Guest Post by Debaparna Das, INTP
The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
Dominant Introverted Feeling (Fi):Emotional fulfilment and stability are highly important to Mercédès, and she is quite discerning with regards to her feelings. She asserts that she loves Fernand Mondego only as a brother, while her feelings for Edmond Dantes are very different and more intense. She does not understand Fernand’s jealousy and anger at having been rejected because she herself has never thought him to be any other than her brother. After the arrest and imprisonment of Edmond, the grief, loneliness and insecurity she faces compels her to marry Fernand. When she meets Edmond again, him as the Count of Monte Cristo and her as Countess of Morcerf, she is initially overwhelmed by her emotions – delight at seeing him again, gratitude because he saved her son, a resurgence of the old love she had for him, and bitterness due to her present predicament; for a considerable time thereafter, she struggles with guilt and a need to repair her relationship with him. Later, when she tries to persuade the Count not to kill Albert, her son, she appeals more to his sympathy and ethics; and towards the end of the storyline, when the Count meets her in his old residence in the Allees de Meillan, it becomes clear that she has been broken by not as much as the sudden fall in economic standards, but by the trauma of losing her husband and son in quick succession, and the constant guilt for having played a part in betraying Edmond by marrying Fernand.
Auxiliary Extraverted Sensing (Se): Mercédès is an action-oriented person with a focus on the present. She first defines the nature of her relationship with Fernand by analysing their current economic predicament – Fernand is a conscripted soldier, she is herself a poor orphan dependent on ‘charity’ from the public and Fernand himself. After her marriage to Fernand and with his social climb, she actively educates herself in the etiquette and skills expected of her new social station as a noblewoman. She does not verbally beg the Count not to sacrifice himself so that her son may win the duel and live, which, the Count realizes later, she knew would be useless; she, instead, discloses the truth to Albert so that he, ashamed of his father’s guilty past, voluntarily apologizes to the Count and the duel is cancelled. She does not reflect much on her past because it is too painful for her – Caderousse claims that her self-education was an attempt to divert herself from her grief for Edmond and the lost opportunity for a life with him. This is again the reason why she has difficulty understanding why the Count has masterminded her husband’s fall by using Fernand’s shady past. She also has difficulty envisioning a future aside from what she wants at the present – she is so upset by the possibility of Edmond’s inconstancy or death at sea that his return relieves her and she uses that to support her love for him to Fernand. After the departure of Albert and the Count in the end, she has very little hope for a long life and happiness, believing instead that she will die soon and focussing instead on the life and prospects of her son.
Tertiary Introverted Intuition (Ni): Mercédès can sense potential problems before they are manifest, however, her feeling and thinking functions complicate her ability to trust her intuition and take action based on it. Mercédès is able to sense that Fernand’s anger and jealousy is taking dangerous proportions and that he could be planning to duel and kill Edmond, but her trust in him, since he is her only remaining relative and a close friend since childhood, clouds her judgement – she thinks that fear of a complete and permanent estrangement from her would subdue his unruly impulses, thus her attempt to intimidate him into befriending Fernand. She senses that the Count’s intentions towards her family may not be purely benevolent and thus tries to warn Albert, but Albert’s faith in the Count, and conflicting facts – he saved Albert from the bandits in Rome, he is the paragon of courtesy and magnanimity who is taking Parisian society by storm due to his awesome wealth and charisma, he is her former fiance – makes her override her instincts as well. Later on, she guesses that Albert intends to challenge the Count for his role in his father’s downfall, and has him tracked by a servant. When she is able to persuade the Count to spare Albert’s life in the duel, but the Count resolves to let himself be killed to preserve his dignity, she guesses instantly that trying to dissuade him verbally is not possible, and thus, does not try to do so.
Inferior Extraverted Thinking (Te): Mercédès thinks in a fact-based way that is heavily influenced by her feeling and sensing functions. Since Fernand comforts her after Edmond’s arrest and imprisonment, she looks to him for emotional security, instead of acting on her intuition and suspecting his role in the conspiracy. Following her recognition of the Count of Monte Cristo as Edmond Dantes, she interrogates Albert about the Count in a mental exercise to match her memory of Edmond with the present Count and affirm her ideas about him. She needs to establish facts in order to feel safe and clear her emotional doubts – she tries to make the Count promise to come on a later visit so that they may have more time to socialize, she actively tries to make the Count declare himself unequivocally a friend of her and her family, and goes through pain and confusion when her attempts do not succeed.