is to him, as he finds her cold). The baroness begins:

    "Well, then," said the baroness, "if slave she be, she has all the air and manner of a princess."

    "Of The Arabian Nights?"

    "If you like; but tell me, my dear Lucien, what is it that constitutes a princess. Why, diamonds - and she is covered with them."

    "To me she seems overloaded," observed Eugénie, "she would look far better if she wore fewer, and we would then be able to see her finely formed throat and wrists."

    "See how the artist peeps out!" exclaimed Madame Danglars. "My poor Eugénie, you must conceal your passion for the fine arts." (Dumas must have been giggling continuously writing this. Fine arts, yeah, that's it.)

    "I admire all that is beautiful," returned the young lady.

    "What do you think of the count?" enquired Debray; "he is not much amiss, according to my idea of good looks."

    "The count?" repeated Eugénie, as though it had not occurred to her to observe him sooner; "the count? - oh he is so dreadfully pale."

    "I quite agree with you," said Morcerf; "and the secret of that very pallor is what we are here to find out. The Countess G- insists upon it that he is a vampire."

    "Then the Countess G- has returned to Paris, has she?" asked the baroness.

    "Is that she, mamma?" asked Eugénie, "almost opposite to us, with that profusion of beautiful light hair?""

  13. #13
    Just my opinion, Eugenie is one of my personal favorite love stories.
    Soft domination. The submissive has the power, her withdrawing affection would slay him.
    It's a daughter-wife-slave love thing. She only knows protection, refined things, never exposed to the degenerate side of life. She is no lesbian. Nothing she loves more than the weight of her male lover. Penetrated within as she is surrounded from without.
    Pure love. He would rather chop off his own hand than harm her. But her fantasy thrives on his appearance of power while in fact she has all the power. They both have their dream fantasy. I find it so awesome because I assume most outsiders would see it as monstrous, like the ACTING is real. The truth and the appearance are far from the same. The missing scene would be when he died. Eugenie then committed suicide. Life without him was not life. She could not even measure life without using him as the yard stick. They were two souls in one body. Once he was gone, she dies by her own hand. Edmond is the peasant of low birth. Edmond is the slave/escaped prisoner wanted outlaw living under a fake name - fake name - her name is written in emeralds. Edmond is the common working man who stole an aristocrats education, using threats on an old man dying of a paralysis disease like that old man Edmond cures while solving the murder mystery. Eugenie is a princess, commanded nobles as house slaves since she could walk. Golden toilets. Hero soldiers in human form mere toys to her family power. Edmond is Eugenie's slave and he loves it. Eugenie cannot respect a man weaker than her. It is fundamental to her personality. like Red Sonya. Only a man like her father, a man willing to slap her - like Naked Jungle 1953, a man willing to kidnap, chain, light bondage, own her perfect form like a slave, demands she call him master.
    It is a role reversal intimate romantic fantasy. A delicate balance of the highest complexity, a love no others will ever match - you can't match it because it is Batman and Catwoman getting it on. You have to be two super heroes to even enter their world. Billionaire hero and goddess princess only. In a comicbook kind of way, who is the street level pre-Batman perona? Who is the Count of Monte Cristo, the dashing secret agent - this character design which frankly came first. Bruce Wayne borrowed from this, no doubt. The Count of Monte Cristo personality is his ACTING love character he keeps up for her to see him as a 'real man'. It really is HER expectations on how he must behave to be worthy of her ultra elite respect. Edmond never behaves in a way that when he goes home, she is disappointed/ashamed/thinks-less-of him. His bedroom character put on its hat and went out into the world. The point is, he only exists because of her. She makes him into the man he is with her expectations which he fulfills.
    Last edited by JamCrackers; 04-13-2012 at 07:27 PM.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by MercedesxEdmond View Post
    I totally agree with your analysis for Eugenie-Valentine antithesis.I disagree with the whole lesbian thing because it's really unfair when we see two men close like Albert and Franz they are not gay but two girls together are lesbians...Eugenie is a more a less feminine character I agree but this is her antithesis with the other women of the book.She choose not to depend from no man(Valentine-Max,Mercedes-Albert,Haydee-Count) but for me that don't make her homosexual.It's a woman from a different era so we should see why she choose to act like a man to have her freedom.I wanted her role to be more important for the story because she is a really interesting character!
    The Lesbian status of Eugenie is not really debateable, to quote form TVtropes
    The lesbian relationship between Eugenie Danglars and Louise d'Armilly is never stated overtly, but it's very strongly implied:

    It begins subtly, by comparing her beauty to that of Diana—who was virginal, preferring no company to male company.
    She is incredibly quick to admire the beauty of other women, while attesting no opinion of the good-looks of any male characters.
    Then the narrator describes the glances of Eugenie's admirer as being deflected off "Minerva's shield," oh which btw "once protected Sappho." Sappho, you know, of Lesbos.
    They are found sitting on the same chair in front of the piano, making duets out of solos by each playing one hand of the song.
    Finally, in case you still had your head in the sand: In one scene, an unexpected visitor drops into a hotel room they're staying in (two paragraphs after the text makes a point of telling the reader that the room has two beds) and finds them sleeping together in the same bed. Yeah...
    I would disagree that portrays her negatively or unfairly. As the introduction to the Penguin translation explains her dilemma compares to were Mercedes one at the beginning, but rather then resigning to an arranged marriage Eugenie is independent and takes control of her destiny.

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