The Count of Monte Cristo | Study Guide

Alexandre Dumas

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The Count of Monte Cristo | Chapter 117 | Summary

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Summary

As planned, Maximilien is greeted by the count on Monte Cristo Island on October 5. He still wants to end his life. Monte Cristo takes him into the grotto and tells him he thinks of him as his son, and he wants to give him all his wealth. With it, he can achieve anything. Maximilien is unmoved. As midnight nears, the count gives him a spoonful of a green substance. Maximilien thanks Monte Cristo and falls into a kind of delirium. As he falls into a deep sleep, Valentine appears before him. He thinks he is dying and that she's an angel. In fact, Valentine is alive. She thanks Monte Cristo for saving her, and she thanks Haydée for helping her be patient until they could leave France. The count tells Haydée that tomorrow she'll be free, but she tells him she'll die if he leaves her. He admits that through her he can be happy and can love again. An hour later, Maximilien awakens and his happiness returns when he sees Valentine.

The next day, as the Count of Monte Cristo and Haydée sail away from the island toward the horizon, Valentine and Maximilien are given a letter from Monte Cristo. In it he tells them that he is leaving them the grotto, his house in Paris, and his house at the seaside as wedding presents. He ends with the message that "all human wisdom is contained in these two words: 'wait' and 'hope!'"

Analysis

The count's penchant for dramatic revelations is evident in the way he arranges the reunion of Valentine and Maximilien. He could have simply had her waiting on the shore when Maximilien arrived. Instead, he staged a death and rebirth for Maximilien. Dumas employs the transformation motif once more. His effective adoption of the young couple as his heirs echoes Abbé Faría's adoption of him years before. Monte Cristo is also content to give away much of his wealth because, his revenge complete, he no longer has the same need for it. Money to him is a means to an end. That end is finished. Monte Cristo feels redeemed by Haydée's love—another transformation—and through her, he reconnects to human emotions and desires.

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