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Free Study Guide-The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas-Summary
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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES

CHAPTER 107 - The Lionís Den

Summary

Benedetto/Andrea is in a prison nicknamed "The Lionís Den", expecting any day to be visited by his "illustrious protector" (the Count) who he still believes is his father and who he believes will rescue him. Bertuccio pays Benedetto a visit and although Benedetto is initially disappointed to see his former father, he believes that Bertuccio has been sent by the Count. Instead, Bertuccio only tells him that the Count of Monte Cristo is not his father, and seems satisfied that Benedetto is now where he belongs. Not having time to tell him the true identity of his father, Bertuccio leaves, promising to return the next day. Benedetto is brought before the examining magistrate.


Notes

In this chapter, Andrea/Benedettoís pride and conviction that he has a powerful and rich father have caused him to retain his arrogance, even while in a horrible prison. Visited by Bertuccio, the man who raised him, he is given the opportunity to make amends or perhaps apologize for the wrong he committed against Bertuccio and Bertuccioís sister-in-law, but stubbornly refuses, again resulting in an "unsalvageable" character for the Count (and Dumas) to punish.

Of course, although Bertuccio does not get a chance to tell Andrea/Benedetto the identity of his true father (the reader will not get to eavesdrop on this actual revelation), he is pleased that Benedetto is willing to risk scandal to learn the identity of his father, proven by his statement, "What does scandal signify to me? What possessions, what reputation, what "pull", as Beauchamp says - have I? You great people always lose something by scandal, not withstanding your millions." Of course Benedetto will have pull, and it will be used to punish Villefort by exposing him to an intense scandal.

CHAPTER 108 - The Judge

Summary

Villefort has thrown himself into the case against Benedetto, all the while reassuring Noirtier that he has not forgotten his promise to punish Valentineís killer. It is clear by the way Noirtier glares at Madame de Villefort that he believes she is the murderer. On the day of Benedettoís trial, Villefort confronts his wife and accuses her of all the murders which have recently taken place in their home. Although she is unable to deny the crimes and begs mercy, Villefort tells her that as she is guilty she must be punished. He tells her that she will not face the scaffold if she has preserved some of the poison for herself. He tells her that he would prefer she not die on the scaffold as it would be a dishonor to the family and tells her that if she is still alive when he returns that night, he will arrest her and she will spend the night in jail. He leaves and his wife faints.

Notes

More than anything, this chapter reveals Villefortís extreme hypocrisy. Although he states that, "today the man who holds the blade of justice must strike wherever there is guilt", he will avoid "striking" himself while simultaneously and ruthlessly pursuing Benedetto and by punishing his own wife by insisting she kill herself to avoid embarrassing him and to pay for her own guilt. Most significantly, while accusing his wife, Villefort states, "you confess; but a confession made to the judges, a confession made at the last moment, extorted when the crime cannot be denied, diminishes not the punishment inflicted on the guilty!" This statement will foreshadow the discover of one of Villefortís own crimes in the next chapter, and emphasizes his own failure to repair his own crimes (by rescuing Dantès) when he could have done so, to show that he, too, will be forced to admit his crime only when it cannot be denied.

CHAPTER 109 - The Assizes

Summary

Beauchamp, Château-Renaud and Debray are at Benedettoís trial where they discuss the strange deaths at the de Villefortís, which Beauchamp has heard are being carried out by the de Villefortís young son, Edward.

Notes

Now that Benedettoís identity as Villefortís son is about to be revealed, the reader sees the success the Count had in disavowing any real relationship with the "Cavalcantis" via the conversation between Debray, Beauchamp and Château-Renaud where Debray says, in response to Beauchampís inquiry as to the whereabouts of the Count since he is not at Benedettoís trial, "he could not well appear in public, since he has been the dupe of the Cavalcanti, who, it appears, presented themselves to him with false letters of credit, and cheated him out of 100,000 francs upon the hypothesis of this principality."

CHAPTER 110 - The Indictment

Summary

Villefortís charges against Benedetto are read aloud. Benedetto stuns first Villefort and then the rest of the assembled crowd by stating his birth date, birthplace, and then Villefortís name as his father. Benedetto provides the details of the day of his birth when he was buried alive and his subsequent rescue and adoption by Bertuccio, but states he does not know who his mother is. Madame Danglars, in the audience, faints. Overcome, Villefort admits that everything Benedetto has said is true, and volunteers to surrender to the procurer who will replace him. The audience, including Debray, Beauchamp and Château-Renaud, is stunned.

Notes

In revealing that he is the son of Villefort, buried alive almost 21 years ago, Benedetto proves that the crimes of some men are passed onto their children, particularly as Bertuccio had said to Benedetto: "the crime is that of your father, not yours - of your father, who consigned you to hell if you died, and to misery if a miracle preserved you alive." As per his conversation with his wife that morning, Villefort is confronted with a truth he cannot deny, and admits to the supremacy of providence and God (carried out by the Count) when he says, "Gentlemen, I know I am in the hands of an avenging God!" In this sense, "the indictment" is against both Benedetto and Villefort himself.

CHAPTER 111 - The Expiation

Summary

Villefort returns home, having decided that considering his own guilt, his wife should be permitted to live, and they will flee Paris with their son. Bursting into his wifeís bedroom, he finds that she has just swallowed the poison and watches her die. He then finds his son Edward also murdered with poison by his wife. Going downstairs, he sees the Abbé Busoni with his father, and the Count/Count sees by Villefortís face that his identity as Benedettoís father has been revealed at the trial. Telling Villefort that he has now repaid his debt, the Count reveals his true identity as Edmond Dantès. Villefort shows Edmond the bodies of his wife and son and Edmond/the Count is stunned, immediately trying unsuccessfully to restore Edward to life. Villefort rushes to the garden where he insanely begins to dig to find the body of his child from years before (he is digging in the yard of the wrong house). Recognizing that Villefort has gone insane and feeling remorse the Count goes to Morrelís house to prepare him for their departure the next day. He leaves Bertuccio with Noirtier.

Notes

Thinking still of God, Villefort finally recognizes in this chapter his own guilt and his hypocrisy in pursing and convicting those who are only as guilty as himself. When he realizes his wife is already dead, he becomes mad with the realization that he has now killed another two people. Importantly in this chapter, the Countís own feelings of guilt and hesitation in his own actions are growing, and he is devastated to learn that Villefortís son has been killed: "Monte Cristo became pale at this horrible sight; he felt hat he had passed beyond the bounds of vengeance, and that he could no longer say, God is for and with me.í"

Although Dumas states that the Count is doubting his own actions for the first time at this point, it is clear to the reader that this crisis of conscience has been plaguing the Count for some time already.

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