The Count of Monte Cristo | Study Guide

Alexandre Dumas

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The Count of Monte Cristo | Chapters 108–111 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 108

New servants have been hired at the Villefort house. After spending time with Abbé Busoni in Valentine's room, Noirtier has become calm and resigned. Villefort has avoided seeing his father; instead, he spends all his time in his study, preparing for Benedetto's trial. The day the trial is to begin, Villefort goes to his wife's room. He sends Edouard to the drawing room and locks the door. Then he asks Madame de Villefort where she keeps the poison that she uses. She pretends she doesn't understand, but he tells her he knows she has caused four deaths. He says he doesn't want to dishonor his family by sending her to the scaffold. He repeats that she must have saved some poison to escape from justice and threatens to arrest her himself if justice hasn't been done when he returns from court.

Chapter 109

All of Paris is fascinated by Andrea's trial, which has become known as The Benedetto Affair. The courtroom is packed with spectators. Beauchamp, Château-Renaud, and Debray meet and trade gossip they've heard about Andrea. Then the talk turns to the deaths at the Villeforts' home. Debray, claiming to have spoken to one of the former servants, spins a tale about young Edouard as the poisoner. They speculate about whether Monte Cristo will be at the trial. Beauchamp says the count is part of the case, so he can't be there.

Chapter 110

The trial begins, and Andrea is brought in, looking calm and composed throughout the reading of the charges against him. Villefort looks startled when he hears the date and place of Andrea's birth. Andrea gives his profession as counterfeiter, thief, and murderer. Asked to state his name, he replies that he doesn't know it but can state the name of his father. Villefort, by this time, is sweating and gasping. When Andrea states that Villefort is his father, the courtroom erupts into chaos. Order is restored, and Andrea fills in the details of the night he was born, including the towel he was wrapped in, marked with the initials "H" and "N." He describes Bertuccio's attack on Villefort, being taken to the orphanage, and being adopted by the attacker's sister. Asked about his mother, he replies that he doesn't know who she is and doesn't care. At this, Madame Danglars, in the audience, falls to the ground in a fit of hysteria. Villefort, haggard and disheveled, steps forward and acknowledges the truth of Andrea's statement. Then he staggers out of the room. The judge announces that the case will be held over pending investigation of the new information.

Chapter 111

On his way home, Villefort regrets pressuring his wife to take poison. He resolves to apologize to her and decides they'll flee the country. He rushes to her room, finds the door locked, calls to her, and hears her respond. When she doesn't open the door, he kicks it in, but it's too late. She has already taken the poison and dies within moments. Edouard lies dead as well. Madame de Villefort has left a note saying that a good mother does not leave her child behind. Villefort goes to Noirtier, who is with Abbé Busoni. Not knowing what Madame de Villefort has done, the abbé says that Villefort has paid his debt, and he hopes God is satisfied. Then he removes his disguise and, after reminding Villefort how he had falsely imprisoned him, he reveals that he is Edmond Dantès. He says God has helped him achieve vengeance. Villefort drags Monte Cristo to see the bodies of his wife and son and asks if he is fully avenged. Monte Cristo is shocked, realizing that his vengeance has gone too far. He tries to revive Edouard with the red elixir, but it's too late. Villefort goes mad and begins digging up the garden, looking for his son. Monte Cristo vows that he has done enough and will save the last one. He goes home and tells Maximilien that they'll be leaving Paris the next day.

Analysis

These chapters bring the vengeance plan against Villefort to a conclusion. Andrea's testimony in court destroys Villefort's professional reputation, and the murder of his son drives him mad. Andrea's testimony in Chapter 111 has an almost comic aspect to it. His confident, self-satisfied attitude and his brash disregard for convention are a sharp contrast with what is expected from a prisoner with such serious charges against him. He may believe that revealing that the Crown Prosecutor is his father will get him a pardon. When Monte Cristo sees the body of Edouard, the story reaches its climax, or highest point of drama. There have been several moments of high drama in the story, but the death of the innocent boy is an event that shakes the count to the core and causes him to question the plan of vengeance that he had so carefully managed for so long.

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