The Count of Monte Cristo | Study Guide

Alexandre Dumas

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The Count of Monte Cristo | Chapters 114–116 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 114

As Monte Cristo travels toward Italy in his steamship, Danglars is traveling on the road from Florence to Rome. After checking in at a hotel, he goes to the firm of Thomson and French to withdraw five million against a bill signed by Monte Cristo. Peppino follows him, unseen, and finds out from a source at Thomson and French how much money he has drawn. The next day, Danglars arranges for a carriage to take him to Venice, where he plans to withdraw more money. But as night falls, his carriage circles back toward Rome and he's kidnapped by bandits. Peppino leads him along a path and into the catacombs. Danglars is taken to the bandits' captain, who is engrossed in reading Plutarch's Life of Alexander, and he realizes he's been captured by Luigi Vampa's Roman bandits. He's taken to a clean cell with a soft bed, and assumes he'll be held for ransom. He's not very worried because he thinks he'll have plenty of money left, even after he pays for his freedom.

Chapter 115

Danglers waits in his cell the next morning for the bandits to ask him for the ransom, but no one comes. He hasn't eaten in 24 hours. Peppino, who is guarding his cell, tells him that he can order a meal if he pays for it. A chicken is brought out on a silver platter, but he must pay 5,000 louis before he can have it. Astounded at the cost, Danglars tries to bargain with Peppino, but the price is firm and the chicken is taken away. After more time and discussion, he agrees to pay what they ask.

Chapter 116

Danglars learns that no matter what he orders, the price is the same. Vampa knows that he has five million and tells Danglars that's what he'll have to pay. Danglars says they might as well kill him, but Vampa tells him they've been forbidden by their leader to kill him. Danglars points out that when he runs out of money he'll starve to death, but Vampa says that's different. Danglars holds out for two days, but for the next 12 days he gives in and pays for the food. He wants to save his last 50,000 francs in case a miracle occurs and he escapes or is freed. He wants to have something to live on. After five days of starvation, Danglars offers Vampa the last of his gold if he might be allowed just to live in the cell. A voice behind Vampa asks if he repents, and when he says he does, the man pardons him and reveals his face. Danglars gasps, "The Count of Monte Cristo." The count reveals that he is Edmond Dantès and describes the many ways Danglars caused him and his loved ones to suffer. He forgives Danglars because he, himself, needs forgiveness. The count orders a meal for Danglars and frees him, allowing him to keep his remaining 50,000 francs.

Analysis

Monte Cristo goes to Italy to wrap up the vengeance plan against Danglars. It's important to him that each conspirator knows why he's been punished and by whom. The dramatic moment that Edmond Dantès reveals himself to each of the conspirators gives the author a chance to exercise his talents as a playwright and indulge in some dramatic flair.

Each of the conspirators was motivated by a particular character flaw or weakness, and the punishments Monte Cristo devised were targeted to these flaws.

  • Caderousse was motivated by greed and flawed by laziness, cowardice, and drunkenness. He dies because he remains greedy.
  • Fernand, motivated by jealousy, acquired what he wanted (Mercédès, wealth) through treachery and betrayal. He loses the honor that he had gained through dishonorable means.
  • Villefort, motivated by ambition, abused his power to achieve prestige. His professional reputation is destroyed, and his family name is dishonored.
  • Danglars, motivated by envy and ambition, achieved wealth and social status through manipulation and unethical dealings. He is brought to financial ruin.
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