The Count of Monte Cristo (Penguin Classics)
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The Count of Monte Cristo Summary and Analysis

by Alexandre Dumas

Chapters 41-50

Chapter 41

Madame and Mademoiselle de Villefort have gone to a ball. Monsieur de Villefort stays home to reflect on the troubling events of the past few days. Soon, his first wife's mother Madame de Saint-Meran enters sobbing, for her husband has just died of apoplexy. She believes that she will soon die, and is put to bed. She wishes to hurry Valentine's marriage for she wishes to be there to bless the union. When Valentine tells Maximilien of her decision to honor her father's and grandmother's wishes, he swears that he will kill himself for he cannot go on living without her. Meanwhile, Valentine's grandmother dies.

Valentine later sends a note to Maximilien summoning him to her house's gate, their meeting place. At half past ten, Valentine has still not arrived, thus Maximilien jumps over the gate to go find her. He must hide, however, for Monsieur de Villefort is strolling in the garden with a doctor. He overhears the doctor say that Valentine's grandmother died of poisoning.

When Maximilien finally meets Valentine in the Villefort house, Valentine secretly brings him to see Noirtier, the only one left who still loves her. Valentine tells Noirtier how much she loves him, and how she will kill herself if she has to marry Franz. Noirtier makes Maximilien promise to wait and to not be hasty, for he says that the marriage contract with Franz shall never be signed.

Analysis:

This chapter commences the series of Madame de Villefort's poisonings. It is later revealed that Villefort's wife killed Valentine's grandmother in order to secure an inheritance for her son. This chapter also outlines the love between Maximilien and Valentine. It also foreshadows Noirtier's destruction of Villefort's plans to marry Valentine to Franz..

Chapter 42

Monsieur de Villefort attempts to settle the marriage contract with Franz d'Epinay. He is however interrupted by Noirtier summoning Franz to his bedroom. Franz, wishing to win Noirtier's approval, goes. He is however shocked by what he is about to learn. Noirtier has his safe opened that reveals the minutes from a Bonapartist meeting in February of 1815. This was when Franz's father was assassinated. He reads the minutes, which reveal that Franz's father was taken to a Bonapartist meeting, where he maintained his loyalty to the monarch, Louis XVIII. When he was returned from the meeting he insulted the president of the meeting. The two then engaged in a duel where the Bonapartist, who remains unnamed in the minutes, wins. The body of Franz's father is thrown into the river. Franz is shocked to finally learn the details of his father's death. He is further shocked when Noirtier tells him that it was he who killed his father. Noirtier was president of the Bonapartist meeting. Franz thus leaves the room.

Analysis:

This chapter finally relates the Bonapartist events that transpired in 1815 which resulted in the death of Franz d'Epinay's father. The death is shown to have been in a duel, nevertheless, Franz feels he cannot marry Valentine. Valentine is saved and will soon be free to marry her love Maximilien.

Chapter 43

Franz writes Villefort that he will be unable to marry Valentine. Valentine meets Maximilien and happily tells him that she will relate the events that transpired to free her from Franz once she is his wife. The prospect that Valentine shall be his wife is thrilling to Maximilien.

Meanwhile, the Count de Morcerf visits Danglars to request Danglars' daughter's hand for his son. Despite the fact that the two had previously discussed this union, Danglars refuses. He states that he needs to reflect longer. He does not give a reason but assures Morcerf it has nothing to do with his son.

Analysis:

Maximilien's honorable patience with the Villefort's shall be rewarded for he shall soon obtain his treasure, Valentine, as his wife.

The Count de Morcerf is also insulted in this chapter by Danglars who backs out of their agreement that their children shall marry. Danglars is wary of the scandal that is attached to Morcerf's name. This foreshadows Morcerf's dowfall.

Chapter 44

Noirtier summons Maximilien. Valentine communicates Noirtier's wishes to Maximilien that Noirtier will move out of the Villefort residence, and with her father's blessing Valentine will move in with him. After this, Noirtier will give the couple his blessing for the marriage. Maximilien is overjoyed. Noirtier drinks lemonade, and Valentine offers it to Barrois. Consequently, Barrois suffers from a series of fits. The doctor again identifies this death by poison. He suspects Valentine, but Monsieur de Villefort's refuses this explanation, and the doctor agrees to keep silent. He warns Villefort however, that more tragedies shall strike his household..

Analysis:

Once again death strikes the Villefort household. This time it is the servant Barrois, whose death is actually unintended. The poison was intended for someone else. The Doctor D'Avrigny predicts that more deaths shall ensue, yet he continues to abide by Villefort's wishes that the poisonings remain secret.

Chapter 45

Caderousse again hounds Andrea Calvacanti. He demands a higher allowance. He demands Calvacanti's diamond ring, and the layout plans of Monte Cristo's Champs Elysees' residence. He plans to rob the residence, since Calvacanti tells him that the count leaves his second floor windows open. Calvacanti provides all the information Caderousse desires because Caderousse could destroy him by revealing to the authorities his true identity for he is an escaped convict.

Analysis:

Caderousse is constantly trying to ameliorate his fate. He fails consistently for he was an accomplice to Dantes' incarceration. Monte Cristo's revenge against Caderousse is that of divine justice.

Chapter 46

Monte Cristo goes to his country house in Auteuil the day after Caderousse and Andrea's meeting. Andrea sends an anonymous letter to Monte Cristo warning him that an enemy of his is intending to break in to his house in Paris. Monte Cristo thus summons all his servants away from the house, and departs to go defend it himself with his servant Ali. He is expecting a threat to his life, thus when he finds Caderousse breaking in he realizes how small the the threat is. Monte Cristo quickly changes garb. He now is Abbe Busoni, whom Caderousse will recognize. Caderousse is astounded at the Abbe's presence. He attempts to stab the Ab be, who fortunately is wearing a mesh protective suit. The Abbe says to Caderousse that he shall forgive him, if and only if Caderousse makes it home safely. This will be a sign from God that Caderousse has been forgiven by God. The Abbe has seen a shadow lurking by his house, however. He thus anticipates that Caderousse shall not return home alive. This shadow soon stabs Caderousse as the greedy old man attempts his escape. When Caderousse is dying, he refuses to acknowledge that there is a God and does Providence exist. He criticizes the Abbe for not having warned him of the man who awaited in the shadows to stab him. This shadow was Calvacanti. The Abbe said it was justice. He believes firmly in god and Providence, and it was finally time for Caderousse to pay for his sins. Caderousse had been saved many times already, yet he had failed to change his ways.. The abbe Busoni had saved Caderousse from death after Caderousse had been convicted of murder. He was sentenced to hard labor instead. Then, Caderousse was saved from the prison as well. here, Monte Cristo was disguised as Lord Wilmore, who gave Caderousse a file. The file was tused to free him from his chains. Abbe Busoni tells Caderousse that God no longer has mercy upon him for his sins. Just as Caderousse is about to die, the Abbe whispers in his ear his true identity. This causes Caderousse to cry out that he believes in God. The Abbe sends for a doctor and the public prosecutor, and looks at the corpse as says "One.". The doctor and prosecutor find him praying over the body.

Before Caderousse had died he signed a declaration for the Abbe naming his assassin as Benedetto. The police now search for this man.

Analysis:

At the close of this chapter Monte Cristo has finished his revenge on one of his enemies. Caderousse's greed has finally caused his death. Since he is killed in Monte Cristo's residence, the Count has the opportunity to speak to Caderousse in his final moments and to reveal his true identity. Monte Cristo's role is god-like. He assumes the right to execute divine justice upon this man.

Chapter 47

The Count of Monte Cristo takes Albert de Morcerf on a vacation to his house in Normandy. The two ride in a carriage drawn by several stellar horses. The trip, however, is cut short when Albert receives a message from Beauchamp revealing that a terrible disaster has occurred to his father. Albert throws a newspaper clipping at Monte Cristo for him to read as he bolts out the door. The newspaper says that his father has been accused of treachery. He is accused of surrendering the Greek castles and his benefactor Ali Pasha to the Turks while he was a soldier.

Analysis:

This chapter brings Monte Cristo closer to his goal of destroying the Count of Morcerf. He leads Albert away from Paris just as he releases the information of the Ali Pasha affair to the newspapers. Albert hears of the news and rushes back to Paris to avenge his father's honor, not knowing that it is the Count who is responsible.

Chapter 48

Albert returns to Paris and goes immediately to Beauchamp. Beauchamp tells him of the events that transpired in his absence. The newspaper had printed his father's treachery, yet his father had not read it. However, everyone else at the chamber of commerce had. Morcerf trembled at the accusation. An inquiry was conducted after Morcerf went to his home to collect documents. He had saved these documents to clear his name of his terrible deed. He presented these documents to the Chamber, yet they are soon refuted by the testimony of Haydee, Monte Cristo's Greek slave. She positively identifies Morcerf as Fernand Mondego, the man who had betrayed her father, Ali Pasha, and had sold her and her mother into slavery. The Chamber finds Morcerf guilty because of Haydee's compelling testimony and his inability to refute the accusation

Analysis:

The Count had prepared documents to prove his innocence in the Ali Pasha affair, however the witness who testifies against him is proof of his guilt. Monte Cristo has thus ruined his second enemy.

Chapter 49

Albert is determined to seek out his father's enemy. He will demand a fight. First, he believes it to be Danglars, but when he visits Danglars, he realizes that it is his friend the Count of Monte Cristo who is to blame for his shame.

Analysis:

In this chapter, Albert finally realizes that it is the Count who is responsible for his father's shame. He of course does not believe that his father is guilty of what has been brought against him, thus Albert's quest is now to avenge his family's honor.

Chapter 50

When Albert goes to visit the Count he is told that the Count is bathing, but he will be at the opera later that evening. Albert thus confronts the Count at the opera in Monte Cristo's box. Monte Cristo agrees to fight the next morning at 8 am. Maximilian Morrel will be his second. Monte Cristo believes that the sins of the father descend upon the son, thus he intends to kill Albert. He is sure of his upcoming success.

Analysis:

Albert is intent upon fighting for his father's honor. Monte Cristo apparently has no feelings for Albert, and agrees to fight. He boasts with confidence that he will kill Albert.

The book has been divided based on a 73 chapter edition; this may differ from other editions.

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