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Analysis of Relationships Within the Film 'The Count of Monte Cristo'

Updated on April 1, 2011

In the film The Count of Monte Cristo the characters of Fernand Mondego and Mercedes Iguanada have a unique and interesting dyad. Both Mondego and Mercedes seem nearly incapable of being competent communicators. Each at some point lack at least one of the three vital parts of being a competent communicator, which are appropriateness, effectiveness and ethics. There are several instances during the film where both characters exhibit but mostly lack these elements.

The first of these elements, appropriateness, is the degree to which ones communication matches situational, relational and cultural expectations. Early in the film Mondego tells Mercedes he wishes for her to “lay” with him, in this he oversteps his role as he is only Mercedes' friend therefore disregarding what would be considered appropriate behavior. Mercedes on the other hand uses appropriate communication by refusing Mondego's offer stating she is to be wed to another. Although Mercedes shows she can be an appropriate communicator she does not always meet the other criteria for communication competence.

Effective communication is known as the ability to use communication to accomplish interpersonal goals. Mercedes is an ineffective communicator when she is unable to convince Mondego that she will never be with him as she eventually marries him. However in this Mondego proves to be an extremely effective communicator. Mondego is able to even convince Mercedes to marry him, regardless of her former marriage ties. Mondego does this by swooping in at just the right moment to comfort Mercedes in her time of need. Mondego at one point stands below her window throwing pebbles at Mercedes' window in a romantic move to coax her from her despair. In spite of being an effective communicator, Mondego lacks another element necessary for communication competence.

The final element of communication competence is Ethics, which is the decisions in communication that are driven by a set of standards regarding moral behavior. Mondego clearly disregards this final piece at almost every turn. In order to convince Mercedes to wed him, Mondego lied to her and made her believe her fiancée was dead, allowing him to swoop in and steal her. Because Mondego lied he intentionally hurt Mercedes to get what he desired. Mercedes also lies to Mondego, keeping the true reason for her quick marriage to him a secret. By lying to Mondego about the true kinship of her son, Mercedes stood to gain a second chance at life for both her and her child. This means that Mercedes too lacks this necessary part of communication competence by not treating Mondego with respect.

Both Mondego and Mercedes display and lack the three vital pieces of communication competence. With each piece; appropriateness, effectiveness and ethics, neither Mondego or Mercedes truly communicate with each other. Through their journey in the film together this inability to communicate is extremely detrimental to both of their lives. This shows that despite the amount of times two people communicate it can be extremely difficult for two people to communicate competently.


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