The Count of Monte Cristo | Study Guide

Alexandre Dumas

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The Count of Monte Cristo | Chapters 81–83 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 81

Just hours after Comte de Morcerf left Danglars, having failed to finalize the engagement of Albert to Eugénie, Andrea Cavalcanti arrives. He asks for Eugénie's hand in marriage and Danglars agrees to the match. The next day, Caderousse informs Andrea that he wants more than the 200 francs a month that Andrea has agreed to pay for his silence. He also wants Andrea to help him obtain a lump sum of 30,000 francs. Andrea confides to Caderousse that he suspects the Count of Monte Cristo is his real father because he's seen the count's will and knows he'll receive a large inheritance. They discuss the count's wealth, and Caderousse asks for details about the layout of the house and its furnishings. Andrea obliges and draws the layout of the house for Caderousse. He tells him the count will be away at his house in Auteuil for a few days.

Chapter 82

Bertuccio returns from Normandy and reports to the count that he has purchased the house and the boat that the count had requested. The count asks Bertuccio to arrange for a relay of horses to be stationed on the route from Paris to Tréport because he might need to get there quickly. He says he may be leaving France soon. He receives an anonymous letter, warning him that a thief plans to break into his Paris house that night to steal some papers he believes to be hidden in the dressing room.

Monte Cristo secretly returns to the Paris house with Ali and prepares to ambush the thief. When the thief enters the house, the count recognizes Caderousse. Ali points out to the count that another man is lurking outside the house. Instead of watching the street (as a lookout would), that man is completely focused on the house. Before confronting Caderousse, Monte Cristo dons his Abbé Busoni disguise, with the addition of a chain mail coat underneath. When the count interrupts the thief and recognizes Caderousse, he expresses surprise that Caderousse isn't still in prison for murdering his wife and the jeweler. Caderousse explains that he and another prisoner, Benedetto (now Andrea), were helped to escape by Lord Wilmore. In his guise as Abbé Busoni, Monte Cristo says he'll let Caderousse go if he writes a letter to Danglars warning him that his daughter is engaged to a former convict. Caderousse, fearing the loss of his future income through Andrea, attacks the abbé with a knife, but the chain mail protects Monte Cristo. He tells Caderousse to leave through the window, saying that if he gets home safely he can see it as a sign that God has pardoned him. Caderousse makes his escape over the wall, but he is immediately attacked and stabbed by Andrea, who then runs away, thinking he has killed Caderousse. But as soon as Caderousse hears Andrea run away, he cries out for help, and Ali and the count run toward him.

Chapter 83

Ali and the count carry the wounded Caderousse into the house. Ali goes to find a doctor and Villefort, the Crown Prosecutor. Caderousse tells the count that Andrea had given him the plans of the house, probably hoping that the count would kill him so he'd be rid of him, or that he would kill the count and then Andrea could claim his inheritance. Caderousse knows he's dying, and leaves a signed statement identifying Benedetto as his murderer. He accuses the "abbé" of knowing Benedetto was waiting to attack him and purposely didn't warn him. The abbé replies that he "saw the hand of Benedetto as the justice of God" and felt he shouldn't "interfere with Fate." He tells Caderousse that God began to punish him after he betrayed his friend, and he describes the downward spiral of the man's life since that time. He urges Caderousse to repent, but Caderousse denies the existence of God. Then Monte Cristo removes his disguise and reveals his true identity as Edmond Dantès. Stricken, Caderousse acknowledges God's existence, and begs for forgiveness before he dies.

Analysis

Both Andrea and Caderousse are hard, ruthless characters. In Chapter 81, it isn't surprising that Caderousse is now asking Andrea for more money, but it may be dangerous for him. Andrea is smarter than Caderousse and just as greedy. He won't put up with sharing his wealth for very long, and his willingness to share information about the count's house could be a setup to trap Caderousse. But if Caderousse is arrested, he'll expose Andrea's past, so Andrea must kill Caderousse to protect himself. Caderousse unwittingly puts himself in the power of the ruthless man.

Chapter 82 shows that Monte Cristo can quickly adapt his plan to take advantage of unexpected circumstances. By having Caderousse write the letter to Danglars, Monte Cristo will be able to expose Andrea's true identity, while keeping himself distant from the revelation. The count is always finding ways to have someone else carry out key parts of his plan so that his hand remains invisible. This allows him to continue to have the confidence of his victims.

It isn't enough, in Chapter 83, for Monte Cristo to know that Caderousse is being punished by suffering and dying; he wants to make sure Caderousse understands why he's being punished. Hence, he reveals himself to his former neighbor. Caderousse thus becomes the first of the conspirators to fully suffer the vengeance of the Count of Monte Cristo.

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