The Count of Monte Cristo | Study Guide

Alexandre Dumas

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Course Hero, "The Count of Monte Cristo Study Guide," September 2, 2016, accessed December 17, 2017, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Count-of-Monte-Cristo/.

The Count of Monte Cristo | Chapters 100–103 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 100

Valentine has been recovering for four days, watched over in turns by Noirtier, Villefort, and a nurse who stays with her at night until she falls asleep. On the fourth night after the nurse leaves, Valentine sees the figure of a man approach her bed. She's not sure if she's dreaming or delirious, but he speaks to her, and she recognizes Monte Cristo. He tells her he's been keeping watch over her every night for Maximilien. He's been substituting healthy drinks for the poisonous drinks that are left at her bedside. Then he gives her a few drops of red liquid and tells her not to drink anything else that night. He instructs her to pretend to be asleep when the poisoner comes in after midnight. He says she'll soon know the identity of the murderer.

Chapter 101

Pretending to be asleep, Valentine hears someone enter the room and call her name twice. She doesn't respond and soon hears the sound of liquid being poured into her glass. She sneaks a look and sees that it is her stepmother pouring the poison. After she leaves, Monte Cristo returns. He tells her that he has a plan that will ensure her safety, and she agrees to put her trust in him. He tells her not to be afraid, even if she wakes up in a crypt or a coffin. Then he gives her a drug that puts her to sleep, and he empties some of the poisoned water from the glass to make it look as if Valentine had drunk it. Then he leaves through the secret door that he'd had built behind the bookcase.

Chapter 102

A few hours before morning, Madame de Villefort comes back to Valentine's room. She checks for Valentine's heartbeat and is satisfied that she is dead. Then she empties the remainder of the poison into the fireplace, wipes out the glass, and replaces it on the table. In the morning just as the doctor arrives for his morning call, the nurse discovers that Valentine has died. D'Avrigny and Villefort rush to Valentine's room. Madame Villefort looks into the room just as d'Avrigny is examining the glass on the bedside table, which is one-third filled with liquid. Monte Cristo has replaced the liquid she threw away with liquid containing the same poison, and the doctor identifies it. The killer has changed from brucine to a poison that Valentine has not been protected against. Madame de Villefort retreats to her room and collapses. The servants all flee the house at news of this latest death.

Chapter 103

Maximilien goes to the door leading to Noirtier's room for his usual visit. Finding the door standing open, he goes to Noirtier's room, and Noirtier communicates that he's worried about Valentine. As Maximilien rushes to Valentine's room, he hears voices saying that she is dead. He enters the room and becomes distraught at the sight of Valentine. Villefort thinks he's a madman who's come in off the street. Maximilien runs downstairs, carries Noirtier up in his wheelchair, and brings him to Valentine's bed. When Villefort realizes that Maximilien was Valentine's fiancé and sees the depth of his grief, he sympathizes with the young man's suffering. Declaring that he will avenge Valentine's murder, Maximilien demands that Villefort find the murderer. Villefort says that it was fate, not murder, that struck his house. Then Maximilien reminds Villefort of the conversation with the doctor that he overheard after Madame Saint-Méran's death. The doctor also presses Villefort to seek justice for the crime. Noirtier indicates that he knows who the murderer is, but he insists on telling Villefort in private. When Villefort rejoins Maximilien and d'Avrigny, he persuades them, for the honor of his family, to give him three days to avenge the murder in his own way. They agree, and the priest who lives next door, Abbé Busoni, is sent for; he and Noirtier sit with Valentine's body.

Analysis

In Chapters 101 and 102, Monte Cristo uses his scientific knowledge to keep Valentine alive. He doesn't give any details about his plan to save her, but it can be inferred from his instructions to her that he's giving her a drug that will make her appear to be dead. He'll hide her away until there's no longer a threat to her life. Maximilien's shock and grief over Valentine's death in Chapter 104 suggests that Monte Cristo hasn't told him Valentine's not really dead.

Valentine's feigned death, by drinking a secret elixir no less, reminds readers of the similar ruse that appears in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. That story, of course, ended in tragedy. Will Monte Cristo be able to deliver happiness to Maximilien and Valentine instead?

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