, Edmond Dantès seems to have the perfect life. He is about to
become the captain of a ship, he is engaged to a beautiful and kind young woman,
Mercédès, and he is well liked by almost everyone who knows him. This perfect life,
however, stirs up dangerous jealousy among some of Dantès’s so-called friends.
Danglars, the treasurer of Dantès’s ship, envies Dantès’s early career success; Fernand
Mondego is in love with Dantès’s fiancée and so covets his amorous success; his
neighbor Caderousse is simply envious that Dantès is so much luckier in life than he is.
Together, these three men draft a letter accusing Dantès of treason. There is some truth to
their accusations: as a favor to his recently deceased captain, Dantès is carrying a letter
from Napoleon to a group of Bonapartist sympathizers in Paris. Though Dantès himself
has no political leanings, the undertaking is enough to implicate him for treason. On the
day of his wedding, Dantès is arrested for his alleged crimes.
The deputy public prosecutor, Villefort, sees through the plot to frame Dantès and is
prepared to set him free. At the last moment, though, Dantès jeopardizes his freedom by
revealing the name of the man to whom he is supposed to deliver Napoleon’s letter. The
man, Noirtier, is Villefort’s father. Terrified that any public knowledge of his father’s
treasonous activities will thwart his own ambitions, Villefort decides to send Dantès to
prison for life. Despite the entreaties of Monsieur Morrel, Dantès’s kind and honest boss,
Dantès is sent to the infamous Château d’If, where the most dangerous political prisoners
While in prison, Dantès meets Abbé Faria, an Italian priest and intellectual, who has been
jailed for his political views. Faria teaches Dantès history, science, philosophy, and
languages, turning him into a well-educated man. Faria also bequeaths to Dantès a large
treasure hidden on the island of Monte Cristo, and he tells him how to find it should he
ever escape. When Faria dies, Dantès hides himself in the abbé’s shroud, thinking that he
will be buried and then dig his way out. Instead, Dantès is thrown into the sea, and is able
to cut himself loose and swim to freedom.
Dantès travels to Monte Cristo and finds Faria’s enormous treasure. He considers his
fortune a gift from God, given to him for the sole purpose of rewarding those who have
tried to help him and, more important, punishing those who have hurt him. Disguising
himself as an Italian priest who answers to the name of Abbé Busoni, he travels back to
Marseilles and visits Caderousse, who is now struggling to make a living as an innkeeper.
From Caderousse he learns the details of the plot to frame him. In addition, Dantès learns