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This chapter witnesses the meeting and the friendship of Dantes with another political prisoner, Abbe Faria. This prisoner has spent years tunneling his way to freedom, and a miscalculation has led him to Dantes' cell. The Abbe is crushed and his energy to escape is as well. He shows Dantes the tools he made and his writing, A Treatise on the Possibility of Monarchy in Italy. He is a very learned man, and thus shares his knowledge of languages, mathematics, and science with Dantes over the next few years. The Abbe also aids Dantes in deducing who was responsible for Dantes' incarceration, and he soon concocts another plan to escape. Thus the two begin tunneling to freedom once again. Before they are able to finish, however, the Abbe suffers from an apoplectic attack, which paralyzes his arm. He informs Dantes that he now expects death very soon, and encourages Dante to escape without him (the tunnel is finished). Dantes refuses to leave him.
Dantes friendship with the Abbe Faria is significant because he acquires much of the knowledge that will later prove key to his survival within French society. Once he escapes this knowledge will create an aura of exotic mystery around him that will help him accomplish his revenge. Vengeance was a characteristic that the Abbe also instilled in Dantes, since Dantes had been unable to deduce alone who was responsible for his imprisonment. This chapter also illuminates Dantes' "disinterested devotion" to the Abbe. He will not leave the Abbe even though a means of escape is now finished. The Abbe is a father figure. Dantes was forced to abandon his real father, thus he will not voluntarily abandon his adopted one.
Even more important is the fact that Dumas purposely makes the Abbe Faria a religious man. This can be seen as divine intervention, a 'deus ex machina' of sorts. Just as Dantes is about to commit suicide, an act that would have condemned him to hell (and the first real sin that he ever contemplates up to this point), a man arrives who manages to give him hope in every way possible. Through the Abbe, Dantes recovers his will to live, deduces who his enemies are, learns arts and sciences, and finally contemplates escape from the prison. This entire chapter is a testament to the Christian belief that God will intervene to support the moral man.