“Rules are meant to be broken”
Everyone breaks the rules. When was the last time you saw someone come to a full stop at the stop sign? Breaking most of these rules is harmless. But how far is too far? In the Count of Monte Cristo, Edmond Dantes is forced to ask himself this very question. After his actions and quest for revenge result in the death of an innocent young boy, he questions whether or not his actions were truly justified. Throughout the whole story, Dantes operates on the boundaries of the law. He conspires closely with bandits, impersonates characters to manipulate his enemies, and knowingly leads a man to his death.
Granted, his actions were not unwarranted. The victims of his wrath ruined his life. They cost Dantes a perfect life in happiness and forced him to instead live alone and forgotten, wasting away inside a small cell. But, can that justify the destruction that he caused? In the aftermath of his revenge spree, more than a few people were dead, and the few souls that escaped death saw their life in complete shambles. It’s pretty obvious that the count stepped past the boundary of the law, but real question is whether Dantes stepped past the boundary of what was justified.
Another well known character who seems to be above the law is Batman. While at first, he and the Count seem very different, upon closer examination, they are very similar. They are both driven by driven by their desire for vengeance, Dantes for the people who wronged him, and Batman for the death of his parents at the hands of a robber. They both take on the persona of a “mysterious” alter ego to seek out their revenge. Dantes becomes the Count of Monte Cristo, while Bruce Wayne becomes Batman. Using their wealth, strength, and intelligence, they punish the very people who hurt them.
While Batman’s cause of helping the city of Gotham may at first seem nobler than the Count’s self guided revenge, in the end they’re not that different. Although Gotham’s police department lets Batman’s breaking and entering, speeding, unlawful interrogations and heavy damage to city property slide, it’s still technically illegal. However, it’s hard to argue that Gotham would be better off without Batman.
That brings up the question of “where do you draw the line?” What laws are breakable in the name of “justice?” I think that each of us has a pretty good idea of where that line is. Even the Count of Monte Cristo, consumed with revenge, realized when he had gone too far. What we must remember is that it is important to think about what we are doing before we do it. Dantes’ fault was that he acted out of pure emotion, using his intelligence to carry out his plans rather than to evaluate the morality of them. So, the next time you feel like seeking revenge and breaking the rules, take some time to think about it.