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The Count of Monte Cristo | Study Guide

Alexandre Dumas

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Chapters 79–80

Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Chapters 79–80 of Alexandre Dumas's novel The Count of Monte Cristo.

The Count of Monte Cristo | Chapters 79–80 | Summary



Chapter 79

In Noirtier's room, Valentine is telling Maximilien about her plan to move out of the house with her grandfather. Valentine, noticing that Barrois, who has rushed back from an errand, looks hot and thirsty, and offers him a glass of lemonade from the jug on Noirtier's table. Moments later, Barrois collapses and dies. The doctor, who is already there to see Edouard, determines that the lemonade Barrois drank contained poison. Barrois had made the lemonade himself, but he left it in the kitchen for a while before Valentine brought it to her grandfather's room. He tells Villefort that it's the same poison that killed his mother-in-law.

Chapter 80

Villefort is horrified by yet another death in his house. Doctor d'Avrigny says that someone in the house is a murderer, and Noirtier was the intended victim. Noirtier wasn't affected by the poison because he'd been given it for some time as a treatment for his paralysis, and his body was used to it. D'Avrigny tells Villefort that Valentine is the logical suspect because she stands to gain from Noirtier's will, which has just been changed again to favor her. He urges Villefort to arrest his daughter, but Villefort can't accept the idea and persuades the doctor to say nothing. The doctor relents and agrees to wait, but he says he won't come if someone else is stricken. That night, all the Villefort's servants quit.


Things at the Villefort's home are spiraling out of control with yet another death. Now that Noirtier has changed his will, he has become the next target for the poisoner, who, it seems, didn't realize that Noirtier is immune to the poison. The doctor's suspicion that Valentine is the poisoner might explain why Villefort isn't worried that she might be the next target. On the other hand, his ability to believe that his own daughter could be a murderer suggests a corrupt view of the world. Of course, someone in his household is guilty of these murders, so that view is not mistaken. Still, it is instructive that Villefort apparently has no idea of the innocence of youth.

The reason the doctor gives for his suspicions is plausible to both him and Villefort. The idea that greed should triumph over family feeling shocks neither of them but seems to be seen as a matter of course. Dumas seems to be showing France as a dystopian society.

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